Dunbar Christmas lights cancelled due to ‘apathy’

The Dunbar lights may be missing next year. Picture: Comp

The Dunbar lights may be missing next year. Picture: Comp

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Christmas celebrations have been cancelled for next year in a Lothian town, with organisers blaming a lack of interest for the unseasonable decision.

A December blackout is on the cards for Dunbar, East Lothian, next year after the town’s Christmas Lights Committee resigned in protest at the local community’s apathy.

Committee members have been left fuming after no-one showed up at their annual general meeting for the past two years.

Many of the long-standing organisers who have stood down en masse are elderly. Their decision was announced at a community council meeting on Monday.

The town’s neon Christmas lights were illuminated on Sunday, but the 2014 switch-on will not happen unless fresh volunteers step forward.

Committee chairman George Smith said the lack of public interest had left the heavy lifting down to just half a dozen people. He said: “The committee has tried for several years to encourage members of the community to join the committee, but to no avail. No member of the public has attended our annual general meetings over the last two years, and only one turned up in 2011.”

Treasurer Derek Edmunds, who has been on the committee for about eight years, said everybody enjoyed the lights, but no-one appeared to want to get involved.

The 81-year-old said: “It really is a lot of work organising everything from health and safety reports to apply for the street closure and really six people is not anywhere near enough.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it over the last few years if it wasn’t for the likes of the fire service, the coast guard and local farmers who have helped us in various ways.

“And why should we be doing this all year round with next to no help from others?”

Mr Edmunds added: “It is sad that we’ve had to step down, but it just cannot go on like this. We, the current committee, aren’t getting any younger and one woman has been involved for around 15 years.”

Emergency proposals put forward have included asking apprentices at nearby Torness nuclear power station to step in for next year.

Residents have reacted to next year’s cancellation with dismay. Kirsty Saunders, writing on the Heart of Dunbar Facebook page, said: “I had no idea they’d been trying to get people to join the committee without success, or that they had an open evening. Time for Dunbar to step up and help out I think.”

Fellow resident Louise Nicolson said: “Unfortunately, it’s the usual suspects that volunteer for so many things and folks are happy to leave the hard work to others most of the time. Hopefully plenty will step up and take the lights forward.”