Chamber calls time on Battle’s festive lights

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The group behind Battle’s Christmas lights has announced that it plans to hand over responsibility for the town’s festive decorations.

Volunteers from the Battle and District Chamber of Commerce have been responsible for giving the town its yuletide sparkle for many years.

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But this week the group announced that it intends to relinquish responsibility for the lights after Christmas 2016.

Chamber president Uta Acuna delivered the news in a letter to Battle Town Council and Rother District Council.

Uta said: “As you know, the Battle and District Chamber of Commerce has traditionally taken responsibility for Battle’s Christmas lights.

“They have been financially sponsored by local businesses and organisations, including the Battle Town Council and Rother District Council, and the costs have been kept relatively low because the lights have been installed and maintained by unpaid volunteers.

“The same small group of volunteers have undertaken the work for many, many years and have now decided that they wish to relinquish this responsibility.”

Some of the current volunteers have been putting the lights up for more than 20 years.

But many are nearing or past retirement age, while others have to juggle demanding, full-time jobs with their lighting responsibilities.

Uta said: “The Chamber of Commerce feels immense gratitude to the lighting team for their contribution to our community.

“They have put up the lights unfailingly each November, been on call to deal with emergencies throughout December and taken the equipment down for storage early in January.

“The work has been sometimes stressful and not without risk and has often been undertaken in wind and rain and snow.

“Some members of the group are nearing or past retirement age and others have full-time, demanding jobs.

“We do not feel that we can expect, or indeed reasonably ask for, replacement volunteers who will provide the same level of generosity, skill and commitment as our current lighting team, and we must therefore regretfully give notice that the Chamber of Commerce Christmas Committee will resign all responsibility for organising the town’s Christmas lights after the 2016 season.

“We hope that this will provide sufficient lead time for other arrangements to be put in place and for the new organisers to benefit from our team’s considerable experience.

“We will do all we can to ensure as smooth a change-over as possible.”

It is not yet clear who will take over from the Chamber.