IF Taunton businesses want Christmas to happen this year, they’ll have to help raise £25,000 before October.
Kelly Durdan, who has rescued the county town’s festive season for the past two years, is working hard with Tracy Kearley, from uandi design and Sally Jones, to Make Taunton Sparkle again.
She is calling on traders to respond to her appeal to pay towards Christmas lights in the town centre to enable a crowd-drawing switch-on day to go ahead.
To kickstart the appeal, Kelly, a district councillor, has ‘press ganged’ her dad, Deane Mayor Dave Durdan, to dip into his pocket to fund a ‘Grow a Pound’ challenge.
Dave is supplying participating shops with a £1 loan and asking them to make as much money from it as possible.
“I’m hoping it will lead to a bit of fun and friendly competition among businesses,” said Kelly.
“It would be great if they could grow the £1 with something they don’t normally sell.
“They can add to the £1 themselves, although there’s a £10 cap.”
All profits will go to Make Taunton Sparkle, which raised enough money in 2012 and 2013 to fund street decorations after the now defunct Taunton Town Centre Company was unable to afford them.
Kelly is also running a sponsor a light bulb scheme – if she attracts enough cash, the town will be lit up by 56,700 LED bulbs costing 25p each – while firms are free to donate money to the kitty.
She added: “I can’t do this on my own without the help of businesses in the town.
“If we don’t have any Christmas lights, then people won’t come to the town at what should be the busiest period of the year.”
Anyone with any ideas on raising funds for the lights or who wishes to donate sponsorship should contact Kelly Durdan on 07789-871856 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org A Taunton Deane Council spokeswoman said the authority was working with Kelly.
She added: “We will work positively in support of her approach to enable the event to occur.
“If we receive a specific application for funding to support the event we will of course carefully consider any such request when it is received.
“The council is looking forward to another successful Christmas season in Taunton and will work hard with the Sparkle organisers to ensure the festive season goes with a swing.”
The authority is also working with not-for-profit organisation Time 4 on entertainment on the proposed switch on day, November 23.