Boston’s Christmas lights organisers insist ‘we did the best we could with what we had’

  • Residents praised the town’s Illuminate switch-on event, but criticise the lack of festive lights around the town centre
  • This year’s event was funded through a £35k grant from BTAC after Boston Borough Council’s Full Council opted not to renew the contract or pay for a new one in their budget
  • Officials have praised those who took part in the event, and said there was work to do for next year

In the face of criticism from public and businesses, organisers of this year’s Christmas lights in Boston have insisted they ‘did the best we could with what we had’.

Although many people praised the switch-on event on Thursday, plenty said the lack of lights in the town centre left it feeling ‘anti-climactic’.

Helen Skinner wrote on The Standard’s Facebook: “The kids were wonderful - good job they were there really! What a lonely Christmas tree - Boston Borough Council you should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Paul Hazzard said it was ‘disgusting’ there were no lights in the town centre.

Business owners have also called the lights a ‘poor show’.

Andrea Maude, of Maude’s Jewellers, said: “It’s very sad, especially at the time of year when we all need to try to make an impression.

Christmas light switch on.

Christmas light switch on.

“We should all make an effort.”

Boston Borough Council’s Christmas Lights contract came to an end this year, and the authority’s Full Council voted not to include it in its budget.

Town Centre portfolio holder Coun Paul Skinner told The Standard ‘there was no budget’.

Instead, Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC), whose parish covers the town centre, was approached in September to help fund a display organised jointly with Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce’s Boston Town Team.

I think they have done the best they could with the money they had available. We don’t have an endless pot, BTAC is a parish and can’t afford to do the stuff big councils can.

Boston Town Area Committee chairman Coun Nigel Welton

BTAC agreed to allocate a £35,000 grant to Boston Town Team on the understanding that businesses, the Stump and the chamber of commerce, would ‘take ownership’ of the event as ongoing annual costs would amount to £7,500 to £8,000.

Part of the £35,000 was used towards purchasing light projection equipment used in this year’s scheme, which will run throughout the festive period.

BTAC also agreed to lights down Dolphin Lane, Emery Lane, Church Lane and Street and West Street,

BTAC chairman Nigel Welton said: “We as a committee did not want to see the town without a Christmas celebration.”

Mr Welton said the committee was told the old lights from the previous contract were ‘unusable’ and ‘for the bin’.

However, he said they would not be in the same position to help next year.

He added: “I think they have done the best they could with the money they had available. We don’t have an endless pot, BTAC is a parish and can’t afford to do the stuff big councils can.”

Jenny Elwick, of the Boston Town Team, said she believed the event had positives and areas which required improvement.

She said it was hoped to build on the event for next year, and to get local businesses and residents involved from January onwards to encourage sponsorship of lights.

She thanked those who had taken part this year including the shops which had Christmas decorations up and those which were hosting the projections.

For a picture gallery of the lights switch on event, click here.

To see more coverage of the night, including more than 45 minutes of footage across seven live videos from the night, search ‘lights’ on The Standard’s Facebook page.