Divided Christmas group praised

Councillors have praised the group which organised last year’s Christmas lights, and called on next year’s event to be just as good - but divisions in the group have come to the fore.

Members of the Boston Town Area Committee last Wednesday accepted a report from the group, including accounts. They were told the volunteers put in a total of 516.6 hours, which at an electrician’s rate of £25 + VAT would equal £15,495. Councillors praised the group’s efforts.

Chairman Nigel Welton said: “For the people that were involved in the 2017 event, every one of us in this committee are happy with that.”

The debrief, however, came against a backdrop of division among the Christmas in Boston Group, which centred around a split with treasurer Darron Abbott.

The group’s Annual General Meeting, held last Monday, said Mr Abbott was expelled from the group for ‘unprofessional behaviour’ on December 5 – something the group says was done in accordance with its constitution.

Mr Abbott, however, accused the group of acting unconstitutionally and at BTAC on Wednesday, referred to himself as the ‘constitutionally appointed Treasurer of Christmas in Boston’. He says the group never ‘formally informed’ him of what his unprofessional behaviour was.

Mr Abbott has also laid out a series of allegations against the group in response - including telling the BTAC committee on Wednesday that there had been ‘continual breaches of health and safety that invalidated the group’s insurance policy’ and ‘special deals for friends’.

The group said at its AGM that it was covered by both the group’s event policy and each member’s individual policy.

Regarding any ‘special deal’ it said a tree donated to a business, which Mr Abbott has criticised, and which was later reversed, was done so because the premises had been made available for facilities and tea/coffee to them during closed hours while they were carrying out work.

A request for members to potentially take a share of any surplus, due to the number of extra hours worked - originally planned to be just one week - was also revealed. However, despite initially being reported to be agreed, it was confirmed this was later rejected.

Both Christmas in Boston and a new group Darron Abbott has created are now moving forward with separate plans to put to the council for next year’s event.

At the weekend the Christmas in Boston electricians used their lights to brighten up the Ingram Memorial and Boston War Memorial for Easter.

Boston Borough Council’s Cabinet will today (Wednesday) discuss future options for festive events in the town.