Community effort needed to make Stamford Christmas festival a success

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AN EVENTS organiser is calling on the community to pull together in support of this year’s Christmas festival in Stamford.

Since the success of last year’s event, organiser Ali Hawley-Smith has been dealt a number of funding blows with South Kesteven District Council pulling its support as well as putting up the cost of hiring its trade stalls.

But despite the setbacks, Ali remains confident the festival can go ahead with the support of the town’s businesses.

She needs to raise £20,000 altogether. Half the money will come from the rental of trade stands and about £6,000 has already been donated by companies. Ali hopes to raise the final £3,600 from more local sponsorship.

She said: “The Christmas festival is a brilliant event which is growing year on year. I’m so proud of it, especially as this year it will be a home-grown event supported entirely by local people.

“That was always my vision. I want it to be a Stamford event for Stamford people by Stamford people.”

Several companies and organisations have already pledged their support, including Cummins Generator Technologies, Stamford Endowed Schools, New College Stamford, Watson Mitchell, Taylor Amusements, Stamford Town Partnership, Stamford Town Council and North Shoes.

Ali said: “We are £3,600 short of our sponsorship target and want this to be a truly home-grown venture so we are pleading to all businesses to join us and become involved as this event undoubtedly brings a very welcome boost in the run up to Christmas.

“I will make ensure we raise this money one way or another.”

If the organisers don’t secure enough sponsorship, the shortfall will come from Ali’s salary.

The event will run on Sunday, December 11, from 10am until 4pm with 150 trade stands, a funfair, Santa’s grotto and entertainment running all day.

Last year more than 15,000 people attended.

Ali added: “We have all seen the benefit the festival brings to the town.

“We all want it to grow, so let’s pull together to make that happen.”

Anyone who can help should contact Ali Hawley-Smith on 07791 334221.