Give Leigh a Christmas tree!
That’s the message to the town by campaigners trying to ensure that Leigh’s festive season celebrations are bigger and better this year.
Wigan Council won’t fund a tree for Leigh, while at the same time splashing out thousands of pounds on a festive package , including lights and a lavish lights switch on, complete with A-list celebrity guest star, for Wigan town centre.
The town centre did not have a tree last year as cash-strapped council chiefs were unable to pay for the replacement greenery and safety assessments required when the previous festive tree became unsuitable for use.
Now Trust in Leigh chairman Trevor Barton has launched the campaign, backed by the Leigh Observer, to raise around £5,000 for a large tree and a set of lights which would occupy pride of place in Civic Square.
However, Mr Barton is now appealing to the town’s residents to do it themselves and raise the cash needed for a spectacular replacement which would become the focal point of the run-up to December 25.
Mr Barton said: “ We are aware there’s no money in the council’s budget but it’s like most things at the moment, you can either accept not having something and complain about it or decide you are going to have a Christmas tree and have a whip round to raise the money ourselves.
“I know people will ask what Wigan is doing but to be honest I’m not bothered what anybody else is doing. Leigh is a good town with good people and I think we can raise the money very quickly among Leigh families.”
The campaign has already received high-profile backing from Leigh MP Andy Burnham.
He said: “I share the community’s disappointment that the town centre did not have a Christmas tree last year. I am keen to see the people of Leigh get behind this campaign and will be supporting Trust in Leigh with its efforts.”
Leigh councillors have also given their backing.
Coun Myra Whiteside, chair of the Leigh Town Centre Committee, said: “We wish the campaign well. A new tree for Leigh will complement the town centre’s Christmas lights.”
Leigh’s Christmas lights are funded by Wigan Council and the Leigh south, east and west and Atherleigh ward councillors through their Brighter Borough funding. To donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org