Barnstaple’s Christmas lights and entertainment programme is in danger of being drastically cut back for 2019 unless funding can be found urgently.

Barnstaple Christmas lights switch on 2018. Picture: Tony GussinBarnstaple Christmas lights switch on 2018. Picture: Tony Gussin

Barnstaple Town Centre Management (TCM) has warned its Christmas programme will be 'hugely compromised' if it is unable to raise the £30,000 needed for new lights.

The not-for-profit company relies on donations for the lights and has launched an urgent appeal, setting up a GoFundMe page with a £20,000 target for people and businesses to donate to the Christmas fund.

In addition to £5,000 of funding from North Devon Council, money raised will go into the organisation of attractions, lights and entertainment. Last year's festive events included the likes of the Christmas light switch-on, as well as the Christmas Real Food Market and the arts and crafts fair.

Anyone who makes a pledge to the fund will be added to a roll of honour displayed in the town centre.

The lights that have adorned the Square and High Street for the last three years were returned earlier this year after the hire period came to an end. New lights will need to be ordered by the end of summer.

A statement from Barnstaple TCM said: "We urgently need your help to ensure that we can continue to deliver the wonderful festive atmosphere which brings our whole community together at such a special time of year.

"Last year, November and December were jam-packed with fun events, kicking off the celebrations with the fantastic light switch on; one of the largest free, family friendly events in North Devon.

"These events - such a vital part of Christmas - and of course, the Christmas lights, bring people into our town which generate the vibrant and celebratory atmosphere which we all love.

"They are, however, only possible thanks to the generous sponsorship we receive from local businesses and individuals. Without this generosity Christmas at Barnstaple would be a very different occasion.

"Our beautiful Christmas lights, on hire for three years, have now been returned and in order to fund new lights for our town we need to raise £30,000, only £5,000 of which will come from North Devon Council.

"If the money is not raised, the quality of what we are able to provide will be hugely compromised."

Last year's switch-on saw Barnstaple bicycle repair man Gordon 'Gordy' Webber switch on the lights alongside Andy Unstead and the family of Kiera Ball.

As well as a range of on-stage performances, a special segment of the show saw the launch of the Light Up a Life appeal for North Devon Hospice and Children's Hospice South West, in conjunction with the Gazette.

To donate to Barnstaple Christmas 2019 fund, visit www.gofundme.com/f/barnstaple-at-christmas-2019.

Alternatively, businesses can fund out about a range of sponsorship packages by emailing louise@barnstaple.co.uk.