THE lights will definitely be going on in Ilfracombe this Christmas thanks to the generosity of local people.

The annual Lighting of the Lights takes place on Wednesday, December 1, but a few weeks ago organisers the High Street Traders were wondering if it would happen due to dwindling funds in the festive kitty.

An appeal for funds has seen the people of the town respond in their droves and now Traders president Nick Pedlar believes there should be enough of a stake to ensure the event can continue next year too.

Each year thousands gather at “the square” by Ilfracombe’s war memorial to witness the lighting of the lights before heading to the High Street for some late night shopping, plus plenty of sights, sounds and activities.

It begins with a lantern lit procession by children from Ilfracombe Junior School, who at 6.30pm will make their way down Marlborough Road to the square, led by Town Crier Roy Goodwin.

Local radio celebrities Hopps and Chapple will be carrying out the big switch in this year after great public demand for their services!

There will be a short service from atop the now traditional open-topped Golden Coast Holidays double decker bus, led by the Reverend Robert Harris, with carols by Ilfracombe Parish Church Choir.

“Thanks to the generosity of the public we’re in a position to be able to turn the lights on for Christmas and allowed the High Street Traders to put the night on as we have done since 1996,” said Mr Pedlar.

“It just shows the community love it and they have done everything they can to make sure it is maintained. Fund raising continues to ensure next year definitely happens and collections boxes are in all the High Street Traders shops.”

The George and Dragon pub in Fore Street dedicated one of its weekly Tuesday quiz nights to the lighting of the lights and raised £200 in one evening.

The Traders would also like to thank all the businesses that have donated prizes for the annual raffle to be held on the night of December 1. Further donations of draw prizes would still be greatly appreciated and if anyone can help, they can be left at Pedlars in the High Street or by calling (01271) 863509.