Published: 01/12/2017 17:00 - Updated: 06/12/2017 14:43

Festive lights face race against time

Written byPat Scott

Christmas Lights, Huntly Christmas Lights, Huntly Christmas Lights Group
Huntly Christmas lights volunteer Brian Morris hopes the displays which go across the streets will still be able to be erected.


VOLUNTEERS in the Huntly Christmas lights group are working against the clock to ensure that the festive displays which span the main thoroughfares are put up in time for Thursday's switch on event.

The group's application to Aberdeenshire Council for permission to erect the lights on Gordon Street, Castle Street, Deveron Street and Duke Street revealed that the fixings into the walls and the wire ropes used to hang them did not have the current certification required by the authority.

The structures, 32 wall fixings and sixteen sets of wires, must have load and weight bearing certification, without which Aberdeenshire Council say they have the power to remove the decorations.

In a fantastic gesture of festive goodwill, Darrin Limond of Ecosse Lifting, whose business is based on the Steven Road industrial estate, tested the fixings and provided the necessary certification.

However, the wires, made at least ten years ago by Brian Morris, a founder member of the group could not be put forward for certification because they had not been made by an approved fabricator.

Brian was part of the original committee when the campaign to raise cash for the new lights was launched and continues to support the group with practical help. He stores the displays and, with the help of local builder Alan Morrison, takes charge of putting the decorations up each year.

He said: "We have had to order 150 metres of new ropes and 32 tensioners. We just have to hope they will be delivered in time. Safelift, who are making them for us, are doing all they can to have them here before the weekend.

"If the delivery happens, we are still able to get them up but it will be harder if the materials don't come until next week as that would mean working in the darkness."

Moira Simpson, secretary for the group said that they were extremely grateful to Ecosse Lifting for their speedy intervention and hoped the ropes delivery would come in time.

She said: "Everyone is working really hard to ensure the lights across the street go up. The lights on the lamp posts are mainly in place but the ones across the street really complete the display. I know people really like the overall display and will be disappointed but we are doing all that we can.

"We are lucky to have reserves in our funds for this unexpected expense."

From April 2018, Aberdeenshire Council will put in place a policy and strict guidelines on what is allowed in terms of festive lighting, bunting and hanging floral displays in town centres.

Moira said: "Next year we will have to apply for our permission by September which will allow more time if there are hitches but it looks like the new policy will mean that we can't extend displays out along King George V Avenue.

"The policy says that the use of column mounted festive lights will be limited to the main footfall areas of towns which would seem to rule out King George V Avenue but maybe we can extend onto King Street or the area around the Market Muir."

Tomorrow night, the group's annual festive fundraising event, Bring a Party to a Party, takes place at Huntly Ex Servicemen's Club.

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