No Eathorpe lights switch-on event after 12 years of success

BBC presenter Mary Rhodes switched on Eathorpe's Christmas lights in 2013.
BBC presenter Mary Rhodes switched on Eathorpe's Christmas lights in 2013.

A village’s big Christmas lights launch will not be taking place this year with organisers saying it has become “a victim of its own success”.

After 12 years of increasing crowds, Eathorpe villagers have been forced to abandon the popular opening night, which would normally take place in mid-December.

Pauline Peck, one of the organisers in 2013, said: “In most respects last year’s opening night was a big success.

“More people than ever came to enjoy the evening and everybody seemed to have a good time.

“But we’ve always had a problem with the number of cars. In such a small village, we simply can’t safely control the traffic and manage the demand for parking spaces.”

David French, chairman of the village hall committee, said that the number of cars at last year’s event meant that some people parked on the Fosse Way despite the darkness and the speed of the passing traffic.

He added: “Despite our best efforts, access for emergency vehicles over the River Leam bridge was blocked by parked cars.

“We couldn’t take the risk of any repetition this year”.

In past years the event has included stalls, children’s amusements, and Santa’s Grotto.

Last year’s light displays were switched on by BBC Midlands presenter Mary Rhodes.

Through the event, villagers have raised almost £30,000 for various charities over the years and they will continue their fund-raising efforts this year.

Denis MacDaid, the village hall treasurer, said: “The main charities will be The Ups and Downs of Downs, a downs syndrome charity based in Lillington, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

“Last year we raised about £4,000 and we hope this time, even without the opening night, to get somewhere close to this figure.”