'We need help' - organisers of Ely Christmas lights plea for more sponsors to fund popular event
PUBLISHED: 11:40 09 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:35 09 August 2019
Organisers of Ely's Christmas lights switch-on are urging more sponsors to get on board to help raise £10,500 to stage the event.
Around 6,000 revellers are expected to descend on the city on Friday November 29 to kick-start the festive season.
But event manager for the past 15 years, Ian Newstead, said that fewer sponsors had left them short of around £6,000 in sponsorship.
"Last year we only just made it with the money we had," he explained.
"At the minute we only have three sponsors but we need help for road closures, the light systems, the staging and just putting the event on as a whole.
He continued: "As a family we volunteer for the City of Ely Council to put this free event on for the people of Ely, but to do this we need local businesses to help us raise enough funds.
"We have a massive full production stage built on the road overnight in readiness for the big acts to arrive, charity and craft stalls, vendor's side shows and a fun fair so it is a big task."
Sponsors can pay a minimum of £300 to get their banner displayed at the front of the stage, shoutouts on social media and in local papers and on the radio.
There's also a chance to meet the acts behind the stage.
To become a main sponsor there will be backstage passes to the green room and a lit Christmas stall to show who they are.
Ian said that this year's event is set to be "extra special" to celebrate 15 years of the Newstead family organising it.
He said: "We will continue to do this as long as the people of Ely want it.
"It's a brilliant event and we always plan on making it bigger and better."
The festivities begin from 3pm on the day, with Santa arriving on a white horse drawn carriage through the streets.
In addition to the headline act - which is kept a secret for the time being - award-winning local theatre group, KD Theatre will kick off the switch-on as always by joining in the procession through the city.
"There's exciting plans in the pipeline as this is a milestone year for us," Ian added.
"Nobody wants it to be scaled down and I'm already planning for next year's event now.
"We love doing this and we love seeing people turnout and enjoy it.
"We just need more people to help us fund it."
Charity and craft stalls are also still available to hire.
Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor can contact Ian on 07902 015598.