VOLUNTEERS of Annan Christmas Lights Committee have reacted to “mean-spirited” and “unfair” criticism being aimed at them following the town’s lights switch-on.
In last week’s Annandale Observer, a letter was published from an anonymous writer slagging off the “embarrassingly poor” lights and the switch-on event in comparison to festive displays across the region.
This has prompted the lights group to respond with member Louisa Currie, above, highlighting the job they do and what they offer children in the community on the day.
She said: “As a very, very small group of volunteers (at this time we have only four “core” members, plus two additional members and a couple of volunteers who help out on the actual day), we work extremely hard to light up Annan each year.
“I, personally, have a job, family and other volunteering commitments and have spent many, many
hours organising our very busy and popular Christmas Market and wrapping over 200 gifts for the children who attend our free Santa’s Grotto.
“Others in our group, although similarly busy, have organised entertainment, Santa’s Grotto and a Lantern Parade, as well as the actual switch-on event.
“I am sorry that the anonymous letter writer feels our display is ‘embarrassingly poor’. Having spent over £5000 on new lights this year alone, this is not what we hoped to achieve.”
Louisa conceded that the speaker audio on the switch-on night wasn’t up to the usual standard due to the weather and they had issues with the lights but they seem to be sorted now.
And she has asked the mystery writer to come along to their next meeting next year for suggestions of how they can improve.
Meanwhile, the letter also was mentioned at the town’s community council meeting on Monday night with chairman Allan Weild describing the content as “harsh”.
He added: “Everyone involved with the lights are volunteers and we wouldn’t have any lights if it wasn’t for them.
“It’s always people who do nothing that complain. I thought the letter was harsh.”
Community councillor Walter Hunt added: “The group had problems with some of their circuit boxes which were past their best.
“The people involved do a lot of work to raise money for the lights. And the letter was unfair.”
The group decided due to the criticism the lights committee received that they would double their £250 donation to £500.
The lights committee have also been encouraged by community councillors to apply for additional funding from the local authority’s common good fund.