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Theale's Christmas event called off

Parish council says event will be back 'bigger and better' next year

Theale's Christmas event called off

THEALE’S Christmas Event for this year has been called off owing to a combination of cuts and critical issues.

The village’s Christmas Lights Event is a calendar favourite, featuring a market, carol concert, Father Christmas grotto, and the hotly-contested best-dressed Christmas window competition.

However, everyday business has cancelled the magic.

Theale Parish Council, which organises the event, has been locked in negotiations with West Berkshire Council over a replacement primary school in the village.

It has also been involved in saving the village library from district council cuts, which also saw the loss of the neighbourhood warden team who helped out on the day.

Speaking at a meeting on Monday, parish clerk Jo Friend said: “A huge amount of organisation is needed and because of issues that the council has had to deal with, coupled with the loss of key players, we just couldn’t do it.”

Parish council chairwoman Becky Williams said: “It was decided that we would rather give a cracking 100 per cent event rather than something that was substandard and not up to previous years.”

Mrs Friend added that people had been supportive over the decision and were keen to be involved next year.

The work that former parish council chairman Charles Bateman, who died earlier this year, put into the event was noted by councillors.

The loss of the neighbourhood warden team was also marked as a contributing factor.   

Parish councillor Iain Hopcroft said: “I think it’s a shame but no one intends for this to be a permanent thing.”

Indeed, Mrs Williams added: “We want to come back bigger and better next year.”

The parish council will be installing Christmas lights along the High Street this year.

A statement on Theale Parish Council’s website said: “Sadly, Theale Parish Council has had
to make the decision that it will not be able to stage the Theale Christmas Lights Event this

“Following the loss of the entire neighbourhood wardens team, the loss of other key volunteers involved in the organising and staging of the event, plus the demands, in terms of time and effort, made on parish councillors and staff by recent issues, the council just isn’t able to deliver the event this year.

“We know many will be disappointed by this decision, many stall holders had already expressed an interest in attending the Christmas market and Father Christmas was busy preparing to meet the children of Theale.

“The parish council are intending to bring the event back next year, December 2017, and to make it even better.”

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