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Southport set to sparkle as work begins to replace mile of lights along historic Lord Street
Photos with thanks to Andrew Brown...

WORK has begun on a sparkling scheme to provide new decorative lighting along an historic mile long shopping boulevard in the North West. The provision of new lights along the Victorian Lord Street in Southport has been made possible thanks to Southport BID. The BID and Sefton Council have worked together to secure ₤100,000 through a Government Acceleration Grant, under Southport Town Deal. The BID has provided further match funding for the scheme. Work on the substantial scheme will be carried out by Southport family firm IllumiDex UK Ltd, which is also installing Southport's sparkling 18 metre Christmas tree as well as the Town's festive decorations. The firm will have the painstaking task of removing 3 and a ½tonnes of obsolete lighting from trees along both sides of Lord Street. Work began on Tuesday, 10 November 2020, with the team starting from the trees outside Farmfoods, at the Southport Community Fire and Ambulance Station end of the boulevard before heading down to the Morrison's end a mile away, and then back down the other side. The discarded lights would stretch for the equivalent of 22.5 miles if laid out end to end.

Southport BID CEO Rachel Fitzgerald said:- "The current lights in Southport have deteriorated to a point where they need completely replacing. There is a substantial cost to providing new lights in Southport, and removing the old ones. Southport BID welcomes the contribution of ₤100,000 from the Town Deal Fund which will go some way towards the initial costs of the new lights. The remainder of the money will be paid for by the BID, which will also pay for ongoing maintenance costs. The lights are something for the whole Town, and for visitors, to enjoy. They create a feelgood factor which will encourage people to come and shop, dine out and stay in Southport, increasing spend with local businesses. We instructed an independent company to assess the tenders for the work and IllumiDex came out top. We were independently advised that they are the best both in terms of the quality of their work, and best value for money."

The IllumiDex team aims to remove the current lights, working from a cherry picker and mobile boom lift overnight, when the roads are at their most quiet. The 1st of the brand new lights are scheduled to be installed in the new year with the whole project due to be completed by Spring 2021. Owners Steve and Jan Clayton, who live in Southport, and are very excited at the prospect of lighting up their home Town.  Steve said:- "The lights that are currently in the trees along Lord Street are 5 years old now and are at the point where they can no longer be patched up. It is fantastic to see that Southport BID and the Government through the Southport Town Deal have now been able to allocate funding for replacement lights. We started to remove the old lights from the trees along Lord Street, on Tuesday. Once we have taken them out, they will be sent to be recycled. Once we have taken them down, if we laid them end to end, they would stretch to 22 and a ˝ miles; around 3 and a ½tonnes of lights! This is a huge project and we are very proud and privileged to be doing this work for our home Town. There are 82 trees, on Lord Street, with lights on. We will be working on the trees overnight each night. It is going to take us 5 to 6 weeks to complete this initial task. We are liaising with the Sefton Conservation Team which will in turn prune all the trees before we install the new lights. In the new year we will start installing the new lights and will finish next Spring, when Lord Street will be in its full glory. Everyone will then be able to enjoy seeing a tunnel of light down the whole 1 mile length of Lord Street and these will be on all year round. We love working in Southport and have such great passion in all the work that we do. When we decorate our Town, we are decorating our home. We want to light up the Town for everyone to come and admire, bringing families, tourists and visitors back to enjoy everything that Southport has to offer. Lord Street is such a beautiful street. When you look back at our history, Napoleon III stayed in Southport and designed the boulevards of Paris around it. Lord Street is going to look beautiful when it is lit up again."

Southport BID has recently launched the new Southport Gift Card as a way of encouraging people to support local businesses. For more details please visit:- SouthportBID.Com/Southport-Gift-Card or by visiting:- SouthportIndependents.Co.UK.

Liverpool ONE Takes Christmas To The Community

LIVERPOOL'S true community spirit is set to shine brighter than ever this festive season with the illumination of the giant tree and famous reindeers at Liverpool ONE. Specialist drone footage has been captured for the 1st time ever this year as the Christmas lights are turned on and the Christmas season begins. The iconic 30 metre tall tree, which Liverpool has become famous for, is once again illuminated at the top of Paradise Street, turning blue at regular intervals as a mark of respect to all of the great work by our NHS teams across the Region. The much loved reindeers in Peter's Lane and South John Street are back, together with a festoon of other sparkling lights, including angel wings, on Chavasse Park, all designed to bring some cheer as a challenging year draws to a close. The lights will now be illuminated until 31 December 2020. And Liverpool 1 has special plans in place this year to ensure no one misses out on the light spectacular. The drone footage and big switch on moment have been captured and shared with care homes across the Region. Schools, community groups and the wider public are also be able to access the footage via Liverpool ONE's You Tube Channel, from Thursday, 12 November 2020, ensuring no one misses out on some festive sparkle.

Donna Howitt, Marketing Director at Liverpool ONE, said:- "This year is obviously very different. While there will be people who will come into the city centre when Government restrictions allow and we are looking forward to welcoming them back safely with all of the additional measures which we have in place, there will be others who will be unable to. This year, more than ever, it is so important for us to all show each other some love and care; and this is something which is so easy to do. We do not want those who are isolating at home, in care homes or people who are unable to get into the city centre, to miss out on our festive light spectacular. It is for this reason we decided to make a very special film of our switch on, including drone footage which we have never done previously and we are delighted to be offering this to care homes and other community organisations who may not get to see the lights in person this year. We really hope everyone will share this true community spirit this festive season."

Churchview Nursing Home in Green Lane, Liverpool, was the 1st home to see the Christmas Light Switch On. Cheryl Vickerstaffe, Home Manager, said:- "We are so grateful to Liverpool 1 for bringing this spectacular switch on to our home. This is something our residents would never have been able to see if it had not been for the community minded spirit at Liverpool ONE. Everyone absolutely loved it and it has made everyone feel very festive! Care home staff have worked so hard and it is lovely to be thought about in this caring way."

Further details about Liverpool 1 this Christmas are available from:- Liverpool-ONE.Com.

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