Sponsorship boost for Alnwick Christmas lights as backers pledge to provide £32,000 over next five years

Prospects are looking much brighter for Alnwick’s Christmas lights after a long-term sponsorship deal was secured.

Friday, 21st June 2019, 19:02 pm
Alnwick's Christmas lights team.

Alnwick Christmas Lights Committee has reached a sponsorship agreement with businessman Meenu Malhotra, chairman of the Malhotra Group.

The company, which has healthcare interests in the town, is putting up an initial £7,000 with further annual payments of £5,000 until 2023 at least.

Christmas Lights switch-on night in Alnwick.

The news has been warmly welcomed by the volunteer group which has previously faced an annual struggle to raise funds.

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Committee chairman Gordon Castle said, “Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Duchess of Northumberland we have met with a gentleman whose company wishes to help sustain a community activity that has been in place for decades, but secure funding to keep going.

“Our budget requires at least £14,000 per year to put on a display that seems to have overwhelming public support, but struggles to find income.

“The team of 18 local volunteers works long hours without a penny in payment to bring pleasure to the town and brighten up the winter streetscape, having already started in May to prepare displays for the switch on night of 22 November.

The switch-on of Alnwick Christmas Lights 2018 Picture by Jane Coltman

“Mr Malhotra, whose company through their Prestwick Care business is already building the new care home facility in Lisbon Street and who already owns Hillcrest Nursing Home, recognises our town’s unique strength of identity and wants to put something into it.

“I cannot over emphasise how relieved and grateful we are to have this lifeline, and on behalf of the team and the town I thank him and his board for their generosity in providing an initial £7,000 together with annual payments of £5,000, to be reviewed in five years.

“We will still need financial support from the town council and businesses to keep going, but I feel we now have a sufficient basis to plan with confidence. Before this we were peering into the abyss.”

Earlier this year, the Malhotra Group bought the 50-bed Hillcrest Care Home and is currently developing Beech Tree House, a brand new, purpose built 86-bed care home.

This state-of-the-art facility will provide nursing and residential care, catering for young physically disabled, bariatric and dementia as well as general nursing residents.