Next Christmas Bexhill could have a bigger and better sparkly tree, streets glowing with decorations, even a life-size nativity scene - if Pebsham resident Mick Matthews has anything to do with it.
And that’s just the start - how about late night shopping, a bustling street market, and weekend of festive fun following a ceremonial switch-on?
Mick’s plan is for the community to work together to give Bexhill the Christmas it deserves and his aim is “to make the dream become a reality.”
He has been in discussion with a number of specialist companies and has settled on one which is offering to sort out town centre lights and a 30ft tree for five years at a cost of £40,000 the first year and £35,000 the remaining four.
He has been gauging interest from businesses to see if they will contribute and has met with local groups to see how much support there would be for his proposals. He has already begun thinking of fundraising events such as dance nights and carol concerts but thinks if £1 or £2 could be donated for every child in Bexhill that would be a sizeable chunk off the total.
He has contacted 35 town centre shops and been encouraged by their promises to pledge £100 individually towards street lights each year, and is optimistic following their response. Mick is also hoping for an impressive nativity scene which could be placed near the tree in Devonshire Square and wants to approach Bexhill’s churches to see if they would give backing.
The next step is to draw up a business plan and submit it to Rother District Council - the council itself has a £15,000 budget for Christmas decorations which could be part of the total fund, thinks Mick.
He began plotting this two years ago and said: “I just love Christmas - maybe I am still a kid at heart. I am doing this for my own family - family means everything to me.”
Two years ago the decorations were “just awful” and Mick went to the town hall to raise the issue - however he did not pursue it until more recently, and subsequently this year the Christmas tree met with such widespread disappointment that volunteers took it upon themselves to re-organise the Christmas tree lights through the council after the switch-on.
Mick is however looking ahead and said: “I dont think people realise what we have in this town. If they are prepared to work and stand up for what they believe in, they will get it. Rother District Council actually works for us. I genuinely think this will happen...we can do this.”