Christmas is back on after fundraisers hit £4k tree target

Wanstead Christmas Lights switch-on in 2012. Mayor Cllr Muhammed Javed.

Wanstead Christmas Lights switch-on in 2012. Mayor Cllr Muhammed Javed. - Credit: Archant

Festivities are already under way in Wanstead after fundraisers hit their £4,000 target to pay for this year’s Christmas celebrations.

Fears Christmas would have to be cancelled emerged following the scrapping of Redbridge Council’s area committees in September, which previously paid for the village’s tree and decorations on George Green.

But a campaign to crowdfund the tree has managed to hit the total in just a few weeks.

Cllr Michelle Dunn, who was a driving force behind the fundraising, said: “It’s fantastic news.

“This is what the Wanstead community is about. It shows we can all pull together.

“We always thought it was going to be a bit of a struggle, but after a couple of days we were already over £1,000.”

Cllr Dunn said she and fellow Conservative councillors were now planning to ask the Corporation of London – which owns the green – to plant a permanent living tree there.

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“It’s something me and the other councillors did ask the Corporation some time ago, but it was refused,” she said.

“The way forward is to have another meeting and see if we can get them to be on board.”

In September, the Labour-led Redbridge Council voted to replace area committees with local forums, which do not have their own budget.

The cost-cutting measure has come under fire from Conservative councillors.

But last month, council leader Cllr Jas Athwal (Lab, Mayfield) hit back at fears by highlighting the fact he was only carrying out what the previous Conservative administration decided.

“A strategic approach for festivities was proposed by the Conservative group and backed by the Lib Dems,” he told the Recorder.

“It is not about what is ­being taken away in funding, but what is being added.”

The Wanstead Christmas Tree fund is still raising money, with a view to funding other projects in the village.

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