James Grundy MP: Hail Our Community Volunteers
It is good to see civic life continue to return to normal with the return of such events.
Beyond the ability to visit family and friends, a freedom we only regained relatively recently when lockdowns were lifted earlier this year, public events such as the ones we host at Christmases are extremely important to the community, whether for us as individuals or collectively.
I would like to tell you how one of these events, which has been going on for several years now, happened.
At Lane Head in Lowton, the Local Residents’ Association wondered what to do about a constantly dilapidated lot, a neglected but tall grassy edge with a rut carved out by people taking shortcuts across and constantly plagued by canine fouling.
One of the local residents suggested erecting a Christmas tree on the land and singing Christmas carols around it at Christmas time, given that the land was close to the center of Lane Head, and therefore, theoretically, the ideal place to organize such an event.
At first there was some skepticism as to whether this problematic bundle of land could be turned into something of community value, indeed bordering on disbelief in some quarters.
Nonetheless, a small group of dedicated volunteers from the Lane Head Residents’ Association set out to cost the project and implement it.
It turned out that in order to install a Christmas tree on site and put electric lights on it during the holiday season, you had to secure the tree inside a fence and identify a nearby source of electricity ( not just an extension cord from a nearby helpful resident’s house, health and safety, you see).
It also turned out that you need to make sure you’ve selected the right type of Christmas tree if you’ve put together a live specimen, so that in years to come you don’t accidentally get the pine equivalent of a giant sequoia on your hands.
To do all of this it took a lot of papers signed by the council, but luckily there was a helpful officer by the name of Andrew Sharrock who was able to guide the local residents through the labyrinthine process of obtaining the various permissions. . various officials from the Wigan metro.
Finally, the selected Christmas tree was planted, the beautiful ornamental railings installed around the tree, the decorations put in place, and the lights plugged into the modified lamppost box nearby to provide electricity.
The first event was brilliant, with plenty of mulled wine and chopped pies consumed, and Christmas carols sung accompanied by the local marching band, with a large number of local residents showing up to participate.
I am happy to say that the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and Christmas carol service at Lane Head has been going well for several years now, only interrupted by the Covid restrictions last year, and I have very looking forward to attending the event this year.
It should be remembered, however, that without the dedication of a handful of Lane Head residents, this little piece of land where the Christmas tree stands would still be an eyesore and certainly no one would come together to see it. sing Christmas carols.
As we gather at the various Christmas events this year to eat and drink with friends and family, and to celebrate with members of the communities in which we live, it is important to remember that the volunteers who maintain the community events may be few. , like the elves of Santa Claus, but just like the elves, they are essential to make these events last!
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