Right: Melvin – East Grinstead’s Mr Christmas, receiving an award for his unstinting service to the town
TOWN Clerk Julie Holden has given public thanks to Melvin Philips and his Christmas lights committee for more than three decades of voluntary work raising funds for the town’s lights and displaying them.
East Grinstead was one of the first Sussex towns to light up Christmas, and over 34 years Melvin has been responsible for screwing in more than 100,000 bulbs.
His quiet, unstinting service was recognised with a Paul Harris Award by the Rotary Club of East Grinstead last summer, acknowledging his place in the town’s affections, and last year he was nominated by the Town Council for a community award from Mid Sussex District Council.
But like all good things, the work of Melvin’s committee has now come to an end, and for the past three years the Town Council has taken over responsibility for the lights on a phased basis.
This year the Christmas Lights Committee only provided the stretch on London Road between the High Street roundabout and Robert Dyas, leaving the Town Council responsible for the High Street, the stretch from Robert Dyas to the clock tower, and the top of Railway Approach
And from next year, there will be further change when the Council takes on the entire stretch of London from the High Street to the Clock tower, and a new community group looks at doing additional places.
They will be asking for public donations, the Council has set aside a budget of £10,500 and will also be looking for corporate sponsorship.
Julie said: “The Council is very grateful for all the many years’ illumination that the community group under Melvin Phillips have given East Grinstead.
“The Town Council’s website has included maps and information about the changes and we look forward to the Council continuing the display with support from the new community group for next Christmas.”
Photo top: Roy Henderson