Affray in a manger; vandals destroy Christmas decorations

editorial image

A GROUP of volunteers who help to organise and put up Christmas lights in Newport Pagnell has been urged ‘not to let vandals win’ after decorations were destroyed this year.

But despite discussions to not have a display next year the group has been inspired by proud locals urging them to keep going.

A doll depicting the baby Jesus has been stolen three times this year and after organisers secured it in place, to prevent further robberies, it was destroyed, as our picture shows.

Chairman of the Newport Pagnell Lights Volunteers, Jon Hooton, said: “Our team works all year, planning and making sure we have the funds in place to pay for any repairs and hire equipment needed to put the lights up.

“We have a phenomenal team who work for five to six hours every Sunday, in all weather conditions, for ten weeks leading up to the lights switch on at the end of November.”

The most recent robbery of the Jesus doll happened on Boxing Day as thieves took it and kicked it around the High Street. In the last few weeks bulbs have been stolen from the large Christmas tree, also in the High Street, leading to talk that future displays could be stopped.

Jon said: “We all do it for the community not for any recognition. The group has been going for 60 years, we are a small intimate team of around 16 local people and we are the only team that doesn’t receive any funding.

“People love the display and we have had so many people approaching us telling us not to let the vandals win. We will be taking steps next year to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Milton Keynes Councillor for Newport Pagnell South, Douglas McCall, has urged the group not to give up.

He said: “It is very sad that someone could stoop so low to ruin the good work that this group puts in. Volunteers put in an awful lot of effort, and money, to make the town look Christmassy.

“I would say to them that the vast majority of people appreciate what they do and don’t want it ruined by mindless morons. I would urge anyone who knows anything about this to please let the police know.

“The majority could lose out because of mindless people.”