Will it be a sparkling Christmas in Bude?

As autumn kicks in, we start thinking about winter!

Bude has had a sparkling Christmas in recent years due to the sterling efforts of the volunteers of Light up Bude. This year, as a reader has pointed out, will look very different.

Light Up Bude disbanded (not too surprisingly as great efforts were made and people burn out) some months ago. The Light Up Bude team of volunteers worked tirelessly year-round to fundraise, organise, renovate and erect a growing collection of sparkling lights to make the main shopping streets of Bude look beautiful, welcoming and festive. They raised over £10,000 in the past three years and even more impressively, clambered ladders, rode cherry-pickers provided by the town council and endured wind, rain and hail to bring Christmas cheer. Last year, even the famous Bude Tunnel was lit up.

It has to be said that the team had a massive impact on the town.


Now that’s gone. Back in July, Light Up Bude said:


Nearby towns with enviable Christmas Light displays are supported, funded and organised by their town councils.  Research shows it is the case that most towns in Cornwall (of a similar size to Bude) allocate and spend between £10,000 to £15,000 per year on lights. Launceston spends £18,000. These funds are found within their town council budgets and staff are responsible for organising and delivering the annual displays. Now we all know that Bude and Stratton Town Council are vigorous and progressive in maintaining and developing the delightful floral displays which add colour and beauty to our town from springtime through to the autumn. Wouldn’t it be great if the festive season was treated with such regard? But our council don’t currently allocate any budget for the Christmas lights, as traditionally this was left to local business owners and the Chamber of Commerce.

When B & B contacted the council, Town Clerk, Keith Cornwell, responded:

Everyone is grateful for the efforts of Light up Bude over recent years; they did a great job in brightening up the town. The Town Council, while not allocating direct funds has been supportive of this community group and has supplied the cherry picker and manpower to help put up and take down the lights.

The Council also purchases and puts up four Christmas Trees in the Parish at – The Castle, The Triangle, Poughill and Stratton.

I contacted Councillor Peter La Broy, and Mayor Bob Willingham to find out the current state of play.

Peter La Broy said:

Light Up Bude appeared to fold up earlier this year without passing anything over to the Council. There was a meeting planned, but nobody turned up. BSTC agreed at that point to do an enhancement of the decorations on our own properties, as it would be very difficult to provide any alternative without appropriate arrangements in place. 

Mayor Bob Willingham added:

We don’t have the permission or the insurance to start putting lights up on other people’s properties. I would suggest that the businesses sort out their lights themselves. The late night shopping is difficult as the businesses don’t seem to be able to form a cohesive group. The Rotary Club of Bude will as always, process through town with Father Christmas and have a Santa’s grotto at the bottom of Queen Street. The date for this is not yet certain.

Meanwhile, if anyone wants to cross the Tamar, Holsworthy will have a Christmas lights switch-on event this year on Saturday 30th November 3 pm – 8 pm.

The time of the ‘Light Switch On’ will remain a secret like always, and this year again, one lucky child will switch on the Holsworthy Christmas Lights. It will not be a late Switch On so that all of the families and children can enjoy the event.

Holsworthy will hold a Christmas Market. The Council is appealing for a varied amount of food and drink stalls as well as the regular Christmas Market stalls like last year, and would like to see more stalls than last year! email: townclerk@holsworthytowncouncil.gov.uk




  • Lesley Cooke says:

    Come on Bude Town Council get you act together. No insurance! What do other councils do? What a lame excuse – Bah Humbug, what a disgrace!!

  • Deb says:

    Yes the council do need to step up to the plate now. They’ve had it to easy far too long. A cherry picker was supplied for 2 or 3 days with somebody qualified to work it, but they didn’t actually put the lights up or sort the electrics; this was all done by the Light up Bude volunteers and Mark Falla, electrician.

  • Becky says:

    So basically the council can’t be bothered. They have had plenty of time to look into insurance, PAT testing, etc. So Father Christmas will still make a visit but there will be no late-night shopping? How very bizarre.
    Let’s all go to Holsworthy and spend our money there!

  • Ramsey says:

    Maybe we should contact the national newspapers after the widely successful national reported tunnel lights last year and shame our councillors; it’s a disgrace that they feel they do not have to contribute like other towns! Making Bude festive brings in visitors. Who wants to visit a town Christmas forgot and spend time and money over the festive period?

  • I guess there is a cost so it goes on to council tax. Many wouldn’t like that idea much.

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