THE annual lights switch on event in Highcliffe has been called off this year due to insurance issues.

Highcliffe Action Team have said that they have been “let down” with the insurance need to host the official switch on event but have assured residents and visitors that the high street in Highcliffe will still be graced with twinkling Christmas lights.

The community group, which has taken on the responsibility of decorating the village for the festive period for the past few years, announced that the Christmas event will not go ahead for the second year in a row, after the coronavirus pandemic curtailed last year’s celebrations.

A spokesman from the Highcliffe Action Team said: “Unfortunately we’ve been less fortunate with our annual switch on event as we’ve been let down with the appropriate insurance and of course the changing virus constraints.

"Tesco Express house the main tree now but we were unable to secure indemnity insurance for it to cover an official switch on ceremony.

“HAT just don’t have the funds to pay it, so the event has been postponed but we hope for bigger and better next year.”

Having struggled with donations over the past 20 months due to Covid-19, Highcliffe Action Team were concerned that there wouldn’t be any Christmas lights at all after struggling for funding to finance electricians to install the decorations.

Bournemouth Echo: Last year's Highcliffe Christmas lights switch on event was their first and this year is expected to be even bigger

After receiving contributions from BCP Council and Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council to take them close to their target, the festive lights were hung on time thanks to a last-minute donation of £500 from Hoburne Developments.

Staff at the Tesco Express store on Lymington Road will be handing out warm mince pies and complimentary hot chocolate to customers on Saturday December 4 when all the lights are due to be lit along the high street.