EAST Dorset may be in full summer bloom, but the district's leaders and traders have turned their thoughts to a green Christmas for the district's minster town.

Wimborne Minster's chamber of trade is investing £12,000 in new festive lights illuminated by LEDs in a bid to cut the town's carbon footprint.

The traders have been backed by a donation of £2,000 from East Dorset District Council and substantial contributions from businesses in the town.

Malcolm Angel, the chairman of Wimborne Minster and District chamber of trade, told a meeting of dignitaries at the town hall on Monday that the new lights would have a significant impact.

"We have decided that this year we're going to go green. The LED lights will help us reduce our carbon footprint by about 85 per cent," said Mr Angel.

Nearly 40 businesses across the town, and members of the public keen to see a brighter Wimborne Minster, have dug deep.

John Beckett, the chamber's president, said he had collected £3,245, and had received pledges for a further £500.

The Crown Mead shopping precinct will be lit up again this Christmas after spending last year's festive period in darkness.

A production of a Christmas Carol to raise funds for the town will open at the Tivoli theatre on November 29 - the day of the grand switch-on.

East Dorset Distict Council chairman, Ray Dudman and the chief executive, Alan Breakwell, were among the trader's honoured guests on Monday.

The mayor of Wimborne Minster, Robin Cook, county councillor Marilyn Osner and district councillor, Lucy Clark, were thanked by the chamber for their support.

Cllr Clark, the council's chair of the grants committee, said the council was happy to help Wimborne traders.

"Seasonal trade is incredibly important for many stores and the council was delighted to assist shopkeepers at this time," said Cllr Clark.

"The lights will brighten the town and create a more attractive environment in which to shop," she added.