Fleetwood football boss’s £8k festive gift

BES Utilities managing director and Fleetwood Town FC chairman Andy Pilley (centre) with Cllr Maryt Stirzaker and Cllr Terry Rogers
BES Utilities managing director and Fleetwood Town FC chairman Andy Pilley (centre) with Cllr Maryt Stirzaker and Cllr Terry Rogers

Fleetwood will be guaranteed a festive lights show to be proud of this year after an energy firm based in the town signed off an £8k Christmas present.

And the move by local energy supplier BES Utilities has been welcomed by the daughter of Fleetwood woman Karen Leo, a founding member of the town’s Festive Lights Committee who first had the idea to improve the town’s lights.

The town's Christmas lights switch-on

The town's Christmas lights switch-on

Tragically, Karen died after a brave battle with cancer in 2012 aged just 49, but not before she had inspired the community to light up the town each Christmas.

Karen’s daughter Louise Tennant said: “The donation from BES Utilities is amazing and my mum would be very proud of how the local community has really got on board.

“The community spirit in Fleetwood is great and local people want to see the town at its best.

“To see The Mount lit up fully will be wonderful and I am so chuffed that my mum’s dream will be realised.”

The donation from BES Utilities is amazing and my mum would be very proud of how the local community has really got on board

The donation by BES, headed by Fleetwood Town Football Club chairman Andy Pilley, helped smash the £20,000 target needed to fund the town’s festive lights.

The Fleetwood-based company has joined forces with Fleetwood Town Council and a hardy team of volunteers determined to make the port shine bright this Christmas.

BES Utilities has given £8,000 to the town’s Festive Lights Fund which, together with the £12,000 already raised, will mean The Mount will be fully lit for the first time while all the main streets in the town centre will sparkle with Christmas trees and festive installations.

It is hoped the new-look Christmas lights will help bring visitors and shoppers to the town over the festive period, boosting local business.

BES Utilities managing director Mr Pilley said: “BES is proud to be a Fleetwood company and so we are delighted to be able to help the town in this way.

“The volunteers and Town Council have done a wonderful job in raising £12,000 and I am thrilled that, through our donation, they have reached their target of £20,000 which will mean the best ever Christmas lights show for the town.

“Christmas is such a special time for local communities, none more so than right here in Fleetwood, and we hope our donation results in many more people coming into the town which obviously helps local businesses.

“We can’t wait to see the lights in all their glory and we feel sure this is going to be a really special Christmas.”

The £20,000 target has been met thanks to the BES donation, together with a £4,000 contribution from both Fleetwood Town Council and Wyre Council as well as support from local businesses and bucket collections by volunteers.

This year’s festive lights will include large illuminated trees situated at The Marine Gardens, Ash Street, Broadway, Larkholme shopping area and the island at West View roundabout.

Smaller trees will be erected above all the shops in the town centre and above retail outlets that have contributed to the event.

Coun Terry Rogers, chairman of Fleetwood Town Council, said: “Words cannot say how much the support of Andy Pilley and BES Utilities is appreciated.

“The Festive Lights are an integral part of both retail and community expectations. The lights really encourage visitors to come and shop locally which gives a boost to the local economy.

“Without such wonderful support from BES events like this may not be able to continue as fund-raising gets more difficult year-on-year.

“It is great to see a local company get involved in this way to really help local businesses and the local community.”

And Coun Mary Stirzaker, Town councillor and member of the Festive Lights Committee, added: “This will be the best Christmas lights ever in the town. I was jumping up and down when I heard BES Utilities had come on board with such a generous donation. This will make a real difference for Fleetwood.”

Fleetwood’s Christmas lights will be switched on at a special event on Saturday November 21st. There will be a lantern parade involving hundreds of local schoolchildren as well as an illuminated tram-car. A raffle will be held to choose a local child to flick the switch to turn on the lights.