Ullapool group celebrate £37,000 funding award for Christmas light display

Ullapool’s Christmas light display attracted between 600 and 700 people last year.

An Ullapool project looking to expand the village’s Christmas light display has been awarded more than £37,000 from the People’s Projects fund.

The Light Up Ullapool Project was one of three projects in the north of Scotland region to win an award from the fund.

The Ullapool Fire and Light Fund will receive a total of £37,820 from the People’s Projects – which is a partnership between the National Lottery Community Fund, The National Lottery, ITV and STV.

The festive project will look to expand the group’s Christmas creel ‘tree’ display to create a winter lights display throughout the village including schools and nursing homes and deliver a winter market involving local producers and performers which will help strengthen community ties and resilience.

The Ullapool Fire and Light Fund was one of three winners from the north Scotland region and will receive an award of £37,820.

Speaking to the Free Press after the announcement, Ullapool Fire and Light Fund Committee member, Gordon Wink said: “We knew it was being announced, so a few of us from the committee went to a local hotel and watched it on the big screen there. It was quite exciting.

Describing the undertaking involved in organising the display, Gordon said: “It’s a huge effort on a lot of people’s behalf – what we have done in the past is begged, borrowed and asked for equipment – such as the creels which for the last few years have been kindly donated by fishermen. But that might not always be the case.

“We’ll be having a meeting in the next few weeks and just see what string are attached – such as do we have to spend it all in one year. It would be nice to have some money in reserve as these lights getting a fair battering in the winter time and these commercial ones are not cheap.”

Last year around 600 to 700 people attended the switch-on of the Christmas lights in Ullapool which includes a Christmas ‘tree’ made up of creels.

“It is just the way that the ferry leaves the pier, it does a nice little pirouette in the loch, turns on its lights and blasts its horn three times and that’s the sign for us to turn the lights to be turned on,” said Mr Wink.

“It’s quite impressive really for such a small village and I believe the Highland Council have cancelled the Christmas lights in the likes of Dingwall, who are not getting anything at all now.”

Commenting on the committee’s plans for the display, he added: “We want to expand it slightly and take in the care homes – because they were asking. We even have the primary school do a few things for us, so it is good to see the kids getting involved.

“Hopefully we’ll get more people interested. The response to the creel tree was brilliant – that is set in stone every year and is now the centrepiece.”

By Adam Gordon