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Lights campaign means Christmas is close

The past few weeks may have brought some unseasonably warm weather, but a couple of upcoming events are sure to put everyone into the Christmas spirit.

On Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. the Paradise and District Lions Club will hold their fourth annual tree of light ceremony in St. Clements next to the library on Lobsinger Line, while the Wellesley and District Lions Club will hold their 21st annual tree of light ceremony the following week on Dec. 9 in Wellesley Village.

The event in Wellesley will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a live nativity scene (repeated at 7:20 p.m.) near the pond, followed by a parade at 6:45 p.m. from Wellesley Public School. The lighting celebration will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the park.

The bulbs for both events can be purchased ahead of time and go to very worthy causes. In Wellesley, bulbs cost $5 and are sold at various businesses throughout the village. Donations can be made up to Dec. 31, and all the money raised will go directly to Meals on Wheels and the Community Action Program for Children.

Bulbs for the St. Clements tree are available at Foodland in St. Clements or at Exotic Wings and Pet Things and are available for various prices; $5 for a single bulb; $50 for a string; or $100 for a star bulb. They can be purchased in memory of a loved one lost in the past year, or to honour someone still working in the community – the names will be read aloud prior to the lighting of the tree.

In its first year, the event raised $2,000 but that has since risen to $5,000 last year, all of which goes to help the local community. Last year they donated money to Waterloo Region hospitals, to help local residents who were in need, and to Kate’s Kause in Elmira.

“It’s really a nice thing in that it really draws the community together, because of the fact that we do the memorials,” said chair Annette Kuhn, who started the event back in 2008 to honour the memory of her sister-in-law Nancy Brenner who died in 2007.

“For some people, especially if they’ve lost a loved one during the year, Christmas is always a difficult time for them and we’re experiencing that people who have lost loved ones during the year usually will buy a strand or a bulb for the tree.”

There were concerns that the clips which attached the bulbs to the tree were going to kill it, so Lions Club members John Pfaffinger, Joe Brick, Tim Cronin and Bruce Witt have been hard at work creating a 40-foot galvanized steel pole from which to hang the lights from instead.

The “tree” will have more than 3,500 bulbs – compared to about 950 on the old 40-foot tree – and during the rest of the year it will be used as a flag pole.

Bulbs for both tree of light ceremonies are now on sale. For more information on the St. Clements tree of light contact Annette Kuhn (519) 699-5917 or for more information on the Wellesley tree of light contact Marilyn Bisch, (519)656-2336.

Wellesley citizen of the year Ron Futher will light the tree in Wellesley and Albert Erb will be the parade marshal, while MP Harold Albrecht will be on hand to light the tree in St. Clements.

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