YULE better believe it – business leaders in Lyme Regis have picked the hottest and busiest week of summer to launch a Christmas awareness drive for traders.

As temperatures in Dorset soar and families rush to the beach, the Lyme Regis Business Group (LRBG) is urging traders to think of snow, jingle bells and Yuletide Lyme.

Last Christmas, the Yuletide Lyme campaign to paint shop windows with scenes from The Twelve Days of Christmas saw thousands of people flock to the town.

Now, the business group want to repeat the success and improve the ‘window wonderland’ campaign this year, with organisers claiming it’s never too early to plan for Christmas.

LRBG spokeswoman Bee Painton said: ‘We know it’s early, nobody is thinking of minced pies and mulled wine when all we want to do is have an ice cream and paddle in the sea, but Yuletide Lyme was a great success last year and now is the time to plan to make it a bigger hit this year.”

Mrs Painton, of Serendip bookshop in Broad Street, was one of 11 businesses who had a scene from the Christmas carol painted on her windows last year – and she says business was better for it.

She added: “The window wonderland campaign certainly drew a lot of interest from shoppers, the scenes caught their attention and consequently they came into the shop to look for presents.”

Organisers say other towns have now caught on to Lyme’s Yuletime idea and they are booking up window painters to rival the event.

So far, only five businesses in Lyme have signed up for a repeat of the windows campaign and LRGB members fear that unless more come forward soon, the town could lose out.

Mrs Painton added: “Some businesses were so thrilled with the impact of the windows that they signed up again in January – but we need at least 12 businesses to take part, preferably a lot more. The most expensive window last year was £150 but we have negotiated an ‘investment’ of £125 this year.

“We all appreciate that finding £125 in the current climate is not easy, but if traders start planning for the Christmas campaign now and put a little aside each week, it is affordable.

“There are 22 weeks left until Christmas, so if businesses put aside £5.68 each week from now they would be able to afford a window, and enjoy the profits at Yuletide of drawing huge crowds to look at their stores.”

Businesses interested in signing up for the window wonderland campaign can contact Bee at Serendip by calling 01297 442594 or emailing browse@ serendiplyme.co.uk The closing date for businesses to sign up is Monday, August 11.