THE annual Christmas Lights Festival in Beaminster will not go ahead in 2023. 

The festival, which kickstarts the town's festive celebrations, sees the switching on of the Christmas lights in what is a popular event in the Beaminster calendar. 

However, it has been revealed that there will be no such festival this year.

In a statement, Beaminster Town Council Chairman Craig Monks cited funding and some staff suffering verbal abuse last year, as to why the festival will not take place in 2023.

Mr Monks said: "Beaminster Town Council have made the decision not to host the Christmas Lights Festival in 2023. 

"The festival, during which the town’s Christmas lights are switched on, is a wonderful start to celebrations in the town, however during these difficult economic times, the council need to be mindful of how funding is utilised. 

"The expenditure in organising the 2022 festival was in the region of £11,000, that does not include the many hours of time given by volunteers and Council staff.

"Whilst the event has been popular in the past the Council’s priority has to be a safe event for all those who attend and we cannot continue to do this successfully without the support of Council staff and volunteers.

"Unfortunately some staff and volunteers had encountered instances of verbal abuse during the course of the 2022 festival and we were saddened to also learn of this taking place during a number of other community events that we have hosted in the past."

Despite there not being a festival this year there will still be a main Christmas tree, festive-themed lights in the square and smaller trees throughout the town.

Last year more than 20,000 lights lit up the streets of the west Dorset town. 

Santa himself appeared in the town centre for the big lights switch-on in early December which was complemented by a Christmas market and live music from Crewkerne Phoenix Brass Band and Prout Bridge Youth Band.