Mansfield: Duo behind Christmas lights display receive awards from the Mayor

Bill Taylor and Executive Mayor, Kate Allsop
Bill Taylor and Executive Mayor, Kate Allsop

The duo who devise and organise Mansfield’s Christmas lights display and a club that helped champion swimmer Rebecca Adlington with financial support in the early part of her career, have been commended by Executive Mayor of Mansfield District Council.

Bill Taylor and Andy Powers each received a Mayor’s Commendation Award certificate at the start of the full council meeting on Wednesday, January 20.

Bill has been involved in the innovation and development of Mansfield’s Christmas street decorations since 1999.

Together with the council’s Electrical Supervisor, Andy Powers, the pair spend months planning the town’s seasonal display by attending Christmas lights exhibitions and working out which parts of the display should be replaced and improved each year.

Bill also helps to secure funding for the lights from various sources, including Mansfield BID, as well as private and business sponsors.

He said: “Things have changed a lot over the 16 years I have been doing this. The lights all used to be tungsten when we began but now 99 per cent of them are LED which are brighter, as well as being more energy efficient.

“What Andy and I do is work out how to get the best display within our budget and we have never gone over budget yet.”

Andy added: “All year, Bill and I are looking at which areas we can improve. We also replace various sections and we seemed to have got a good response this year.”

Also to receive an award was Mansfield’s Armchair Club and as Bill is also one of the 16 members of that club, he received two Mayor’s Awards on the night.

The club, which has been running since 1982, helps to raise money to support sporting activities in Mansfield, but, as its name suggests, is run by a group of local businessmen and sports fans who now prefer to enjoy most of their sport from the comfort of a chair.

Each member has become involved through their own personal desire to contribute to the local community, to see sport flourish in the Mansfield area and to encourage and enable people of all ages and ability to participate and to enjoy life through sport.

Over 33 years the club has organised various events and raised more than £200,000 for sports groups and sports men and women in the district.

One of its members is Steve Adlington, father of the Olympic swimming champion, Rebecca Adlington.

Steve was invited to join after the club had helped Rebecca with financial support in the early days of her meteoric swimming career and before she was funded by British Swimming.

Steve said: “The financial help the Armchair Club gave Rebecca was really helpful at that point in her career and we felt very indebted to them.

“So when I was invited to join the club, I jumped at the chance. I just feel like you are giving something back to the community.”

Executive Mayor of Mansfield District Council, Kate Allsop, who commended the efforts of all the award recipients at the meeting, said: “All these people are very worthy award winners because they all contribute so much for the good of Mansfield and long may that continue.

“The Christmas lights were just stunning this time and we had a lot of positive comments from the public about them. I am sure this year’s will even better.”