A council has dropped ‘Winterfest’ and brought back Christmas this year, following a barrage of complaints.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has decided to call its celebrations “Love Christmas” and will pay for Christmas trees in its six towns.
Last night saw the Christmas lights switched on in the city centre, after twelve school choirs performed during the day.
Abi Brown, the council’s Deputy Leader, said they have “very much listened” to what residents said about last year’s festivities, and have tried to put a “greater emphasis on what they do like”.
And Janet Bellis, Chairman of the Christmas Events Board for the Stoke-on-Trent suburb of Meir, said the celebrations should never have been called ‘Winterfest’.
It’s a victory for common senseSimon Calvert,The Christian Institute
“As a Christian country, we should include the word Christmas in any celebrations we have. Nobody is excluded”, she said.
The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert welcomed the council’s move to drop ‘Winterfest’.
“It’s a victory for common sense. The vast majority of people of all religions or none love Christmas. Councils that abolish it just make themselves look ridiculous”, he said.
In 2010, the former Communities Secretary Eric Pickles urged local authorities to celebrate Christmas in the traditional Christian way and stop worrying about the PC brigade.
He said: “We live in tough financial times, but there’s no need for town halls to play Scrooge.”
“Shoppers want to see Christmas lights, Christmas trees, carol services and nativity scenes”, he added.
Last year, a survey by The Christian Institute revealed that only 56 per cent of councils now send cards or other greetings which specifically mention Christmas.
Out of the 191 councils that supplied details of their official Christmas greetings, 27 per cent are not sending cards, reportedly due to budget cuts.
An additional 17 per cent are sending cards which do not even have a passing reference to Christmas.