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Carrying on the tradition . . . Teviot Valley's Christmas tree on the hill behind the township has a new set of bulbs, thanks to the Roxburgh Volunteer Fire Brigade.PHOTO: YVONNE O'HARA

The Roxburgh Volunteer Fire Brigade has almost raised enough money to replace the 224 coloured bulbs which form the Teviot Valley’s Christmas tree.

Chief fire officer David Welsh said the brigade decided to replace the lights forming the Christmas tree on the hill overlooking the township as the bulbs were old.

“The system we had there had short-circuited towards the end of last year and they [the bulbs] were not meant to be outdoors,” Mr Welsh said.

The brigade’s biggest concerns were the possibility of the bulbs starting a fire on the hill and people being electrocuted if they tampered with them.

The new LED plastic bulbs are IP (ingress protection) rated for outdoors.

The tree, which has been a feature of the Christmas season in the valley since 1962, will be on display from early December through to mid-January.

The brigade needed to replace 40 to 50 bulbs a year, depending on how windy it had been.

“With the new ones, we won’t have that problem as they are plastic and won’t break,” he said.

“The lights come on when the street lights do, at about 9.15pm at the moment.”

As part of the fundraiser, the brigade ran a street stall in Roxburgh on November 29, selling bulbs for $5 each and encouraging people to write names, messages or drawings on them, which were then added to the tree.

He said brigade members raised about $1800 in the four hours they were there.

“We also set up a Givealittle page and have raised nearly $700 so far.”

The brigade also held a raffle and Pinders Motors is still taking donations.

The volunteers spent several hours sorting out the strings of lights and hanging them from the 22m timber pole, which the brigade replaced about two years ago.

“We currently stand about $3700 but we would like to get close to $4000 to $4200, which would pay for the lights and part of the pole.”

Mr Welsh said he was also interested in hearing from anyone who would like to become a volunteer firefighter.

He can be contacted on 21446-801.

YVONNE O’HARA

@alliedpress.co.nz