The annual event had been cancelled through apathy, but this week two traders volunteered to organise it.

Richard Cussons and Barbara Phibbs have agreed to organise programmes, electrical equipment, musical entertainment and liaise with local organisations.

"It's crazy to have lights and not to have a switch-on," said Mr Cussons yesterday (Tuesday).

"It's an event that's enjoyed by so many people."

Last year's switch-on attracted almost 500 people.

"It's a happy event for the town and a great opportunity to bring people here," said Mr Cussons, who runs Tiffany's in King Street. "Without it people would think what miserable shopkeepers who can't be bothered."

"It takes a lot of organisation, but I thought it was ridiculous when I heard it wasn't going ahead."

Knutsford faced a dark Christmas a few months ago when Chamber of Trade boss Gordon Haynes warned that too few traders were prepared to pay the annual Christmas light bill of £6,000.

But Knutsford Town Council and Macclesfield Borough Council stepped in with donations totalling £4, 250. "We are grateful to them," said Mr Cussons. "We now hope that traders will contribute to the lighting fund."

Mr Cussons and Clr Phibbs are now looking for stewards for the December 4 switch-on.

If you want to help call 653292.

Converted for the new archive on 13 March 2001. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.