Cafe owners defend town’s controversial Christmas tree

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CAFE owners have defended their Christmas tree after its decorations attracted criticism.

Volunteers, including Derek and Tracy Powell, put up the tree in Park Parade in Leigh Park on Friday.

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But after pictures of their creation were shared over the weekend, they were targeted by people online who labelled it ‘awful’ and ‘embarrassing’.

Now Derek and Tracy, co-owners of Time Out in Park Parade, are calling on volunteers to join them on Sunday and redo the decorations.

Derek, 52, said: ‘On Friday we had a small turnout come out to decorate the tree despite the bad weather.

‘We did the very best we could.

‘The initial reaction was wonderful, we had a lot of people come in their own time under extreme weather conditions.

‘We had lots of little children, lots of elderly people and help from the locals which was wonderful to see.’

‘Then Sunday happened. We saw a post online and I was devastated.

‘There was a lot of negativity. People didn’t realise this was not done by the council, these were decorations that people had donated.

‘It is very well criticising without knowing what we’ve done.’

Since photos were shared online more decorations have been donated, with one anonymous Facebook user donating £50 to pay for tea and coffee for volunteers.

Derek said: ‘This is the first time we have done something like this. The tree was a donation from another shop.

‘Hopefully we will get a few offers from people to come and help us on Sunday.

‘It’s about the spirit of Christmas.’

The decorating will begin at 11am on Sunday at Park Parade, outside the Time Out cafe.

Anyone who wants to donate decorations can do so at the cafe.