WHILE most towns are gathering everyone around a tree to switch on its Christmas lights, one is doing things a bit differently.
Emsworth residents are giving back to the fishermen who for generations have cemented the town’s reputation for seafood with the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree.
Set on Emsworth Quay, it is made of handmade lobster pots, and will be lit up by Father Christmas tomorrow at 6.15pm.
After the festive season, the pots are donated to local seafood merchants in a bid to keep the industry alive.
Alistair Gibson, of Emsworth Business Association, says that the tree became ‘a talking point’ of the town when it debuted last year.
He said: ‘Fishing is part of our heritage, but there’s not much of a fishing industry left in Emsworth.
‘If we can contribute something to make it sustainable again then that’s great.’
People can ‘sponsor’ the pots, which were sourced by the Emsworth Business Association, for a minimum donation of £45. Everyone who buys a pot will be rewarded with lobster or other seafood such as dressed crab, or freshly-caught whole fish.
Alistair said: ‘Lobster pots are expensive because they are handmade, so the money that people put into buying one of the pots will help us cover the cost of them.
‘The “charity” of the tree is supporting our fishing industry which is going through a bit of a hard time.’
Residents will get involved in some festive fundraising around the lobster pot tree on December 17.
At 11.30am, after the Emsworth Christmas Market in St Peter’s Square, people can sing carols and warm themselves with locally-made lobster bisque. The proceeds of the event will be donated to the RNLI.
‘We want to try and maintain our links with the past that gave Emsworth its sense of place,’ Alistair said.