Granville Easter would have been a prime candidate for the popular BBC quiz show What’s My Line? although being merry and elfish may have been a bit of a give-away.
The father-of-two is finance officer at a company which designs and installs Christmas illuminations across the three counties and beyond.
The team have been working night and day, in all weathers, to ensure our streets glow with festive cheer.
Lamps & Tubes Illuminations Ltd is a family business started in Chesham 25 years ago by Michael Taylor and now run by his son Matthew.
It has a staff of 10 out of season (February to September) but this trebles in the busy time between September and mid February.
They provide the festoons, lamp post decorations and Christmas tree dressing that enhance town centres in Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Biggleswade, among many others. They’re also responsible for dressing the tree at Luton&Dunstable Hospital.
The company hires cherry pickers to install the miles and miles of dazzling LED lights in major centres and the work is often carried out between 9pm and 3am.
Granville said: “If there’s bad snow and you can’t get out, you can’t recover that time. The hours are unsocial, it’s often bitterly cold and there’s a lot of health and safety involved.”
He added: “Almost 90 per cent of what we do is for the public sector and most town councils and parish councils hire what’s needed for a three to five year period. The illuminations last pretty well unless there’s really harsh weather.
“We like to buy local, or at least within the EU. The festoons and decorations are made in Greece and Bulgaria then shipped to the UK.”
The cost of the infrastructure – wall plates, steel cable wires, electrical fittings and time clocks - has to be calculated in addition to the industrial-strength LED lights which cover the complete spectrum although ice white and warm white are very popular at the moment..
Granville said: “Lots of people install lights and decorations but we are able to ensure quality as we have control from beginning to end.“
Many towns switch on their lights after Remembrance Day and keep them running until the New Year.
A recent innovation has been for the company’s designers to incorporate local children’s drawings into stunning light shows.
Granville smiled: “Matt Taylor doesn’t sleep at this time of year – and all he dreams about is lighting.”
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