A small group of Coulsdon business people, backed by the dynamic help of the chair of a local residents’ association, have defied their Tory councillors by having a whip-round and organising Christmas lights for the town in barely 48 hours.
Conservative councillor Mario “The Grinch” Creatura had lectured residents and traders at the weekend over how they had done too little, too late, to save the popular annual Coulsdon Yulefest, with its stalls, carol-singing and lights. According to Creatura’s patronising 2,000-word homily, it was all too bad, and in these covid-cautious times and despite his best efforts, he could not even manage to deliver some twinkling Crimble lights to brighten the place up a bit.
But within a couple of days of Creatura’s doom-laden message, Sally and Steve Jones, a couple who run separate beauty and taxi businesses, had managed to get cash pledges from other firms in Coulsdon Town, enough to pay for lights which they also managed to source without any assistance from their grumpy, it-can’t-be-done councillors.
“They have done a fantastic job in a very short space of time,” according to one impressed Coulsdon resident.
Having defied Grinch Creatura’s predictions by successfully getting funding for lights and finding a supplier, the traders and residents then sensed that their councillor may have been being less than helpful again, as requests for contact details for the council contractors who would have to oversee the installation of the lights did not get the prompt response that they might have expected.
Step up Charlie King, the long-standing chair of the East Coulsdon Residents’ Association, who bypassed the Grinch’s blockage and in just a few hours managed to do what Creatura said was impossible, getting the council contractors onside.
There would, after all, be lights throughout Coulsdon this Christmas.
This morning, Coulsdon’s answer to The Grinch issued another of his self-obsessed, self-justifying missives to the people he is supposed to represent, trying to dig himself out of a hole of his own making, while also trying to claim credit for something he said could not be done.
“The official lighting provider to the council had said no lights would be available,” Creatura whined, “but it has since come to light (pardon the pun!)…” Hilarious! Not! “…that there is a stock of basic Christmas lights that they can rent to us.”
At the weekend, Tory Creatura also managed to berate local businesses for failing to put their hands into their pockets. By this morning, he had changed his tune entirely: “A local businessman has agreed to fund this but, we understand, will seek contributions from other Coulsdon businesses.”
Coulsdon residents saw through Grinch Creatura’s latest self-justifying messaging.
“What utter rubbish,” wrote Eleanor Richardson, a lawyer who lives in Coulsdon.
“You did your best to obstruct Coulsdon businesses from taking this up and running with it when you and Yulefest washed your hands of the problem.”
To date, it is understood that Councillor Creatura has yet to donate as much as a single penny towards the Coulsdon Christmas lights fund.
Creatura’s inner Grinch kept trying to burst out, though. His message this morning continued, “Understandably we won’t see the same quality of lights as in previous years,” he grumbled in a glass-half-full sort of way.
Richardson contests that claim, too.
“The lights we are getting are beautiful and better quality than the ones Yulefest have previously provided, albeit not as many as normal,” she told the councillor.
“This is a very good attempt to dig yourself out of a hole, but your attitude to Coulsdon businesses will not be forgotten.”
Creatura had started this chain of events in his customary manner, by trying to blame the Labour-run council for his own failure to organise the community he is supposed to represent.
The episode has seen Creatura confronted with a reality that what he has tried for eight years as a councillor, and failed, to deliver – a Coulsdon Business Partnership – had effectively been done by Sally and Steve Jones, with the goodwill of their fellow Coulsdon traders, in less than two days.
“The business community has proved you wrong, Mario!” Richardson tweeted at the Tory councillor today.
“Your perception was misplaced and as you actively tried to stop the lights from happening your face-saving email today has not improved matters: an apology to the business community of Coulsdon would be more suitable!”
Inside Croydon understands that among the businesses that have contributed towards the costs of Coulsdon’s Christmas lights are:
- Infohealth chemist
- Express Copy
- Pandora News
- The Light Bar
- Whitchers Financial
- Pristine Moments oven cleaning
- Admiral Minicabs
- Frames snooker club
- Puzzle Kitchens
- Precious Moments beauty salon, and
- Elearic property legal services
Apologies if we have omitted any other donors from this list. We are optimistic that Coulsdon’s very own Grinch may yet give us further opportunities to express the community’s gratitude to you for your generosity of spirit in the coming weeks.
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