Summary:

Paragraphs nine and ten read:  "He also refused to refund the 45-year-old on the basis that she wrote to the association in the January saying the lights were a gift, and that she had offered to help with the Christmas lights the following year."

However, the retired teacher said that at the time of writing the letter she was not of sound mind because she had decided to come off her depression medication as a New Year resolution – a matter the court accepted.



http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Christmas-lights-blow-for-former.5689153.jp

Wednesday, 30th September 2009



Christmas lights blow for former councillor

Published Date:
29 September 2009

By Robert Sutcliffe A FORMER councillor got carried away in the excitement of Christmas, a judge ruled following a three-year battle over who should pay for a town's Christmas lights and decorations.

Kath Smith could not resist spending the money in 2006 to make sure the festive event, which saw ex-Rolling Stone Bill Wyman switch on the lights for Holmfirth, was a success.

The former parish councillor for Holme Valley wanted to spruce up the town with river lights and fairy lights in shop windows and even hired a snow machine to add to the seasonal atmosphere.

The costs also included labour charges to put the lights up, posters to publicise the switch-on and light refreshment for the attending VIPs, including Wyman.

And although the display looked impressive, the festivities left a bitter taste in the mouths of both mother-of-two Mrs Smith and the group that was supposed to fund them, Holme Valley Business Association.

The dispute ended up at Huddersfield County Court where Judge Janet Marson tried to bring the matter to an end.

Mrs Smith told the court that Greg Christofi, the president of the association when the lights were purchased, had told her it was all right to buy them.

But the current president, Rob Dixon, who represented himself in court, maintained that Mrs Smith should not have bought the decorations in November 2006 without proper authority and without negotiating the budget at a meeting.

He also refused to refund the 45-year-old on the basis that she wrote to the association in the January saying the lights were a gift, and that she had offered to help with the Christmas lights the following year.

However, the retired teacher said that at the time of writing the letter she was not of sound mind because she had decided to come off her depression medication as a New Year resolution – a matter the court accepted.

After a further altercation with Mr Dixon, in which she demanded her money back, she decided there was no alternative but to take the matter to court.

Yesterday Mrs Smith was awarded just over half the money of her original claim, £3,335.30 plus £210 court costs, as Judge Marson ruled she did not have valid receipts or authorisation for all the items she had bought.

It was decided that Mrs Smith did not have authority to buy the internal fairy lights for the shops, the snow machine, labour, posters, nibbles and machinery and was therefore denied the £1,243.47 cost for those items.

Judge Marson said: "Mrs Smith exceeded the authority the association had given her. She was carried away with her desire to produce an impressive light display for Holmfirth." On one occasion she paid a workman in cash because he got fed up of waiting around for payment.

Speaking after the case, Mrs Smith said she was considering appealing for the rest of the money.

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