A popular north-east reindeer parade will go ahead for what could be the final time as fears persist that its organiser may be forced to pull the plug because of business rates increases.
Speaking after last year’s parade through Banff, Spotty Bag Shop owner Des Cheyne said he may struggle to stage the event again as it comes at a cost of £6,000.
The businessman blamed a 115% increase in business rates, which he claims has resulted in him paying out an extra £40,000 each year.
The festive tradition involves six reindeer pulling Santa through the town to cheers from thousands of onlookers.
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And Mr Cheyne has now revealed that he was swayed to continue the event after a public outcry followed the threat of its cancellation.
This year’s parade will take place on Sunday, December 16, from noon to 4pm.
However, Mr Cheyne warned that the heightened rates he was paying out continued to place a “huge burden” on his finances and warned that this could be the final instalment.
He said: “It took a while to make the decision due to the huge rates increase we are having to incur, which has been really challenging.
“These increases are the biggest obstacle we’ve had to overcome.
“The main reason for going ahead with the parade this year was the public response.
“We decided to try to bring people to the town for another year.”
He added: “We have really pulled out all of the stops this year to continue with the event and we’ll review it again next year.
“Each year we take time over the decision as it’s a big cost, but I feel the show must go on.
“I wouldn’t like to speculate whether this will be the last year but, as we enter a new year, there are undoubtedly uncertain times ahead.”
The Banff and Macduff Marie Curie branch collected more than £2,000 at the parade last year.
This year’s donations will be going towards the Giving Tree, which brings Christmas cheer to disadvantaged and vulnerable children in the area by ensuring they receive toys.
Mr Cheyne added: “I’m proud we’re renowned for putting back into the community, and helping raise money for worthwhile causes.”