SUMMER may only just have ended but, in Coulsdon, the countdown to Christmas is already under way.
The Coulsdon West Residents' Association and local businesses are organising a bumper Yuletide festival for the town – but still need more help to make it all happen.
Coulsdon Yulefest will feature a Santa's Grotto and 15-foot Christmas tree – marking the first time the town has had a festive fir "in decades".
Christmas lights, an ice rink, carol singing and a Christmas market are among the events in the pipeline.
The town has suffered a lack of Yuletide celebrations in the last few years, in part due to the council's town centre manager being made redundant in 2011.
Chris Thairs, from CWRA, said organisers of Coulsdon Yulefest hope to boost footfall for traders as well as community spirit. He said: "This is the time of year when traders should be getting the most from their businesses but there is nothing there to help them.
"So the idea is if you could put in some sort of festival and they can do the rest. It is also to get the community together at what should be such a cheerful time of year.
"We have not had a Christmas tree I think in decades – probably since the 80s."
He added he hoped this year would mark a new beginning for Christmas celebrations in the town.
"We want to make an impact so that people remember it for the next year and coming years," he said.
"It is not going to be a one-off."
Organisers hope to hold the market in Chipstead Valley Road on December 6 to 7 and the ice rink a week later.
A number of local businesses are helping out. IHS, publisher of military magazine Jane's Defence Weekly, headquartered in the town, is sponsoring the tree. Barratt, the developers of Cane Hill, has contributed £2000 towards Christmas lights and Art Rebellion, the art cafe in Brighton Road, is hosting Santa's Grotto.
Other businesses involved so far are Purnell and Powell, Frames, Streets Ahead and Chandlers Home Design. But more sponsors and helpers are needed, with sponsorship packages available.
Peter Appleford, also of the CWRA, said he was looking forward to the event: "It will be nice to bring people together and it will be good for the traders."
A spokesman for Barratt said: "We often support local events and are delighted to be donating £2,000 to Coulsdon Yulefest.
"Barratt is entirely committed to Croydon and the local area and have been for a number of years."
For more information visit yulefest.co.uk