Hartlepool Borough Council did not pay a penny towards the visit of TV personality Joey Essex to turn on Hartlepool’s Christmas lights despite claims the authority paid £7,000 of taxpayers’ cash.
The council says Joey’s participation in the event earlier this month did not cost it anything as the cost of his appearance was met by the sponsors Niramax.
It had been suggested on social media that the council had forked out £7,000 for Joey, known for appearing on The Only Way is Essex and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
The council says the event attracted hundreds of people and put Hartlepool on the regional map.
A council spokesman said: “Joey Essex’s participation in Hartlepool’s Christmas Light Switch-on, which drew many hundreds of people to the town and once again put Hartlepool on the regional map, did not cost the council a penny.
“The cost, which was nowhere near the £7,000 which has been suggested, was met by Niramax Total Waste Solutions as part of its sponsorship of the event.
Cost was met by Niramax Total Waste Solutions as part of its sponsorship of the eventCouncil spokesman
“As part of its events sponsorship, Niramax also paid for the cost of the Hartlepool Fireworks and Music Spectacular in November.”
Several comments questioning Joey’s fee were left on the Mail’s website.
One reader, pools85 said: “The £7,000 could have been better spent improving the pathetic light display along York Road.”
And diS me asked: “I wonder how much WE paid Joey for this little excursion and task?”
Others suggested giving the switch on role to a deserving member of the community next year instead of a TV personality.
Hartlepool council leader, Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, previously said: “We wanted Joey because he is someone who captures people’s attention. Comments on social media say they can’t believe we managed to secure a star as big as Joey Essex.”
The switch-on event, called The Only Way is Christmas, also featured performances from local youngsters including those from performing arts charity Red Dreams.