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HSE responds to media coverage of SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas lights ban

"'Volunteer dressed as SpongeBob is banned from Christmas lights switch on after health and safety fears over 'wide' costume" - Daily Mail, 27 November 2012
"'Christmas lights ban for kid's character SpongeBob SquarePants" - Daily Star, 28 November 2012
"'SpongeBob SquarePants in elf 'n safety Christmas lights ban" - The Sun, 28 November 2012
Response date:
28 November 2012

Dear Editor

I feel for the children who were in tears at the switch on of the Wolverhampton Christmas lights, and can understand their parents' anger. Childhood memories of Christmas are supposed to be about happiness and excitement, not full of disappointment.

The truth is that health and safety did not prevent SpongeBob Squarepants taking to the stage to switch the lights on. With a bit of common sense and proper forward planning it would have been perfectly possible to get SpongeBob up on the stage, bulky costume or not.

If I could have a Christmas wish for myself it would be that we hear a lot less of these ridiculous excuses in future. That would be a gift we can all enjoy.

Yours faithfully

Judith Hackitt
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2012-11-28