Shopkeepers in Pinner are hoping miracles do happen at Christmas to save this year's yuletide festivities.

However, more cash is needed from the traders to stop the annual Pinner pantomime from being axed.

This year's celebrations were thrown into turmoil when it was revealed that local businesses, which usually fund the event, were too strapped for cash because of the credit crunch.

It also means the village, which is traditionally turned into a winter wonderland, could be left in darkness over the festive period.

The Observer has launched a campaign to stop the event from being cancelled and more than 250 people have joined a group on social networking site Facebook set up by the paper.

Supporters like Jeremy Garson, of Garson and Co solicitors, have been visiting businesses in the village to explain the importance of the evening. He said: "I know this is a very challenging business climate, particularly for smaller companies, but there is no way Pinner's business community can let the pantomime be cancelled. I shall be supporting the effort to make sure the event goes ahead."

Sandra Berridge, of The Village Gallery Gift Shop, has donated to the cause for many years. She said: "We always enter into the spirit of pantomime night.

"It provides an important opportunity for shops and services to showcase their businesses and it encourages people to shop locally, not just on Pantomime night but in the run-up to Christmas and beyond."

Janet Marland, of Gibbs Gillespie, hopes to work with children from nearby schools again. She said: "We have always contributed every year. Last year there were so many families with children and grandparents that made it such a strong family event.

"Gibbs Gillespie was delighted that the pupils of West Lodge School helped make our fantastic window display last year. Pinner simply wouldn't be the unique village it is without this fabulous community event.

"Economically things are going to get tougher and this event is a good way of marketing any business."

**To help save Pinner Pantomime and raise money for the village Christmas lights, call Sharon Pink on 020 8582 2513. Join the Observer's campaign to save Christmas - email  or join Facebook's Save Pinner's Christmas group.