BUNTING OUT AS CHURCHES LEAD THE WAY

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A PLEA to local churches to use the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to bring communities together looks like saving the day in Spalding.

In spite of bunting flying across the town and Union Flags displayed from some of the shops, there is no official town event planned for the weekend.

Residents who come to the town centre expecting to soak up the atmosphere will have to wait until Monday evening, when a beacon will be lit on top of the South Holland Centre to coincide with the lighting of the national beacon by the Queen.

Phil Scarlett, vice-chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, said it would have been hard for anyone to organise a community event in a town the size of Spalding.

Mr Scarlett said the jubilee was the talk of the Spalding Club on Tuesday night. He said: “People are really looking forward to finding out what is going on in Spalding.

“The Chamber is leaving the bunting up from the flower parade until the Olympic Torch Relay so the town looks good. It’s great to see retailers have made the effort by putting on displays and we are hoping they will be busy.”

Resident Nicola Henry said she was pleased she was going to visit family in Bedfordshire. She said: “I think it’s really sad the town isn’t having a big celebration. It has a pumpkin parade, which is really an American festival, but this is a national event. It should be celebrated.”

Pete Williams, owner of the Punchbowl pub, said: “Councils are struggling. It’s hard for them to justify spending money on a party. I’m having a two-day music festival and will hopefully see a return, but a council wouldn’t.”

St Mary and St Nicolas Church is inviting the whole town to join its members for their celebrations, which include a tea party and special service on Sunday, bells ringing from church towers along the River Welland and fireworks after sunset on Monday, and a Handel to Lloyd-Webber concert on Tuesday afternoon.

Simon Dean, of Churches Together, said: “We have been encouraging churches to engage with the jubilee to build relationships with people and bring communities together. It is great to see the Spalding area has taken this on board.”

Mike Chesher, associate vicar of St Mary and St Nicolas Church, said: “We hope the town will join us, share meals and enjoy the celebrations.”

Police said they were aware of only one street party in the town – in Green Lane – which has a large migrant population.

Sgt Stuart Hurst said: “We have officers working longer shifts over the weekend, but we are hoping the community events planned will just be a fantastic opportunity for families to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“Anyone who does try to spoil things for other people will be dealt with though.”

nFor full details of events taking place in the villages, and private events in town, see our 60 Glorious Years wraparound and Time Out listings. Cowbit is welcoming anyone from Spalding to join them for their celebrations on Saturday, which start at 4pm in the playing field and include a barbecue, beer tent, the Knights of Skirbeck re-enactment group, old-fashioned sports day with cash prizes, live music and a firework display.