Spalding’s last flower parade goes out with a bang

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Organisers said Spalding’s last flower parade would go out with a bang and the crowds were not disappointed.

More than 40,000 people accepted the invitation to Let’s Celebrate and saw the 55th and final parade come to a stunning end in an explosion of colour.

Last Spalding flower parade 2013. The parade comes over High Bridge in town for the last time.

Last Spalding flower parade 2013. The parade comes over High Bridge in town for the last time. Queen

Spectators travelled from all over the country to be part of the emotional day and had begun gathering along the route as early as 9am.

For the Green’s from Mansfield Woodhouse it was their first parade. Dad Jason said: “We’ve been watching all about it on the television and with it being the last one we thought we’d come along. The atmosphere is fantastic.”

Thirty-five floats, marching bands and entertainers wound their way around the town. They were led by Flower Queen Inca Honnor and her attendants - Shelley Wilson, Rachel Perkins, Florence Butters and Heather Turner - in a stunning horse-drawn royal carriage float, that featured a flower laden golden crown.

Next was a float with Miss Jersey Battle of Flowers and the Free Press Prince and Princess Ellis Newton (10) and Millie Weller (9).

Former Flower Queens were also in the parade, reliving a day they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

Diane Virden was deputy Flower Queen in 2003. She said: “I’m thrilled to be here but a little sad, too, with it being the last one.”

A shortage of tulip heads meant the parade had an entirely new look as float decorators got crafty using daffodils and a range of fresh materials, including fabrics, ribbons, cork, foil and feathers.

Traditionalists could have been horrified by this but no-one seemed to mind. Joan Stanthorpe (94) saw the very first parade and used to help create the floats in the heading sheds.

She said: “There used to be a lot more flowers, but it has still been lovely.”

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