What can you do to help? That is the challenge set by People’s Parade organisers answering a rallying call after fears next year’s new event for Spalding would not happen.
As promised, MP John Hayes joined a packed room in the Broad Street Business Centre on Thursday night to “jivvy up” supporters - and vowed to go knocking on the doors of the town’s big companies to raise £50,000 to keep a parade a firm fixture on the May Day calender for the next five years.
He said: “The parade is part of what we are and, yes, it may be time for it to evolve. But I am passionate that it should not be lost - so much so that I will pledge to go out myself and raise £50,000 to make sure it happens for the next five years.”
Parade meetings during the summer had been poorly attended, with the last one attended by just one person. But last week’s front page article in the Free Press got the message home that if plans did not march ahead soon there would be no new event.
Passions ran high for the first few minutes while some supporters demanded to be told why nothing seemed to have been decided.
But gradually the work of the few dedicated supporters that had battled on from the beginning unfolded and the basis of the new format was revealed.
The parade will be a Notting Hill-style walking event on Saturday. May 3- over a shorter distance than the Flower Parade but finishing in town.
Community groups, dance schools, zumba classes and schools will be invited to dress up and take part - with the addition of giant inflatables, marching bands, music, vintage cars, cycles and tractors.
A single stunning float would carry the Spalding Flower Queen as a tribute to the parade’s roots.
Entertainment would follow in the town centre, with the day’s events running in conjunction with a static floral display at Springfields and the annual flower festival run by the churches.
To encourage school’s to take part, Mr Hayes’ said he would speak to Prime Minister David Cameron about organising a trip to 10 Downing Street as a prize for the best entry by students.
Details of a fundraiser to be held in the summer were also revealed, with sponsors already lining up to support a beer and food festival in the grounds of Spalding Rugby Club.
Dave Bright, one of the organisers, said: “We now need to ask residents ‘what can do to help?’. They need to know South Holland is alive and singing.”
The next meeting is at the Broad Street Business Centre on Thursday at 6.30pm.