MP vows to save flower parade

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MP JOHN Hayes has vowed not to let Spalding’s Flower Parade wither and die.

He says he will use all the flower power he mustered four years ago when the event last ran into trouble to make sure the thousands of people who visit it can carry on enjoying it for years to come.

Mr Hayes said: “I saved it last time and I will again. This year’s was one of the best for ages.

“Not only does it bring thousands of people to the area, it shows what we are and who we are – and plays an important role in maintaining our sense of pride.

”It is a celebration of food and flowers – and it has been for the last 54 years.

“With the addition of the churches’ festival, it brings communities together and attracts people to church who would not normally go.”

Budget restrictions have been blamed for threatening the future of the parade after next year.

South Holland District Council, which contributed £40,000 a year towards costs for the last three years, has indicated it will not do so after 2013.

However county councillor Eddy Poll has said he is “90 per cent sure” it will go ahead.

Nick Worth, portfolio holder for community development, has also stressed the district council is supportive of the event.

He said: “There is a ground swell of support, so unless we get hammered by the Government we are supportive of it.”

The last time its future was thrown into doubt was in 2008, when the Flower Parade and Carnival Trust announced it was axing the traditional event, blaming spiralling costs due to health and safety laws and declining interest.

However, the event was saved with Lincolnshire County Council agreeing to underwrite the costs because it was estimated to bring in more than £1.25million to the local economy.

Kenyon Communications were brought in to attract more sponsors and make the event more self-sustaining.

They will be involved in discussions with the two councils to assess the situation about next year’s event.

In the meantime, Mr Hayes says he intends to write to the county council, South Holland District Council and local businesses as a start to his latest campaign.

He said: “I also intend to write to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt to see what the Government can do.

“I will do my utmost to maintain this parade for all the people to whom it gives such joy.”