‘Support parade now or it won’t happen’

Time is running out for the organisers of the event to replace Spalding Flower parade.
Time is running out for the organisers of the event to replace Spalding Flower parade.
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A crisis meeting over Spalding’s new People’s Parade has been called – because the people who pledged to organise it have so far failed to come up with a viable plan.

Ideas for the event to replace the much-loved annual Spalding Flower Parade that attracted thousands of people to the town were expected to be on the table by the beginning of last month.

But a meeting of organisers was only attended by six people and an email was sent out last week to bring them together on Thursday to get plans moving again.

MP John Hayes, who chaired a public meeting after the final flower parade in May, is also hoping to rush back from the Tory Party conference in Manchester to help “jivvy them up”.

Passions were running high in June when 22 enthusiasts eager to be part of a new organising committee put forward their ideas so the legacy left by the flower parade did not wither and die.

The meeting was facilitated by Spalding and District Chamber of Commerce, whose president, Phil Scarlett, said at the time: “It was a very positive meeting with lots of ideas .”

However, this week his mood was not so positive. Mr Scarlett said: “It’s vital for people to come to Thursday’s meeting so we can move things forward or a People’s Parade next May is not going to happen.”

After the meeting in June, the organising committee was split into two groups - one focusing on a fundraiser and the other the parade itself.

Each were sent away to come up with ideas by September, so plans could move forward and applications for additional fundraising applied for.

Meetings held during the summer were hit by poor attendance, resulting in organisers not being ready for the deadline.

Mr Scarlett said: “We’re now down to the people who ‘will do’ rather than those who would ‘like to’.

“But we have to get back on track. Some have suggested we should miss a year, but it’s important to keep the momentum going because unless we do it could impact on fundraising.

“We have to show the event will be sustainable and generate cash because funding is not a bottomless pit and we can’t keep going back to backers.

“That’s what happened with the flower parade and why it is time to try something new.”

There is some good news, though - the group enlisted with the task of organising a fundraiser has come up with a plan.

What exactly it is has been kept under wraps, but Mr Scarlett said: “You won’t be surprised when you know what it is.

“The other group has lots of ideas but now needs to firm them up. It’s not just about deciding what will be in the parade but also the route has to be planned.

“Hopefully, after Thursday they will be able to do this.”

Mr Hayes said he was sorry to hear talks were in crisis. He said: “I was delighted in June to see so many people sharing my passion for the area and the benefit the parade brings in shaping who we are.

“Although it has to evolve, it would be awful if it were lost.

“I would ask as many people as possible to come along to the meeting to maintain the momentum, so the legacy of the flower parade does not wither and I hope to go along and jivvy them up.”

l Thursday’s meeting is being held in the Broad Street Business Centre in Spalding at 6.30pm.