Traders urged to help final Spalding Flower Parade memorable

Businesses in Spalding are being given a trumpet call to pull together so memories of next year’s swansong flower festival will never wither and die.

That was the message from Coun Eddy Poll, who represents Spalding East and Moulton on Lincolnshire County Council, when he addressed members of the town forum at its recent meeting.

In spite of the forum announcing an underspend of the special expenses budget of £27,000, Coun Poll said he was not there cap in hand.

He said: “I’ve been a supporter of the flower parade all the time I’ve been here and I never thought I’d be the one to say there’s no way forward in its current form.

“The county council has agreed to fund it for one further year so it can go out with a bang.”

Deciding what comes after the traditional pageant would not be that easy, according to Coun Poll, as it would be difficult to come up with another event with the same attraction and tourist pull.

He said: “The flower festival has brought people from all over the world.

“But when it’s a case of watching floats covered in dead tulips against the other attractions available these days you have got a problem.

“You’ll never get back to the glory days.

“Tulips are not grown here any more, they have to be shipped in from Norfolk.

“The event has lost its relevance – we just need local businesses to get together to make this last one a bit more special.

“This isn’t a plea for cash – just to tell you how it is.

“You have to decide whether you want a local or national event.”

Chairman of Spalding Town Forum, Coun George Aley said: “You could see the flower festival diminishing over the past 12 years.

“Even if you piled in a load of money it doesn’t mean a lot of people will come.”

South Holland district councillor Howard Johnson added: “We have a river – why not have a river, food and beer festival?”

Coun Aley requested ideas from members which will be on the table for discussion at the next forum meeting.

He said: “It would be nice to think there is life after this.”