After what was undoubtedly one of the most spectacular and colourful Flower Parades in recent years, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all the volunteer drivers and marshals who gave their time so generously.
The “ops” team, as they are known, have worked together for many years and it is their combined experience that helps make the whole event run smoothly.
I think it is rarely appreciated just how much planning goes into getting everything in the right place at the right time, from moving floats from their building sheds at Holbeach to the decorating sheds on three sites around Spalding, to the arrival at Springfields and the parade itself on Saturday. The self-propelled floats are mounted on very old tractors, and the skills of the “ops” team are called upon to tweak and cajole the machines to perform without a hitch during their three-hour journey over the route.
Their efforts paid off, and they got round with no incidents.
Mother Nature, however, did her best to scupper the parade this year by holding back Spring until there was little chance of having any tulips. Then, after more than two weeks without rain she dealt another blow by sending us a deluge at midday which sent everyone scurrying for cover for almost an hour.
But then, almost as though she thought we had been punished enough, out came the sun and we had a glorious afternoon which highlighted the innovative decoration of the floats.
My congratulations to all the staff at Kenyon Communications who produced a parade to be proud of.
Indeed, Spalding should be proud of the parade, it has been part of our identity for 55 years.
Times change and this was the last, but let us remember why it is the last. It’s not because we don’t grow tulips any more, it’s not because we only get 40,000 people watching, it’s not because we are fed up with it. It is purely because the money cannot be found to stage it anymore.
Sponsorship money in the amounts coming forward these days doesn’t come anywhere near to what is needed. So if you can’t afford it, you can’t have it.
Thank you, Lincolnshire County Council and South Holland District Council for your support, but I know your coffers are not bottomless and you have to prioritise.
So Spalding, you have in all probability, seen your last Flower Parade. The backroom boys (and girls) did a fantastic job yet again, so a personal thank you to you all.
The parade is gone, but will NEVER be forgotten by those involved.
Operations team leader