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Momentum gathers as Spalding Flower Parade meeting is packed out

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A packed public meeting discussed how to turn the ‘dream’ of a Spalding Flower Parade into a reality.

Spalding’s Constitutional Club was so busy that many people were left standing outside in the garden hoping to hear campaigner Stephen Timewell and his committee’s plans for next year.

Mr Timewell said he had been concerned there may be a level of apathy towards the Spalding Flower Parade a decade after it ended, but there was plenty of passion in the room on Thursday night.

Stephen Timewell talks at the Spalding Flower Parade meeting (57564118)
Stephen Timewell talks at the Spalding Flower Parade meeting (57564118)

Opening the meeting, Mr Timewell said: “Trust me, this will happen. I’ve started something so I better finish it! There’s a generation in Spalding who have never even seen a flower parade, plus the foreign nationals who have no idea what we can put on if we try.

“This is the chance to turn a dream into a reality.”

Mr Timewell updated the crowd on how his plans are progressing so far. He has spoken to both the district and county councils, has applied for road closures and has secured security teams and traffic management worth thousands.

There were delighted gasps from the gathered crowd when they were told that the original Flower Queen throne is still intact and can be used next year.

In a touching moment, Mr Timewell also told the meeting he had spoken to former Flower Queen Sue Tooley, now in her 80s, as she wanted to offer help.

It is hoped that next year’s parade will include a twist on the traditional Queen role, providing a Spalding Ambassador instead, along with the inclusion of the young royalty from both Pinchbeck and Moulton Chapel carnivals.

Spalding Flower Parade meeting (57564106)
Spalding Flower Parade meeting (57564106)

Discussion also the moved to the possibility of involving former floats and Roger Tuby providing a small funfair on the day, which will be held on May 6 to ‘maximise the hit for Spalding’.

Looking outside of South Holland, it’s hoped that, subject to the relevant permissions, coaches and caravans full of visitors will have designated parking areas - plus a park and ride service for others.

While he says ‘nothing has been rubber stamped yet’, Mr Timewell believes everyone will work with him and not against him. “The community spirit is there - we saw it during the jubilee - you don’t have to dig very hard to find it,” he said.

“I’m not a financial expert - and the £50,000 estimate of funding might not be enough - but we will worry about that closer to the time. We need to keep the momentum going over the next 11 months. We can do this and we don’t need external help. This is a community thing so let’s show we can do it.

“The fact so many people have turned out tonight is another example of that.

“I want people to stand back on May 7 next year and say ‘Wow! That was a show.’”

Crowd outside the Spalding Flower Parade meeting (57564103)
Crowd outside the Spalding Flower Parade meeting (57564103)

Mr Timewell confirmed that he has written to Jennifer Saunders, who was born in Sleaford, to ask if she would open the parade. But also cheekily invited Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he ‘likes a good party’.

He’s looking to get schools involved too, while hoping to gather volunteers who will pick tulips grown in Terrington St Clements - which have been donated to him - and then pin them to floats.

As the meeting drew to a close, Mr Timewell asked for people to come forward if they were able to take on roles such as logistics manager, parade manager, school co-ordinator and members of a fundraising team.

One member of the audience thanked Timewell for what he has started to rapturous applause, with another adding: “This is about Spalding and a sense of belonging.”

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