People power can make Spalding Flower Parade plans a success.
The man behind ambitious plans to revive Spalding Flower Parade says it ‘definitely will’ go ahead and called on the public to rally round to help.
Campaigner Stephen Timewell has organised a public meeting at Spalding Constitutional Club to discuss the parade on Thursday - but says that people power is what is needed to make it a success.
Next year will mark a decade since the parade came to an end and support is needed to make West Pinchbeck man Mr Timewell’s ‘dream event’ a reality.
From a team of more than 100 volunteers and a growing committee, to the promise of real tulip heads for decorating floats, plans have already begun to take shape.
South Holland District Council leader Coun Gary Porter said he had been impressed with the work done by Mr Timewell.
He added: “At the moment he’s making massive headway.
“He’s been pulling strings everywhere to make it happen.”
Coun Porter said he’d welcome the return of the event, albeit believing it needs a makeover to keep it in fitting with the times.
He said “It can’t be a 50 year old Flower Parade, it’s got to be a brand new thing for the future.
“Those last couple of years we had to pay to grow tulips in fields - whatever it is it’s got to be something different.”
He added: “I don’t know whether it needs to be a flower parade or a carnival, but it’s very unusual for a place the size of Spalding not to have something.
A large public meeting is set to take place this week as plans for a new Spalding Flower Parade ramp up.
Mr Timewell, who launched his campaign to revive the iconic event earlier this month, and his team will be hosting the meeting on Thursday where it is hoped members of the public will join in.
He said: “I’m expecting a big turnout at the meeting as a lot of people turned up last week - a week early! This event is all about people power.
“With that in mind, I want to take on as many suggestions and ideas as I can.
“I’m currently struggling under the strain of the jobs of ten people so at the meeting we will be setting up a committee and delegating roles while also gathering contacts.”
There were fears that the parade, which was originally famous for its use of real locally grown tulips, would only feature silk or artificial flowers. However, Mr Timewell has assured supporters that fresh tulips have now been secured.
“I have about 150 volunteers on board now, from marshals to flower pickers. We absolutely will be using real flowers and have enough heads for next year which is great. I want to try and avoid artificial flowers so that’s really a ‘plan B’ option if we have to use it.
“I know people have thousands of questions so they will have the chance to ask them at the meeting and we will answer as many as possible.”
The plans have already gained interest not just across the district and county, but nationally and across the globe. “I can’t wait for the meeting now - it’s gone so well and far better than I ever expected,” Mr Timewell added.
“It seems the whole of Spalding is already gearing up for it. I’ve had messages from as far as Australia, from people wanting to come back and witness this event. This is definitely going to happen, there’s no doubt about it.”
Mr Timewell’s £50,000 fundraiser is also up and running now with more than £1,000 donated so far.
Although both the district and county council have not offered funding towards the parade, which is set to take on a 2.94 miles long route, councillors have offered their support and guidance.
Mr Timewell has held talks with South Holland District Council leader Gary Porter - with the council helping to identify some of the organisational hurdles to be overcome.
Coun Porter said he is in support of the parade, adding: “I don’t want the council running it because it’s too much of a thing for the council to do. We would put too many processes in place.
“I have asked Gary Taylor to lead on it to try to help remove any of the unnecessary barriers that may get accidentally thrown in its way.”
He questioned how much public donations can be relied on during the current economic situation but said the council could offer some financial support - although not the full cost of an event that previously cost £200,000-plus to put on.
He added: “We’ve all got a ward budget and we should be able to find some cash for it as an authority - but we can’t find a couple of hundred thousand.”
Lincolnshire County Councillor Elizabeth Sneath, who represents Spalding Elloe Division, has also been keeping an eye on the plans and says the public’s reaction has been ‘heartening’.
She said: “As this year’s jubilee celebrations have shown, Lincolnshire residents are fantastic at coming together to organise community events, and are also very generous in volunteering their time for good causes.”
The public meeting will take place at Spalding’s Constitutional Club on Broad Street on Thursday at 7pm.