Plans fall apart for May Day parade in town centre

Marching orders - last year's parade
Marching orders - last year's parade
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Spalding town centre will not have an event to replace its famous May Day flower parade.

Ten months after talks about a new People’s Parade began, and initial outcries from the public not to let the legacy of an event that attracted millions of people over the years die, plans have finally fallen apart.

The committee of passionate but mainly inexperienced volunteers has been struggling to get the go-ahead for the event since they were wished success by previous organisers of the flower parade last year.

After battling against changing the date to avoid comparisons and concerns about anti-social behaviour from town centre drinkers and normal market day trading being affected, failure in the early stages to agree on what the event would be has left them with too many official hoops to jump through.

Paul Winn, who has been acting chairman, said: “We’ve been holding off making an announcement because we still hope we will be able to organise something for later on.

“But we have no money and so there will be no parade on May Day weekend.”

MP John Hayes attempted to “jivvy up” support in October last year by pledging to raise £50,000 to keep the parade afloat, but so far there has been no confirmation of funds.

There was another blow last month when Spalding Flower Parade and Carnival Trust’s remaining funds were not transferred to the new committee, in spite of trustees being “very positive about transfer of responsibility to the new group”.

But the group has only just been able to form an official committee, draw up a constitution and open a bank account, which has held up funding negotiations – and it still needs health and safety clearance for the route.

Phil Scarlett, president of Spalding Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said: “I am disappointed to learn that a parade will not take place, but it was a big ask to get everything pulled together in such a short timescale.

“Hopefully, work that has been done will not be wasted and the new group can consider the benefit of having a clean break from the flower parade, which would have drawn comparisons no matter what they had arranged. If the Chamber has a Spalding town centre manager in place by then, he/she will be able to help.”