Spalding’s big weekend sees new Tulip Queen crowned and tills ringing

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The importance of Spalding’s new Tulip Queen in her role as ambassador for South Holland has been stressed by MP John Hayes.

Mr Hayes, who was one of the judges for the Tulip Radio Tulip Queen contest held ahead of Spalding lights switch-on and school choir competition, said: “It has always been my heartfelt ambition to maintain the role of Tulip Queen.

The crowning of the Tulip Queen Amy Cook with contestants and judges. SG281114-127TW

The crowning of the Tulip Queen Amy Cook with contestants and judges. SG281114-127TW

“Throughout their history, successive Tulip Queens have been superb ambassadors for the area and I am confident that the new Tulip Queen and her deputy will promote our local community with style and substance.”

Tulip Queen Amy Cook, her deputy Kimberley Fisher and the two other contestants have been invited for afternoon tea at the House of Commons, to congratulate them on entering the competition.

Jan Whitbourn, of Tulip Radio, who organised the evening, said: “Amy will be a great Tulip Queen and will fall well into the role of ambassador for South Holland.

“I know that she already has a couple of dates in her work calendar and I know that she wants to be a good ambassador.

Winner of the school choir competition St John Baptist C Of E Primary School. SG281114-342TW

Winner of the school choir competition St John Baptist C Of E Primary School. SG281114-342TW

“It’s great that we have Kimberley as deputy too, as they will be able to keep each other company and one can stand in for the other if they are needed in two places at once. I’m really pleased.”

Friday’s crowning ceremony was the beginning of the town’s big festive weekend. During the evening St John Baptist C Of E Primary School won the school choir competition.

Shops stayed open late on Friday and others that normally close on Sunday opened their doors to support events across the town.

A Winter Fair took place inside Ayscoughfee Hall on Saturday and Sunday and several market traders returned to the town on the Sunday for the Christmas Market.

Gavin Allmand, chairman of Spalding Town Retailers’ Association and also director of Hills Department Store, said: “There was a fantastic atmosphere in town.

“I’m still talking to retailers but the overall feeling is there was more people in the town than we would normally expect at this stage of the run-up to Christmas.

“I spoke to some of the craft stall traders who do not normally come to Spalding and they said they would definitely come back.

”We hope residents will now put it in their diary that the last weekend in November is the Spalding Christmas Market.”

Dennis Hannant, town centre manager, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed performing and acting as a judge for the schools’ choir competition on Friday and was greatly impressed with all the choirs that took part.

“It was fantastic to meet and talk with the four brave, young ladies who took part in the Tulip Queen competition and I know John Hayes and his team of judges had an extremely difficult task deciding on a winner, so much so, that they decided to select a Deputy Tulip Queen as well.

“I think Amy Cook will be an excellent ambassador for the town and will be ably supported by her deputy Kimberly Fisher and I look forward to meeting them again at the various events planned for next year.

“Jan Whitbourn and the team from Tulip Radio are to be congratulated on yet another brilliant Christmas Lights event; as without their sterling efforts and support it just would not have happened.

“The Christmas Market on Sunday was also a big success, as the warm weather undoubtedly encouraged people to venture into town, to enjoy what was for most an enjoyable shopping experience, especially as many of the town shops and food outlets were also open.

“Well done to the Spalding Retailers’ Association team who worked hard to bring the various stall holders into the town; the aspiration next year is to encourage more stall holders to come, so that the Spalding Christmas Market can not only compete with, but be better than other markets in the area.”