The countdown to parade day

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PREPARATIONS for Spalding’s 53rd flower parade are heading into their final stages as the big day looms.

Already the tulip heads which will decorate the 13 floats have been picked and are safely in cold storage awaiting their time in the spotlight next Saturday.

One bouquet of the beautiful blooms will not be destined for a float, however, as they will be leaving Spalding next Wednesday to be delivered to royal bride-to-be Kate Middleton on Thursday, the day before her wedding to Prince William.

The rest will be pinned to the float frames, already covered in foam in readiness, after they have been moved from their storage sheds in Holbeach to Spalding tonight.

But volunteers are still needed to pin the 14 different coloured heads to the frames next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, to create the finished masterpieces on the theme of British icons, including Peter Pan, Sir Isaac Newton and a Day at the Seaside.

Yesterday a static display of silk flower heads in the shape of the crown jewels arrived at Springfields to announce the start of the tulip parade festivities and today there will be a coffee morning, the last in a series of events held throughout the preparations, to give members of the public the chance to meet the team behind the event and ask questions.

Organisers will be at Bookmark in The Crescent from 10am when they are hoping a few more people will sign up to help with the tulip heading as well as marshals and pennant bearers on the day.

The pennant bearers will walk in front of the individual floats carrying a banner around the three and a half mile course, so only those aged over 16 who are reasonably fit and strong will be suitable.

A spokesman said: “All the preparations are going well, but there is still time for anyone else who wants to to get involved.

“It promises to be a visual extravaganza and we challenge visitors to the parade to try and spot the robin hidden on all of the floats.”

Anyone who is unable to attend the coffee morning but is willing to help can leave their comments on the flower parade Facebook page (spaldingflowerparade2011) or on Twitter (