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Spalding’s Ayscoughfee Gardens hosted fire displays and stunning illuminations





One of the area’s best loved landmarks came alive with music and light during the first of two special evening events to celebrate our rich history.

Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding was filled with stunning fire displays and enchanting illuminations during the first Light Night, which was held yesterday (Friday, March 22) with a second taking place later today (Saturday).

People of all ages, including a Great Dane on a lead, were seen excited filing into through the museum’s iron gates to enjoy a magical evening – and helped to create a wonderful buzz around the town.

George Elliott, Molly Sharman, Roseann Mackay and young Wilfred Elliott admire one of the displays at Spalding's Ayscoughfee Gardens
George Elliott, Molly Sharman, Roseann Mackay and young Wilfred Elliott admire one of the displays at Spalding's Ayscoughfee Gardens

Interest in Light Night, which was made possible thanks to South and East Lincolnshire Council’s Partnership’s Arts Council NPO project, was so great that 1,600 free tickets were reserved within days of last night’s event being announced earlier this week. Tonight’s performance is already ‘sold out’ with 2,000 tickets reserved.

Museum manager Julia Knight was thrilled with the response to the event.

She said: “It is lovely to see people from a wide range of ages enjoying the gardens. We’ve had younger and older couples along with a few generations of a family. There’s a real buzz.

Some of the performers who delighted visitors to Light Night at Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding
Some of the performers who delighted visitors to Light Night at Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding

“We love to hold events like this and it is thanks to the Arts Council NPO that we are able to do it.

“This is the perfect venue as everyone knows what it is like during the day but it is completely different coming at night. We are hoping to develop the outdoor events because it is a completely different feeling.”

Visitors started off their journey on the South Lawn where an ambient fire garden complete with music and stunning displays.

A fire garden was set up on the South Lawn at Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding
A fire garden was set up on the South Lawn at Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding

While music pumped out over the scene, Lauren Williams of Firefly performed an impressive display in a large frame using chains to symbolise Chain Bridge and hoops to reflect the tree ring testing which was held in the gardens in 2003.

And the atmosphere continued with fire performers Tom Cat Flowz (Andy Biddulph)and Guilding Sparks Circus (Bekki Henderson).

While the performances were a delight and exciting to watch they do represent something a little darker from the town’s past. A former resident of the hall, Ann Askew, daughter of William Ayscough, was tortured at the Tower of London after being named a heretic and was later burnt at the stake in 1546.

Fire performer Tom Cat Flowz put on an amazing display on the South Lawn at Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding
Fire performer Tom Cat Flowz put on an amazing display on the South Lawn at Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding

While the ‘whip of fire’ was a stunning sight, it also reflected the one of the last public floggings in Spalding which took place in 1836. The man had committed a serious offence – but had the reputation of being a wizard.

Magical light installations were also set up across the gardens including the stunning avenue of trees.

Spalding’s War Memorial was also included within the event with pictures of people connected with this creation – including Barbara McLaren – with light fountations set up on the canal.

Some of the performers who delighted visitors to Light Night at Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding
Some of the performers who delighted visitors to Light Night at Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding
The magnolia tree outside Spalding's Ayscoughfee Hall
The magnolia tree outside Spalding's Ayscoughfee Hall
Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding is the perfect venue for this kind of event
Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding is the perfect venue for this kind of event
Performers helped to create a big buzz during Light Night at Spalding's Ayscoughfee Gardens
Performers helped to create a big buzz during Light Night at Spalding's Ayscoughfee Gardens
The South Lawn at Spalding's Ayscoughfee Gardens was transformed into a fire garden complete with amazing displays
The South Lawn at Spalding's Ayscoughfee Gardens was transformed into a fire garden complete with amazing displays

Shadow puppets and stilt magicians were all part of the fun.

Would you like to see more outdoor events at Ayscoughfee? Post a comment below...



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