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Spalding Flower Parade 2025 is cancelled says organiser Stephen Timewell blaming lack of support from authorities and red tape

There will be no Spalding Flower Parade in 2025 according to the organiser.

Just weeks after the last parade which brought tens of thousands of people into the town, organiser Stephen Timewell has this morning announced that there will be no parade for next year.

Reasons behind this difficult decision include the personal toll on himself, his family and team of volunteers, but he says that he has no help or funding support from the area’s authorities and has had red tape hurdles placed in his way due to health and safety.

Organiser Stephen Timewell was all smiles. Photo: Lorna O'Dwyer
Organiser Stephen Timewell was all smiles. Photo: Lorna O'Dwyer

In making the announcement this morning Mr Timewell said that there were plans for 2025 but there have been issues in finding a replacement venue for the Castle Sports Complex during the £26million revamp, and said there is no ‘green space’ left in Spalding.

He said in a social media post: “Everything good has to come to an end at some point and it's really sad that I have to report that there will be no Spalding Flower Parade 2025.

“And there are a lot of good reasons for that and to basically end the speculation. I'd like to explain the reasons for that.

Spalding Flower Queen Becs Roberts and Deputy Demi Fontaine Gilchrist wave at the crowds as they pass through the town centre. Photo: Chris Lowndes
Spalding Flower Queen Becs Roberts and Deputy Demi Fontaine Gilchrist wave at the crowds as they pass through the town centre. Photo: Chris Lowndes

“The first thing is, you can imagine the the toll that it's had on me, my family, my friends and all the volunteers that work with me it's been a massive task. It's a 24/7 job. And there were plans for next year. But as I say things change.

“And basically from day one, we've had no support whatsoever from any authority. I won't name any names or anything like that, but we've not had any funding we've had to raise every penny ourselves.

“For two years now we've had nothing but grief. Basically, the organising an event of this size is obviously a mammoth task, it's an ongoing thing.

“And I totally understand that how things need to be done and they need to be done properly. But when you are told to put a barrier up to a certain height, you do that and then the following day, you're told to put it up even higher. And then round the corner there are 10 more hurdles, and there comes a point where it's just not viable anymore.

“The escalating cost of trying to keep up with regulations. A classic example is the medical bill for this year's event was £17,000. You know, that's an awful lot of money.

“But there are certain persons within authority that have done nothing but give me grief and it's deliberate grief for two years now.

“I've asked local authorities for help and sponsorship, and we've had nothing, nothing whatsoever. So there comes a point where you say like enough is enough.

“There's obviously people that don't want this to work.

“The second reason is really important. We have the Castle Sports Centre which we've used for the last few years for the flat rate. And we were told last year when we booked the site for the 2024 that the site would not be available in 2025 because of the redevelopment that's supposedly going on there and being planned for the future.

“So we were totally expecting that. I did ask the council or I asked somebody in the council just only a week ago, is there any possibility that we could have it for next year and it was a point blank no.

“I totally understand that. You know, there are more important things in Spalding than than an annual flower parade. So that venue is out of the question, which leaves us with a problem of finding another venue and we've done a bit of research and we've found a site that could possibly work.

“We've contacted the owners of the site, but the constraints on it are just too great. There is just too much it's the financial burden on it.

“It's just not suitable for a parade. So that would really restrict us. So basically in Spalding now, there are no green areas left that are suitable for an event like this.

“So I think to be perfectly honest, it's the end of an era which is really quite sad.”

He also said that he has taken the decision to step back to spend time caring for his elderly mother following the death of his father.

Mr Timewell said he was honoured with the respect given for bring back the parade, two years ago.

He added: “I hope everyone's had a great time. And I hope I've done something good for Spalding in the long term. But as I say, everything good has to come to an end.

“We've still got a couple of fundraising events that will go ahead. Our volunteers quite happy to do those. And any income that we have raised from them or any surplus that we have will be dealt with by the committee and will be donated to local charities.

“So each each volunteer on the committee will be able to choose a charity and they will get a lump sum. So everything will go back into the community.

“Finally a massive big thank you to all my supporters and volunteers. Over the last few years, you'd be absolutely amazing and I hope you've enjoyed what we've done and maybe one day you never know, things change.”

Disappointment in the platinum jubilee celebrations in 2022 prompted Mr Timewell to step up and start to organise the parade for the following year.

Speaking to LincsOnline last week, South Holland District Council leader Nick Worth said he would be happy to work alongside organisers of the parade to find alternative venues if the Castle Sports Complex was unavailable.

The rebooted parade has set off from, and concluded at, the leisure complex over the last two years.

“We’re certainly willing to look,” Coun Woth said.

“It’s difficult to know where to go. One of the obvious sites to me would be Spalding Grammar School, where the rugby club used to be, but actually would it be difficult getting floats out there and onto the road?

“I did say they could have a look at Monkshouse (playing field area). I’m not sure whether there’d be enough room there or not, but it’s a big playing field out there and potentially you could get out on to Bourne Road.

“I’m more than happy to help them. We haven’t got a lot of space from our ownership, but if we have I’m happy to work with them and help push it forward.

“It was quite a show this year and we need things like that.”

While some have questioned whether SHDC could help with the organisation of the event, Coun Worth believes the show worked well in its current guise.

“I know Steve’s always said he doesn’t want the council to get involved and I understand that,” he added.

“The issue is if the council were running it it would cost twice as much. We’d be paying for all the officers to do the work.

“You’re doubling the amount straight away. The longer we can keep it as a community event the better.

“It’s been fantastic seeing the volunteers involved in that.”

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