Skegness celebrations dampened by rain

Mascots assembeld in the Hildreds Centre to spread Jubilee cheer among the gathered crowds.
Mascots assembeld in the Hildreds Centre to spread Jubilee cheer among the gathered crowds.

THE Queen may have ruled over the Commonwealth for 60 successful years, but when it comes to the British weather, she’s as powerless as you or I.

Just as Her Majesty’s flotilla procession was hindered by the rain on Sunday, so too did Skegness’s main celebration suffer from the poor weather.

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Event organisers hoped the day would create a lasting legacy by bringing the community together with a diverse programme of musical entertainment, street parties and market stalls, but although many of these festivities did proceed, the rain necessitated a number of last minute adjustments and cancellations.

Mascots from local tourist attractions and businesses including the Standard’s very own Salty the Seal assembled as planned for a group photo and to spread cheer outside the Hildreds Centre, however the subsequent procession along Lumley Road towards Skegness Railway Station had to be cancelled.

Several musical performances scheduled to take place on the specially pedestrianised Lumley Road also had to relocate to St Matthew’s Church, where town centre manager Stefan Krause said several hundred revellers gathered in appreciation.

Aside from the weather, numerous criticisms have been made about the lack of bunting.

Skegness resident Jane Brain said: “I know a lot of people worked hard to arrange what was there and the rain did not help, but would have thought our town manager could have made the street look like a celebration. “There was no bunting across the roads or down the High street and the clock tower, which is our focal point, had nothing on it at all.”

Mr Krause, who was involved in the event’s organisation, has since explained that health and safety regulations, which sapped 60 per cent of the total budget, made it very difficult to arrange bunting.

He also said that many buildings were too small to hang bunting from without blocking emergency service vehicles from passing and other buildings lacked the required hooks to attach items to.

“We would have had to jump through hoops to make it happen,” he said.

Despite the complaints Mr Krause still felt the event was a success.

He said: “If we had better weather it would have been an outstanding event and despite the rain people have enjoyed themselves and that’s the British way.”

He also felt encouraged by the pedestrianisation of Lumley Road, which has been a long term ambition of his, and hopes it could pave the way for future traffic closures.

“The foundations were laid this weekend to hopefully create a fantastic legacy,” he added.

Charities that hosted market stalls have also praised the event.

Alive and Kicking’s Tina Mellors said: “We raised quite a lot of money despite the damp and everyone seemed rather jolly.”

Others involved in the event have also supported Mr Krause, who they felt should have been better assisted the town council and other organisations.

Visit the Seaside’s Martin Brown, who organised the mascot parade, said: “In fairness to him, he seems to have had all the responsibility heaped on him - where were all the other organisations?”

The Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Anderson has also received criticism from certain quarters who felt he should have attended more events.

However Coun Anderson has defended his position, saying he did attend a great many events, and those he did not, he had not been invited to.

He has also praised the organisers behind many of the events he did have the chance to visit.

“When the people of SKegness get together they show a fantastic community spirit - it beggars belief,” he said.

Although Sunday’s celebrations met a mixed response, the following day’s festivities at Church Farm Village were more warmly welcomed.

Coun George Saxon attended the beacon lighting there and felt it was a great occasion.

“The atmosphere was lovely, it just shows that deep down we are a country of royalists,” he said.

And Coun Byford was also impressed with the spectacle.

“It was amazing - everyone was singing the national anthem, waving flags and enjoying themselves,”