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Photos above courtesy of Andy Irvine, others by James Middleton
Thank you,Whaley Bridge! As firework displays were cancelled all over Derbyshire, families turned up in droves for Saturday’s lantern and fireworks night at the Bowling Club. Organisers of this new-era event breathed a sigh of relief. Sheltered in the lee of Memorial Park, the Bowling Club missed the worst of the high winds. Some rain fell during the evening, but nothing like the 5 o’ clock deluge that had hit Whaley Bridge – and nothing as bad as the forecasts indicated.
Organisers decided in the afternoon that the parade of children with hundreds of lanterns they – or their mums or dads – had made should be cancelled. It was due to start at Taxal and Fernilee primary school, wend its way down Macclesfield Road, Goyt Road, through the lower levels of Memorial Park and on to the Bowling Club.
Paul the park ranger waited at the school entrance to tell anyone who hadn’t heard that the parade was cancelled. Francesca Stobbs, aged five, turned up with her dad Jamie and the lantern she and mum Jenny had made. She burst into tears when she heard the parade was off, but was soon all smiles when told the fireworks and the rest of the party night were still on.
Organisers are working to re-arrange a lantern parade nearer Christmas (details to be announced).
Hundreds of local people defied the threatened rain – which hardly came – to enjoy the build-up to the fireworks. High Peak Samba, all lit-up, performed noisily in a marquee. There were stalls, doing a roaring business with hundreds of light-sticks sold. Water Weekend caterers came with their famous Whaleyburgers, including a new vegetarian version.
The Bowling Club and its bars became a welcome haven from the chill, and small children with their light sticks had a great time dancing to pop music indoors.
Lor Cole, chair of the organising committee, explained the delay in lighting the fireworks: “Because of the weather forecasts, people arrived late and there was a jam at the gate. A delay was the only thing we could do. I estimate we had 800 people present, a little down on last year because of the weather. Thanks to all who came. We will be back next year! In the meantime, we are looking urgently at a suitable time to have the lantern procession, and let Whaley Bridge see the results of the children’s – and parents’ – hard work.”
Till next year!