Putting on a party

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
May 2012

Communities up and down the country are adding the finishing touches to their Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and for the residents of the traditional Lincolnshire market town of Spilsby, it promises to be a spectacular weekend of fun and entertainment.
The town’s Jubilee Committee has worked hard behind the scenes to come up with a programme of events aimed at involving people of all ages and uniting residents, to make it a special day in its history.

The event kicks off at 10am on Saturday, 2nd June and continues on Monday, 4th June.

There will be a parade of vintage vehicles, decorated floats and foot walkers going through the market place – the aptly named Queen Street and High Street – twice. Youngsters can look forward to a tea party, rides and a day full of street entertainment on the first day.

It will also have its own Queen crowned and there will also be a Prince and Princess selected for the day as well as a poetry competition, stalls and a barbecue organised by the Scouts.

Spilsby schoolchildren will receive a souvenir commemorative mug presented by the Town Council and there will also be teas and the chance to take a trip down memory lane for the adults.

The fun will continue on Bank Holiday Monday with a family fun day of games and sporting activities on the playing field, with medals for the participants and the opportunity for a family picnic.

Clerk to the Town Council, Sarah Marshall said: “There will be events and entertainment going on all day from a stage in the market place on the Saturday and the emphasis is very much on it being a free-ish family day.

“There won’t be a lot of commercial stalls. We want it to be a fun day and Monday will be a day for parents and children to enjoy themselves.”

The Diamond Jubilee celebrations are not the only thing Spilsby residents have to look forward to this year.

East Lindsey District Council is to improve the market in a bid to increase footfall into the town and it is introducing faster broadband services to support existing businesses and encourage new ones to the Spilsby area.

It has announced a series of changes to the way its markets in Spilsby, Horncastle, Louth and Mablethorpe are run, in the hope that they will become more popular with local people and visitors, while providing better value for money to shoppers and the taxpayer.

Currently, market regulations in East Lindsey prevent competitiveness between traders by restricting each market to only one or two types of each trader. Now the council plans to relax this restriction in the hope that shoppers to the markets will have greater choice as to which stalls they buy from and new opportunities for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs will be created.

The appearance of the market is also set to improve and be more consistent with traders being provided with a standard design canopy to use. It will also be supported by increased promotion both in East Lindsey and further afield to draw in new visitors and on occasions there will also be street entertainment.

As part of the improvement plan the council also wants to encourage traders to attend on a regular basis.

Although there will be a change in stall prices, the first for six years, there will be an incentive for traders to stand regularly with a twenty per cent discount.

East Lindsey District Council’s communications and consultation team leader, James Gilbert said: “We are trying to encourage more traders to come to our towns and promote the market as a good place for start-up businesses.

“There is a lot of work going on around Spilsby at the moment.”

The re-launch of the market will coincide with another big project being organised in the East Lindsey district aimed at encouraging more visitors to its towns.

Between 23rd June and 1st July 2012 the district will be transformed into an international arts venue with spectacular visual art, street theatre, world-class performers and dance acts.

The SO Festival, organised in conjunction with the Arts Council England, is one of the East Midlands’ largest and most diverse outdoor cultural events.

Full of colour, dance, arts and music, it has strong links with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Cultural Olympiad, having been staged on Open Weekend in both 2010 and 2011.

“It is the first time it is going to be district wide, so Spilsby will have lots of street theatre to look forward to. We are going to re-launch the market at the same time and the changes to the market will be a huge benefit to the town.”

The free entertainment will take place on Monday, 25th June and will feature stilt-walking bobbies, a life-sized camel and giant kangaroos, as well as comedy and live music.

Other reasons for the town to celebrate this year include its King Edward VI Humanities College preparing to become an academy in September and the fact that Spilsby is enjoying its second year of being twinned with Bassum in Lower Saxony, in Germany.

Ms Marshall said: “New town signs are going up because we are now twinned with Bassum as well as Fresnay-sur-Sarthe in France. And we have new flower beds on the A16.

“Our theatre has now been open a year and is going from strength to strength with a successful pantomime held in February and lots of events going on.”

The Spilsby area is also going to benefit from better and faster internet connection after the council earmarked £1m of capital money towards a countywide project that will improve broadband provision for homes and businesses in the East Lindsey area.

In January the Government announced it would support a plan by Lincolnshire County Council to bring next generation broadband to the county, which would see ninety per cent of properties receiving superfast broadband connection speeds of at least 24Mb/second by 2015, with the rest guaranteed at least 2Mb/per second.

As well as having the largest percentage of homes and businesses without access to fixed line broadband internet in Lincolnshire, East Lindsey also experiences some of the slowest broadband speeds in the county. The district council and county council are keen to improve this situation in order to support and create businesses as well as the wider community.

Mr Gilbert said this means it will be better for the private user as well as business and the council hopes that faster broadband provision will encourage more businesses to the area.

Aviation Heritage Centre
The Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirkby airfield, just fifteen minutes away from Spilsby, has events planned to mark the occasion as well as pay tribute to the RAF based there during the Second World War.

The centre, which is a family run museum, was set up more than twenty years ago and is now widely seen as a living memorial to the 55,500 men of Bomber Command who lost their lives during WW2.

It holds one of the rarest aircraft, an Avro Lancaster Bomber, in its collection along with many wartime vehicles including a Ford WOT1 Crew Bus, the only one of its kind known in existence.

Located at the old wartime airfield of RAF East Kirkby, the centre retains the original 1940s control tower and its hangar is built on the original wartime hangar base.

It was set up by two farming brothers, Fred and Harold Panton, as a memorial to Bomber Command and primarily as a tribute to their eldest brother, Christopher Whitton Panton, who was shot down and killed on a bombing raid over Nuremberg in March 1944.

There will be aircraft flying displays and Avro Lancaster taxy runs on the first Bank Holiday weekend and over the Jubilee weekend, the centre is hosting its annual ’40s dance held under the wings of the Avro Lancaster NX611 on 2nd June and an RAF World War Two celebration day which will feature Lancaster taxy runs, flying displays and re-enactors giving the centre that RAF feel.

There will be many re-enactors filling the site, from ’40s dancing to a billet hut display to a fully operational control tower ops room both on the Saturday and Monday, 4th June.

Vintage has the advantage
The idea behind Retrograde came to owners Alison and Graeme Stanton as they were renovating their nineteenth-century blacksmith’s cottage near Ulceby. With a host of original features, but also a lack of modern comforts, the house needed to be sympathetically brought into the present.

The couple already owned furniture, modern classics and much-loved pieces. They did not wish to buy a complete ‘look’ from one of the mass produced retailers. Frustrated by the lack of choice locally, they browsed online, visited markets and fairs and rummaged in house clearance and antique shops across the country. The result is a home which functions well and carries the individual touches making it unique to the way they live.

Retrograde taps into this desire to find a practical piece of furniture, update a room or replace a damaged table without casting out the entire contents of the room.

Many of the items available have already given a lifetime’s service and may be a little tired or dated, but still sturdy. These are given a new life with a coat of paint or a sand and polish. With a background in the renovation and decoration of homes for discerning London clients, Graeme has experience in spotting exactly what is needed to complete a room. He keeps a wide range of items in stock and regularly sets out on trips to source direct for clients. He has a network of suppliers where he can be sure to find the perfect traditional, vintage or contemporary solution.

Through her work in restaurant design, Alison keeps an eye on the latest trends and innovative interior products so the couple can keep the shop fresh and updated.

Using local craftsmen and often from his own workshop, Graeme repairs, adapts and refurbishes tables, cabinets and chairs to complement the existing pieces in a home. He can often suggest a practical use for an unusual item and uses contemporary and vintage accessories to complete the look. This tailored service can be as in-depth as you need, or simply be a case of supply and deliver.

Retrograde carries stock of dining and occasional chairs and tables, storage cabinets, shelving units, lighting and a range of soft furnishings and gifts. Graeme sources items that he likes and knows his customers will appreciate, when and where he finds them.

Call into Retrograde, take a look around, have a chat and a coffee with Graeme. It may be that you only want some candles or a new throw. However if you do need to decorate a room or replace a dining table you now have a locally owned furniture and décor shop.

Graeme and Alison Stanton, Retrograde Furniture and Home, 15 Market Street, Spilsby. Tel: 01790 755 566, Email: retrograde@hotmail.co.uk, www.retrogradehome.com

Spilsby Royal British Legion

A parade of vintage vehicles, decorated floats and representatives of Spilsby’s local charities and organisations will be among the highlights of the town’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

One group taking part in the event is the Spilsby and District branch of the Royal British Legion, which celebrated its own special anniversary seven months ago.

Secretary and vice-chairman, Gill Rymer said the branch currently has ninety members. It was one of the first of sixteen British Legion membership corps formed back in 1921.

The RBL is the UK’s leading service charity and provides practical care, advice and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families.

“We have caravans dotted around the country to give servicemen and their families a holiday break if they have just come back from active service or are not in good health,” said Mrs Rymer, who has been involved with the Spilsby branch for forty-seven years.

“We also help people on the streets by trying to integrate them back into society.”

The Spislby branch meets at the Red Lion on Market Street, Spilsby on the third Wednesday of each month. It also has regular trips out and holds a midsummer picnic.

It has members from Willoughby as well as Spilsby and two of them make up the singing duo The Covergirls, who perform music from the ’40s and ’50s and help raise funds for the branch by doing shows.

“We also visit serving people’s families and try and help them while they are away, and we fight the corner on war pensions for service personnel with traumatic stress disorder,” said Mrs Rymer.

Another town group with reason to celebrate this year is the Spilsby and District Flower Club which reached its Golden Jubilee milestone just a few weeks ago.

It marked the day with a luncheon at the White Hart and continues its celebrations in June with a demonstration from national demonstrator, Lee Berrell entitled ‘All that Glitters is Gold.’

Though its membership is smaller these days, it has a rich history. Its inaugural meeting took place in the Methodist Schoolroom, Spilsby, on 10th April 1962 and it held its first meeting on 8th May.

The club’s first year was varied with talks and slideshows, nursery visits, garden visits, demonstrations and competitions.

It has taken part in the Festival of Flowers, staged in Lincoln Cathedral, since 1964 and members are now preparing for this year’s event which takes place in August.

Highlights from its fifty-year history include ‘An Evening with Percy Thrower’, the well-known gardener and television broadcaster, which attracted 600 people and ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ with an audience of 400, which was aired on Radio 4 twice in April 1974.

Club secretary, Freda Sykes said meetings are held on the last Tuesday of the month at 7.15pm at the White Hart. New members and visitors would be warmly welcomed.

Snipe Dales Country Park

When disease-ravaged Corsican Pine trees were discoverd at Snipe Dales Country Park near Spilsby a few years ago, it proved to be a blessing in disguise.

The long-term management plan at the site has always been to replace the pines with more native trees and shrubs which are better for the wildlife.

Warden, James Forrester said: “We have planted several thousand trees and it is an ongoing process, plus there has been natural regeneration where trees have grown from seeds within the site.

“It’s thriving now and it has revealed some outstanding views which have been covered by the pines and haven’t been seen for thirty to forty years. You can see right across to Hagworthingham and they are very dramatic views.”

Situated on the southern edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds, the site is owned by Lincolnshire County Council but managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

The country park is a former Forestry Commission plantation developed in the mid-1960s.

“Years ago it used to be quite a quiet site for birdsong but it’s far from quiet now,” said James who has been warden at the site since last August, but who was previously an assistant warden.

“As the scrub develops we are getting more amazing birds visiting including the Nightingale which is quite unusual.”

If you would like to take a closer look at Snipe Dales with an expert, James will be giving a guided tour as part of the Wolds Walking festival on Friday, 8th June at 10am, and there is also an open day with guided walks and refreshments on Saturday, 16th June from 11am to 4pm.

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