December 11 2013 Latest news:
By John Elworthy
Sunday, December 2, 2012
FATHER Christmas was just the tonic to bring a festive cheer to embattled Wisbech- and boy did the good man deliver it.
Of course he needed some help but with a re-invigorated civic pride afoot that was a ‘given’ as the town council worked tirelessly with a band of volunteers to deliver a memorable lights switch on.
Deputy mayor Councillor Samantha Hoy was ecstatic watching the surging crowd deliver their unanimous verdict of ‘job well done’.
“We had ten times the amount of people we usually have which was amazing,” she said.
“Next year I hope it to be even better and with more lights too”.
With a string of successes behind them in 2012 –including a memorable Jubilee celebration and a multi cultural festival- some might have thought the civic bank was running on near empty. Not a bit of it.
Councillors, headed by leader David Oliver, didn’t simply robe themselves for the occasion – important though many see that as delivering a sense of pride and continuity to civic life.
Throughout the day councillors from both town and district worked to get the staging and town centre ready for the big evening event.
Cllr Hoy said there were many highlights but the performance by children associated with Angles Theatre performing songs from the movies stood out for her.
Her ‘boss’, the mayor, Councillor Vivien McRae hit the switch to turn on the lights at 6.30pm also announcing the winner of a competition to win an iPad,
The band Mainstream delivered a rousing performance throughout the rest of the evening, she said.
Town clerk Erbie Murat may be a stickler for protocol but he seems to have recognised that though some may mock the majority enjoy, and expect, their civic leaders to add some shine to their life.
Typical of the town clerk’s fastidiousness were the various rules and regulations for the evening forwarded to councillors in advance.
“The Mayor, Consort and Beadle will travel on Vivien (the town’s vintage fire engine) at the front of the procession,” he told them.
“The procession will follow protocol as contained in the Civic Handbook. Father Christmas will bring up the rear.”
He also ensured councillors knew who was to be on ‘mince pie’ duty carting hundreds of them to the market place and then handed out by volunteers to hungry revellers.
The woman chosen for the task “will meet with me at the town council chamber at 3pm and we will transport the mince pies,” he said.
“She will then remain on site guarding mince pies and then disbursing them to the mince pie gang (initially Town Team in costume) for onward distribution.”
Cllr Hoy added: “I couldn’t believe how many turned up for the switch on this year. I was awestruck.”
Labour candidate Dean Reeves was equally struck with how well the town had performed.
“Congratulations and thank you to Wisbech Town Council and Town Team and many others for a good show,” he said on Twitter.