Former Wisbech Mayor and PCSO clear market place of cars to save Air Cadets parade

AN unlikely trio of a former Mayor, his daughter and a passing PCSO turned traffic cops to organise a parade that saved Wisbech Air Training Corps from shelling out �800 for control barriers.

EXCLUSIVE by: TOM JACKSON

AN unlikely trio of a former Mayor, his daughter and a passing PCSO turned traffic cops to organise a parade that saved Wisbech Air Training Corps from shelling out �800 for control barriers.

Road closures were agreed last month for Sunday's celebration parade, but 272 (Wisbech) Squadron faced a hefty bill for barriers.

But the ATC had no money available to hire the barriers from highways contractors Ringway - even though they had given them a �100 discount off the normal �900 fee.


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Councillor David Oliver, his daughter Jessica- and a PCSO - decided to step in and channel motorists off the Market Square so the parade could go ahead.

Cllr Oliver, Leader of Wisbech Town Council, said: "I will probably get told off for doing it but there you go. It was important for the event to go ahead.

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"I went out to the Market Place at 11am when I knew the vehicle exclusion should have been in place. I saw a lot of cars there and luckily saw a PCSO there as well who was aware of the parade.

"We put some cones out and gradually asked people to move their cars and made sure nobody else came in afterwards."

The former mayor was praised by 272 Squadron commander, Flt Lt Jeff Goodley who said: "I would like to put on record my thanks to Cllr Oliver. Without his tireless work on the day, together with a PCSO keeping an area of Market Place free of cars, we would not have had a place to parade.

"I don't know how he did it, but we are very grateful for his help."

The parade was planned originally for Peterborough but road works in the city centre meant that 272 (Wisbech) Squadron stepped in two months ago to organise the event.

Air cadets were set to parade along High Street, Bridge Street, part of The Crescent and Market Street.

Cambridgeshire County Council agreed for those areas to close between 11am and 4pm but organisers opted for a small parade in the centre.

More than 130 cadets and staff from the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing's northern section paraded round the outside of the market place.

While they paraded, traffic coming into the Market Place from Hill Street was directed out via High Street by Cllr Oliver, Jessica and the PCSO.

A spokesman for Fenland Council said the ATC had been in talks prior to the event about barriers but these were not something the council had to hand and told them to contact Ringway.

The council had worked with the organisers in advance of the event "and we bent over backwards to help them".

Given the fact the parade had been scaled back it was most unlikely the council would have any issues arising from the day, said the spokesman.

Cllr Oliver added: "I knew there was an issue over the price of the barriers but didn't know it hadn't been solved. I just went out there Sunday morning and saw nothing apart from a road closure sign on a lamp post. Unless someone gout out of their car and read it they would not have been aware. We pounced into action and made sure the area was clear."

YOUR COMMENTS

AS a mother of an air cadet that was meant to parade through the town I am extremely grateful to David Oliver and the PCSO for ensuring the safety of the all the cadets.After being involved with the parade I am however disappointed that the cadets could not do a full parade due to the cost issues.If the full parade had been able to continue it would have raised the profile of the ATC organisation and their fantastic work with the young people in this area, and raised the profile of Wisbech as a town that encourages this work to continue.KAREN SMITHWisbech

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