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'Keep The Flame' group given £2,000 for Torchlight-style parade
A KENDAL group’s bid to host a Torchlight Carnival-style event next month has been given a £2,000 boost.
Members of Keep The Flame were initially hopeful of pulling off a full-scale parade after the town’s annual procession was axed for the first time.
But they told Kendal town councillors they had ‘bitten off more than we could chew’ and now plan to hold a smaller parade, which could include floats, ending with a ‘celebration of music’ at a location in the town.
While filling the gap left by the 42-year-old carnival this year, the one-off gathering on October 19 would raise funds for the 2013 Torchlight, which organisers have already confirmed will happen.
Addressing Monday’s full council meeting, Daniel Gallagher, of Keep The Flame, said the group felt it was important for Kendal to have an event in the year of the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
“What we wanted to do is something to give the public and the schools to carry the flame into next year,” said Mr Gallagher.
“We are actively getting funding as we speak. Many businesses are supporting us.”
Mr Gallagher said the group had around £4,000, had sent letters to local schools seeking their involvement and had secured 70 volunteer marshals.
But he went on: “We don’t know how much funding we need because we don’t yet know how big the procession is going to be.”
He explained that Keep The Flame would not need the £20,000 required by the Torchlight Carnival committee to meet policing costs due to the smaller scale of the procession being planned.
“We are going to go ahead with an event that’s going to be great for the Kendal region and it’s going to help businesses, children and charities, that will miss the Torchlight this year,” he said.
“If, at the end of day, we fail then at least we can say we tried it and we came together as a community in Kendal to try and make it happen.”
Councillors praised the group for its efforts and voted to award it a £2,000 grant towards staging the event, although some questioned the timescale.
Coun Matthew Severn said: “It’s fantastic that we can show that, in these times of adversity and financial stress, the people of Kendal can do something to keep traditions going.”
Coun John McCreesh said: “Time is desperatley short. One of the reasons Torchlight isn’t happening is because the organisers said ‘we have run out of time’.”
Mr Gallagher said: “We think we can do this. We have a can-do attitude. We just need that bit of financial support. We are under no illusions.
“We have been working on this for six weeks and the people came together out of the blue.”
Coun David Evans sought assurances on whether the event would be ‘viable as a public spectacle’, while Coun Tom Clare questioned the specifics of what was planned.
He said: “As a council, we have to encourage what you’re doing, but we also need to take on board the concerns about what it is actually going to be - is it floats? Is it a load of people walking around Kendal and ending up somewhere?
"While we all applaud what the group is doing, there is a fundamental problem there that needs to be got to grips with very, very quickly."
Coun Jonathan Brook added: “There are a great many uncertainties with this project, but I believe it is something we should support.
“It will give a certain momentum for others to then get behind.”