When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
'Alternative Torchlight' event an enormous success
10:30am Wednesday 24th October 2012 in News
AN 'alternative Torchlight' event in Kendal, pulled together at the last minute by a 'Keep the Flame Alive' group, has been hailed a huge success.
The two-day spectacle over Friday evening and today featured a host of entertainment at the Westmorland Shopping Centre, and was organised to fill the void left when the traditional Torchlight was cancelled for the first time in its 42-year history.
An organising committee had hoped to put on a procession through the town but when it could not get a permit, the action was relocated to the shopping centre.
In front of a 4,000 strong crowd, performers on two stages included stars from Taylor School of Dance, the University of Cumbria's Saints cheerleaders, Westmorland Step and Garland Dancers, Young Cumbria - who revealed a flash mob dance - and the Blue Dog Music School.
Carrying on into today, there was a classic car display and competitions.
Vicky Wright, one of the committee who planned the event in just a few short weeks, said: “It was a fantastic turnout, we were really well supported despite the last minute changes.
“It has been quite crazy trying to organise it all, but luckily everything just came together.
“A massive thank you to the Westmorland Shopping Centre because it could not have happened without everyone there.”
Water polo Olympians Glen Robinson from Kendal and Alex Rutlidge of Burton-in-Kendal were also special guests at the event, along with youth worker Megan Fearnley from Kendal, who was a torchbearer this summer.
Megan is another member of the committee that helped bring the event together.
She said: “It was absolutely amazing, better than we expected. We will know more next week exactly how many people came through the doors but I would think at least 500. It was packed.
“Thank you to everyone who supported the event and came along. Also thank you to Homebase, B&Q and Beautiful for providing prizes. And the Blue Dog Music School donated the proceeds from a recent concert to help fund the event.
“Money raised, which is so far £500, will go as donations to local charities and to next year's Torchlight event. We have also contacted the Torchlight committee to say they have our support.”
Director of Westmorland Shopping Centre Alan Green said he was 'blown away' with the turnout last night.
“The committee came to me and said they couldn't get a permit to have a procession and I said there is no reason we shouldn't be able to hold something here.
“I'd say it was an overwhelming success; the centre was packed with families and couples enjoying themselves.
“People were really shocked when Torchlight was cancelled and I think made everyone realise just how much it means to have that big event to bring people together.
“Because it has been such a great success, we are actually considering holding an annual event in the shopping centre, possibly following Torchlight to help raise funds for the following year's event. If this can be achieved in just a few weeks, imagine what we could do in a year.”