Fantastic event against the odds

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AGAINST all odds we have just enjoyed a fantastic Old Town Week.

The weather was kind and the volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes really turned up trumps.

Particular thanks must go to the Old Town Preservation Society,The Old Town Traders Association and to the Carnival Committee but also to all those who, in whatever capacity, played a part in delivering such a truly great week for our town. Thank you.

Having said all that and having been involved in Old Town Week for almost 30 years, I can see the dreaded hand of bureaucracy strengthening its stranglehold on events.

This year the demands for ‘risk and safety’ assessments were particularly challenging as were the need to finance road closures, coupled with the withdrawal of core funding by the council. As I watched the leader of the council waving to the crowds from the front of the carnival procession, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was waving goodbye.

Health and safety demands have seen the end of the trawler race, water squirting and coin throwing. How on earth did we survive in the past? The ‘claim it’ society has killed off all that innocent fun.

The absolutely brilliant and somewhat anarchic Pram Race was also subjected to an avalanche of do’s and don’ts by the various authorities. As I write this I note that Kimberley Town Council in Nottingham cancelled its Pram Race ‘for fear that contestants could be injured if prams collide’. God help us!

Old Town Week shows Hastings at its colourful best and it would be a tragedy if it was allowed to join other victims of red tape in nothing more than an entry in Memory Lane.

Please don’t let that happen.

RICHARD STEVENS

All Saints Street