Whalley celebrated a quarter of a century of its annual Whalley Pickwick Night . Despite the attempts of the weather and the storms to wash out the party, that hit the Ribble Valley earlier in the day, the 25th Anniversary of the famous event went ahead almost as planned.
A few issues did occur during the setting up of the event earlier in the day due to the gale force winds and rain. A few attractions and stalls planned where unable to attend due to the high winds and due to local road closures and traffic
issues on the regions motorways.
Despite this the event has been deemed a success. Over 3000 people attended the festival, and they where treated to top class entertainment including a rendition of “The Christmas Carol” from Ribcaged Productions and supportive festive singing. Even the Accrington Pipe Band joined in
on the action and entertained the crowds and the actors on the Main stage with their festive bagpipe tunes. The high street was also thronged with visitors all wrapped up for a crisp evening, with lots of seasonal fare on offer.
Malcolm Hebden managed to make the event just in time for the opening ceremony, despite being held up in traffic on his way
back from the ITV studios at Media City in Salford. After the Carol Service he proclaimed the event opened and joined the VIP’s from the stage to talk to
the general public and visit the shops and stalls throughout the village. Malcolm was also joined by Ribchester’s Dave Moretta, who in the run-up to the
event, completed 18 marathons in 18 days.
The Whalley Pickwick Committee regret that due to the earlier confusion with Malcolm Hebden being late to
the opening ceremony and the fact the event management team where running 3 hours behind on their preparations due to the weather, that much more
was not made of Dave’s recent achievements. Personal apologies have been made to Dave Moretta regards this mix up and they wish to extend this to the visitors who expected to see more of Dave.
The committee also regret the lack of children's rides. This was due largely to the inclement weather, which rendered it impossible to erect the planned giant ferris wheel. The weather also accounted for the withdrawal of a number of other stallholders; the individuals and organisations. The committee are very sorry that they had to miss the event and apologise to everyone who had looked forward to
Despite the unforeseen issues, Pickwick 2013 was an enjoyable experience for most people, and the committee have received a lot of very positive feedback following the event. Some of the kindest words came from a previous Whalley resident Anne Ellwood who attended Whalley Pickwick this year with her Olympic Torch.
Anne said “I feel quite humbled that I have been able to fetch the Torch back to the village and to share that experience, as it was the community of Whalley that help shape my sporting career without which I certainly would not have achieved my sporting ambitions. Which led to me being given the fantastic honour of carrying the Torch.”
Plans are now afoot to arrange the 26th Whalley Pickwick Festival being planned for the
Thursday 4th December 2014. The event management committee are already looking forward to
it next year!