Shropshire Star

4,000 revellers pack Oswestry to help make it a record day for Christmas parade

A record number of floats twisted and turned their way through the packed streets at Oswestry's Christmas parade.

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Santa in his open topped 'Pope Mobile' Picture: Graham Mitchell

Fifty nine floats - including 35 wagons supplied by drivers and haulage companies from across Shropshire and Mid Wales - were packed with children and adults from all sorts of community organisations.

The big lorries blasted their air horns, and sweets thrown from the teams on board to people in the crowd formed the only precipitation on Saturday.

Oswestry at the annual Christmas Parade..

In the town centre, people were almost as close as penguins which formed a great shield and collective body heat to stave off the cold weather.

The event is organised by the Oswestry Borderland Rotary Club with help from Oswestry Rotary Club and Cambrian Rotary Club. Together they supply the dozens of volunteers without which such an event simply could not take place.

Picture: Graham Mitchell

Around 60 people were working as stewards, and event spokesman Jonathan Jones said there is always space for more people to join in next year.

Mr Jones was thrilled by the turnout, which he estimated as more than 4,000 people. In many parts of the three-mile route, especially in the town centre, spectators were standing "six, seven, eight, nine deep in places" he said.

"It is the biggest we have done," said Mr Jones.

All kinds of characters at the annual Christmas Parade..

"There were 59 floats in all, I know because I counted them all out with my pen and paper, and it is a new record by some margin.

"There was no theme, we never put a theme. We just ask people to think of their own and there was every style there.

"The Oswestry In Bloom team came dressed as flowers to celebrate the town's success [in the competition].

"It was a fantastic day, we were very pleased with it and it must be the biggest in Shropshire."

Picture: Graham Mitchell

Last year around £4,000 was raised for charity but Mr Jones, speaking on Sunday, said he had "not the foggiest" about the grand total raised this weekend.

In previous years they would physically count out all the bucket loads of cash and take it to the bank.

But this year, Mr Jones said they would be able to use a bank's automatic counting machine to take away that task.

And things have changed over the years for the parade. It has a rich history going back to the war but when the Rotary Club took it over in 2002 it was in a pretty sorry state.

"We had seven floats and two of those were council bin teams," said Mr Jones.

"I heard someone in the crowd say what a load of rubbish it was and we had a decision to make."

Luckily they threw themselves into it with gusto.

Mr Jones said that comment made them decide to give the public a great show, which would also be good for the community and businesses.

"The kids need to have their enjoyment," said Mr Jones. "It is all about community, family and kids and to give the town something to be proud of.

"Hopefully some of those children in their time will also want to give something back to the community when the time comes, because they remember the good time they had here on Saturday."

For more details on the Borderland Rotary Club, visit their website.

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