A seasoned look at life - February 28, 2013

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TODAY I’m a new slimmer me and tonight will be sporting my James Bond look – black tie and dinner suit. At least, I hope so!

For the past week I’ve been cutting down on calories to squeeze into my formal evening wear – for a ‘do’ at the Winter Gardens.

Tonight’s annual awards and 
dinner of Blackpool Civic Trust will be the last chaired by redoubtable, community-spirited Mrs Elaine Smith MBE. The Trust protects our heritage of buildings and much more.

The Trust motto is ‘Promoting Excellence’, so I wanted to be suitably smart. As well as being proud Trust members, we are guests there of my mother-in-law Wynne – another venerable and prolific socialite on our coast.

But tonight is not just about putting on our best face, enjoying the banquet, then patting the backs of local notables.

For me, it is a privilege to attend such a gathering as tonight’s – even if I have to lose a little winter weight to tuck into my tuxedo.

There was a time when She Who Knows and myself often left Edmonds Towers wearing evening dress. We were on the charity ball circuit, raising Champagne glasses in the grander hotels and banqueting halls.

But since early retirement we’re more likely to be seen in public in tennis tracksuits, then dressing down to relax back at home. It’s only natural but, thankfully, we still scrub up well when required!

The same relaxation of standards happens in towns. Classic buildings get ignored and run down; Victorian edifices drift into sadder times as pool halls or karaoke lounges, then are laid to waste as tarmacadamed car parks. Before you know it, your town and its proud history are gone.

Don’t let that happen to our coast.

The resort’s own motto may be “Progress”, but it is also important to preserve the best of what has gone before – to build a future upon.

Unless we want to be surrounded by concrete monstrosities and tatty stores, we must listen to those who know and care about our famous resort and this diverse coast.

It was such local concern and pride that saved the Grand Theatre.

Those winning the awards this evening will have helped protect and enhance our past – promoting excellence while, also, looking to future progress. The event’s setting tonight speaks volumes for our community’s commitment to both past and future. The Winter Gardens has been superbly refurbished at public cost. Tonight I’ll breathe in, savour the atmosphere then raise a glass to Blackpool. Let’s remain proud of this unique town!

n Books by Roy are at Gazette reception in Blackpool; Plackitt & Booth, Lytham, or visit royedmonds-blackpool.com for details.