Lytham’s St George’s Day Festival won’t feature the traditional Saturday morning parade or weekend family fun on The Green this year – but organisers are busy planning for their return in 2020 and beyond.
The departure of event founder and president David Haythornthwaite because of business commitments has resulted in what the remaining committee members term ‘organisational changes’, resulting in the event being pared down to build for the future.
An appeal has already been issued for new trustees to help organise the Festival from 2020 onwards and in the meantime, it is hoped there will be big support for this year’s smaller format Festival.
It will begin with the traditional flag-raising ceremony on Lytham Green on St George’s Day itself, Tuesday, April 23, immediately followed by the screening of some rare film footage of Lytham in Lowther Pavilion.
A double dose of features will follow on Thursday, April 25 – a golf day at St Annes Old Links and a tea dance and afternoon tea at Lowther Pavilion from 12.30pm.
The Festival will wind up on the evening of Sunday, April 28 with a concert by the Band of the King’s Division at Lowther Pavilion.
Festival committee representative Tim Lince said: “This year’s Festival, while bijou, has a little bit of something for everybody and we hope that the people of Lytham and beyond will support us now and into the future.
“Following David’s departure, we are now preparing for an expansion of the committee and the setting up of a charity that will oversee the running of the festival in the future.
“We are proud of the fact that the Festival has raised so much for charity – more than £200,000 over the last two years alone.
“We know ingredients such as the Saturday procession have been very popular and the aim is for them to be back next year
“To help us in that aim, we want to hear from would-be charity trustees who will look after the governance of the whole organisation, as well as fundraising committee members who will be involved in programming and running the Festival in the future.
“We are inviting interested parties to submit a letter detailing why they would like to support the Festival by becoming a trustee of the charity and their experience of either working with a charity, public body or business interest.
“Interviews will be held in May and trustees will then be appointed to help to shape and guide the Festival and it’s management for 2020 onwards.”
Mr Lince said that the committee is also recruiting ‘foot soldiers’ who have experience or interest in getting involved in running one of the events under the festival banner.
After this year’s Festival a meeting will be held where interested participants can meet representatives of the three supported charities this year – ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, Trinity Hospice and Lowther Pavilion’s refurbishment appeal – and find out a little bit more about the festival.
Announcing his departure last month, Mr Haythornthwaite, a prominent Fylde businessman who is also chairman of National League football club AFC Fylde, said: “After 10 years, it is time for me to step aside and concentrate on some of my other projects such as Mill Farm and AFC Fylde which didn’t really exist when we started but now consume a huge amount of my time.
“I have enjoyed every single minute. Not only did I have a good time but also managed to help raise some serious money for charity along the way.
“Thanks to all those volunteers who helped every year and whom I had the pleasure of working with, together with all those who supported the event.”
Anyone interested in roles on the new-look committee should email firstname.lastname@example.org, marked either ‘trustees’ or ‘fund-raising committee’.
Festival brochures, further details and tickets for Festival events are available from the Lowther Pavilion box office (tel. 01253 794221 and on line at www.lowtherpavilion.co.uk).