Ramsey’s festive event was victim of its own success
ORGANISERS of the event to switch on Ramsey’s Christmas lights have responded to criticism they were overwhelmed by the larger than expected crowds.
While previous years have attracted just 30 to 40 people, estimates for this year’s event indicate nearly 400 people showed up.
One attendee, who went along with their sister, niece and nephews, wrote a letter, published in last week’s Examiner, describing the Parliament Street event as ‘an absolute disgrace and shambles.’
Addressing the organisers, they wrote: ‘There were hundreds of people trying to perch on a pavement outside the town hall, while trying to avoid the cars still entering Parliament Street. So many cars tried to turn into the street but had to reverse back out on to a major road. There were young children, adults with prams all trying to balance on kerb edges while the road was still open to traffic. There were no police to manage the flow of traffic or even volunteer marshals to help with traffic.
‘What could have been a lovely evening and indeed focal point in Parliament Square just turned in to a mad, disorganised free-for-all – where thankfully no one was injured.
‘Hang your heads, it was an absolute failure.’
Chris Blatcher, chairman of Ramsey Chamber of Commerce, who organised the event, said they are hoping to avoid a repeat by building a bank of volunteers who can help steward future community gatherings.
‘We have to admit there were some issues, it was a victim of its own success,’ said Mr Blatcher. ‘In one way we were delighted, but we weren’t expecting that many, and we had to rapidly change our plans.’
The event had been initially scheduled for the Courthouse gardens, but as not all of the area would be open, the venue changed to Parliament Square.
‘Ramsey has a strong community, and we estimated for about 100 to 150 people, which could be catered for on the pavements and in the town hall,’ said Mr Blatcher.
‘But as it was people were spilling into the road. But everyone one was sensible, including car drivers, and the police helped us out.’
He thought the increased popularity was down to joint involvement of various groups, including the schools, Britannia International, and the Rotary Club of Ramsey. The event also tied in with Children in Need, with Pudsey the bear proving a big draw, and the evening raising almost £1,000 for the charity.
‘Next year, we aim to do it again, but it will be in the Courthouse gardens,’ said Chris. ‘It’s about making a community event, not just getting people into the town to benefit traders.’
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west