A carnival of councillors
Cookson Parade draws huge crowds to South Shields
Yesterday’s opening parade for South Tyneside’s Summer Festival took place in ideal dry sunny and warm weather, and despite the fact that I was supposed to be fitting a new kitchen, I managed to pull an hour out of my schedule to see the hundreds of marchers reaching the Bents Park after threading their way down Fowler Street and Ocean Road in South Shields. Massive crowds lined the route, perhaps larger than in the past two or three years, bringing much needed spending power to the town’s traders, in many places it was difficult to find yourself a vantage point as people started claiming their places on the pavement up to an hour before the parade started.
If the summer weather continues as it has done over the last week then we are in for a bumper season of free entertainment, as South Tyneside Council partners with others to provide a temporary boost to the local economy and showcases local talent alongside the internationally famous names. The Mouth of the Tyne Festival and the free concerts in the Bents Park and the Amphitheatre, added to the Great North Run at the end of the summer season guarantee thousands of visitors to South Shields, but the scarcity of top quality hotels leaves only our small B&B sector to accommodate our visitors, ideally we need to be catering for longer than weekend stays to maximise the economic opportunities and to grow the tourist market that we already have. South Shields, of course offers all of the advantages of a seaside resort when the weather is kind, and is ideally placed as a base for touring the highlights of Durham and Northumberland.
Therefore it is always great to see so many sections of the local community coming together to take part in the annual Cookson Parade, especially the children, however, I’m wondering if the event could be better promoted and positioned with a rebranding of the name, and the reintroduction of motorised “floats”? Anyway it was good to see so many of your local councillors joining in the event, although many of them were from the Labour Party and they were almost exclusively from South Shields, the Jarrow, Hebburns, Boldon, and Cleadon Conservative representatives were either well hidden or busy elsewhere.
We were joined this year by civic representatives form one of South Tyneside’s twin town, Epinay Sur Seine near Paris, and they too were happy to add some colour and joi de vivre to the event, no doubt they joined your councillors in the “refreshment area” after sweating it out in the sun during the walk from the Town Hall. I only bumped into one member of the opposition, Cllr. Jimmy Capstick, who was far happier to queue for ice cream with his grandchildren than than join the line for warm beer!
I’ve received one or two pictures from readers but will wait to get a few more before deciding if there is sufficient to create a slide show of the event, so keep them coming in if you’d like to share them. Anyway, here are some of the people responsible for helping to organise yesterday’s parade, can you guess which one still owes Curly a pint, and which one hurried away after less than 30 minutes in the park? (Perhaps the World Cup was just too good to miss).
Go here for the full summer festival calendar.
Click the thumbnails to enlarge. (There are a couple of “finger pointers in here, I wonder what they were saying?)