Lighting Up The Winter Solstice

It’s the taking part that matters at the Friend’s of Parkinson’s Park Lantern Parade,  handcrafts, theatre, music all have a part to play,  not to mention decorating streets and keeping the whole ‘show on (of off as the case may be) the road’.  The 5th Parkinson’s  Park Lantern Parade had all of the above as everyone joined in to light up Guiseley streets for the Winter Solstice and the coming of Christmas, and make a big noise about it.

Children had spent weeks making their individual lanterns, which they proudly paraded,  whilst our special  Guiseley Lanterns depicting Guiseley Wells, de Ward Cross, Theatre Button and Parkinson Clock, emerged out of history to glow once more,  carried by eight strong lantern bearers.

Music included children joining The Sound of the Mills band to improvise on home-made drums (and adults on real ones) to the beat of “where does fabric come from”” the mill”,  whilst at the Town Cross,  Guiseley Brass Band gave the carol singing a warm Yorkshire glow.   This year the Parade was led my Jacob Phillips and friends playing pied pipers in top hat and tails with the seductive call of saxophones.   Then, of course there was the crowd,  joining In the Bleak Mid-Winter, with a dash of Holly and the Ivy and Jingle Bells.

Another successful improvisation this year was decorating the route of the parade – residents on The Birches and Kelcliffe Lane, put out baubles, bunting and tinsel so that bare trees and cold bushes burst into glittering life as if in Narnia – one particular benefit of the bounty of charity shops.    In the Park itself there were three decorated advent trees for people to go and add their own decorations during the season, and especially at midwinter on 21st December.

Safety, was a bigger concern this year.  Terrorist attacks in towns meant that this had to be considered on the risk assessment.  Nine marshalls as well as two PCs, worked in relay to watch out for cars, and keep the road and cross area free.  A ‘bomb’ sweep was done before the parade started in the shadow of the Lily light especially commissioned this year to remember Wendy Fawell who was killed in the Manchester Terrorist attack in May .

Christmas would not be Yule without the plentiful supply of food and drink, and the Paraders indulged in scrummy little buns and mince pies made locally,  whilst The Station helped provide the mulled (non-alcoholic) drink – all served by the Friends.

Improvisation can take a lot of organizing, and the Parade pulls in the skills and time of a wide range of local people all doing something along the way – all the local Churches played a part, along with politicians, mums groups, groups of residents, the Police, local clubs or various kinds, ex Crompton Parkinson staff, photographers, musicians, woodchip layers, shops, community arts group Codswallop and Friends of Parkinson’s Park.  Funding was provided from donations gathered during the year, as well as small donations and grants from local Councillors and Green Leeds.

We’d like to thank everyone for the part they played to making this another successful year, and we look forward to bigger and better next year; so thinking caps on, what can you add to the Parade next year – let us know?

The Friends of Parkinson’s Park wish you a very Happy Christmas and a Good New Year.

Photography from,  Liakat Parapia, Darren Sanderson and Jennifer Kirkby.  More video snippets and pictures on the Parkinson’s Park Facebook page.



About Jennifer Inskip Kirkby

Director and Vice Chair of Friends of Parkinson's Park CIC, Chair of Aireborough Neighbourhood Forum and Facilitator of Inskip One-Name Study. Has a degree in Local History (University of Cambridge), and Economics (University of Leeds). Now retired after a career as a Business Analyst and Advisor.
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