I feel a thunderbolt could strike me at any moment but I’m going to ask you to look at a Daily Mail article and for once there is a shred of truth in it: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2152979/Diamond-Jubilee-Britains-bonkers-bunting-streets-homes-decked-red-white-blue.html
This morning I suddenly realised Ashbourne could be on to something. We’ve had the bunting for some time and it looks stunning – the architecture of the town really lends itself to hanging things across the streets to create a kind of artificial roof – people like it and come to the town to see it. Now it’s gone people miss it and comment about it.
I spoke to Bob Dyer who puts it up with his team and is fundraising for it. The bunting was originally associated with the Highland Gathering and Stuart Lees is behind the whole project. I didn’t realise just what goes into it and the number of supporters giving time and material:
- Roger Silcock Co Ltd provide the bunting itself and cut out the flags
- Bowmer Bond provide the cord
- Best Wishes provide other materials such as cotton
- Linda Elaine Curtains and Soft Furnishing do the sewing
All of these either offer time and products free of charge, at cost or a much reduced rate. Then Bob and his team of local volunteers put up and take down the 8.5 miles of bunting. The whole thing costs thousands and to date has received no public funding although hopefully this will change in future.
I don’t know how much bunting costs but we really could be on to something here from a tourist perspective. The Christmas lights are great but I imagine they cost quite a bit of money, can be found in every town and they are only effective for a short period of time. Bunting works year round and Ashbourne’s unique architecture really makes it work. Imagine we had a few different sets of bunting, had sponsored bunting or used a few variations:
- Seasonal set to keep the interest going throughout the year. This could be particularly good in late autumn before the Christmas lights or in the spring before the other attractions open.
- Special bunting incorporating electronic message boards and lighting
- Using individual flags as either treasure hunt targets or labels for features of the town – helping to show off the town assets and help visitors navigate
- A special golden bunting flag for visitors to find each day leading to a special discount offer with local retailers.
The least we should do is thank all the contributors for a fantastic show but Bob and his team have other plans – they are looking to extend the coverage as more and more bunting is being produced. All this costs money and time and at the moment it is done on an entirely voluntary basis. If you think you can help, and I would expect the Town Council and Ashbourne Partnership will be falling over themselves with this given the tourist opportunity, the Ashbourne Street Bunting Fund would love to hear from you. You can get in touch at:
Ashbourne Street Bunting Fund, to Bob Dyer, Flat 21, Lakeside, Ashbourne DE6 1GE or by calling 07989 540279
What do you think of the bunting?