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Pirate ship captain fears for future of Lord Mayor's Procession due to lorry ban

PUBLISHED: 14:30 29 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:38 30 January 2019

The Lord Mayors Procession 2018
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

The Lord Mayors Procession 2018 Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

The captain of one the most eye-catching floats of the Lord Mayor's Procession says he fears for the future of the parade - if the city council goes ahead with plans to exclude trucks from the event.

The Lord Mayor's Procession winding through the streets of Norwich. Picture: Ian BurtThe Lord Mayor's Procession winding through the streets of Norwich. Picture: Ian Burt

For one day of the year, IT director Steve Temple becomes the swash-buckling Captain Jack as his stunning pirate ship takes centre stage during the annual celebration.

The 2019 procession would have marked the 10th year the popular attraction has featured in the parade, with Mr Temple and the team at InTouch System having invested hundreds of hours of time and thousands of pounds in it over the years.

However, with Norwich City Council looking to run the parade without diesel or petrol lorries this year, for the first time in a decade there will be no pirate ship.

Mr Temple said: “If the decision stands I honestly don’t think there will be any future for the parade, which would be a great shame.

Steve Temple from InTouch System Picture: Nick ButcherSteve Temple from InTouch System Picture: Nick Butcher

“I have such fond memories of taking my daughter Anya to the parade when she was younger, which is what made me decide to get involved to begin with and we always get such amazing feedback.

“We’ve spent thousands on the float, last year we made a double-headed Davy Jones which is so big that there is just no other way of getting it around than with a lorry.”

Mr Temple said he feared several others would be in the same position and that a lack of lorries would result in the interest in the parade dwindling.

He added: “Everyone in Norwich has their own memories of the parade and it means so much to the children involved in it - however the route is probably too long for children of six or seven to walk around.”

A spokesperson for Norwich City Council said: “During our initial planning, we have been speaking to InTouch Systems about building on the fantastic pirate party they have held both during and after the procession.

“The beauty of the Lord Mayor’s Celebration weekend is that there is room for everyone and we definitely want the pirate ship to be there.”

Criticism

The decision to ban petrol and diesel lorries from the parade has come under much scrutiny from the public since it was revealed.

In a poll taken by more than 3,500 people, as of Tuesday afternoon a whopping 82pc said they are concerned the parade will be ruined by the decision.

However, a council spokesman has said they are ready and willing to support potential entrants in finding alternative means.

A City Hall spokesman said: “Norwich is certainly talking about this year’s theme, which we hoped would generate a conversation.

“While some people are excited, we understand that others are concerned about replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with alternative transport.

“Our events team are happy to discuss ideas and help participants find ways to create their entries, and are doing lots of research to assist.”

While the lorries are an ever-popular part of the parade, they made up less than a quarter of the entries in 2018.

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