Sparks extinguished but the band played on

Kanika Beckles, 400m silver medallist, from the Grenada Olympics team at Bensons Funfair in Horsham Park on Sunday
Kanika Beckles, 400m silver medallist, from the Grenada Olympics team at Bensons Funfair in Horsham Park on Sunday

After months of preparation Horsham District Council took the difficult decision to cancel Sparks in the Park on Sunday due to overnight rain.

The council made every effort to press ahead with the family event in Horsham Park with minor changes and after ground inspections on Saturday afternoon released an update saying it would happen ‘whatever the weather’.

However, heavy rain on Saturday night meant the main event was cancelled at short notice, although visitors, including the athletes from Grenada, still enjoyed music by the Blue Touch Paper samba band and Bensons Funfair.

As families prepared to head to Horsham Park signs were already going up on posters in the Carfax and the council released the following message on its Facebook page: “It is with regret that the council has decided that the Sparks in the Park event due to take place today will have to be cancelled due to unsafe conditions in Horsham Park caused by the additional heavy rainfall overnight.”

Messages of disappointment followed from residents. Debbie Crawford said: “When you promise children it’s difficult to explain! Decision was left far too late, we had whole day planned. Know weather can’t be helped but it’s very frustrating.”

Sarah Hogben, a member of the events team, said: “Such a shame but the right decision - and the park could have been trashed with 10,000 people wading across sodden grass all afternoon.”

Sue Rogers, cabinet member for a healthier and safer district, offered an apology on the social networking site. “I am sorry for all the participants and all the hard work preparing for the event, but the weather has disappointed so many people at events this summer. It was the right decision.”

The council has started clearing the paths of mud and once all the vehicles have left, ground re-instatement will begin.