Town groups rally to save summer fun event

Horsham Operatic and Dramatic Society at last year's Sparks in the Park
Horsham Operatic and Dramatic Society at last year's Sparks in the Park

A summer fun event in Horsham park - which last year drew thousands of visitors - is to be axed ... but is likely to be replaced with another family crowd-puller.

Sparks In The Park has been staged by Horsham District Council for the past seven years but now the council says it cannot continue because of ‘reduced staff resources.’

However, Horsham Rotary Club and organisers of Horsham Festival have stepped in and are hoping to organise a similar event.

Rotary Club spokesman John Le Rossignol said that talks were currently being held with various organisations to see if they want to take part. And, he said, he was hopeful that a similar event to Sparks would be held on July 9.

Already, he said, Benson’s Fun Fair was booked to appear in Horsham Park from July 7-9 and Horsham Festival, organised by Paul Bellringer, was scheduled to take place at the same time.

In addition, a charity market with around 30-40 stalls - previously held as part of Sparks in the Park and organised by the Rotary Club - is also still due to take place this year. Art events are also already planned for the same weekend at the council offices in Park North, adjacent to Horsham Park.

The Rotary Club is also involved in talks with various sporting organisations. In previous years, Sparks in the Park has featured opportunities for visitors to try their hand at a variety of sports. “I hope that the event will go ahead,” said John. “It really depends if we can get people to commit to being there.” Anyone interested in helping can contact horshamrotary@btconnect.com.

Meanwhile, a council spokesman confirmed that “the Sparks in the Park community day will not take place in its usual format for 2017. This is as a result of reduced staff resources and time to dedicate to the organisation of the event. Net cost savings will be minimal.

“However, meetings are underway with various community groups including The Rotary Club and Horsham Festival to consider what alternative options are available that they could organise to contribute towards a summer time community led event.”