- Friday, 24 August 2012 14:25
An Olympic Torchbearer will help bring a lights show of a different kind to life next Saturday, 1 September.
Megan Mosedale, who proudly carried the Olympic flame through Ashbourne two months ago, will be the guest of honour as Derbyshire Dales District Council's 115th Matlock Bath Illuminations burst into life.
Megan will share duties with Chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales Councillor Tony Millward, who invited the 14 year-old after being touched by her determination to fulfil her role as a Torchbearer through her home town of Ashbourne.
The Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School student has Elhers Danlos Syndrome, a condition which means her joints can dislocate suddenly and painfully, yet she smiled all the way down Ashbourne's Buxton Hill as she carried the Olympic Torch through a guard of honour created by Shrovetiders.
Said Councillor Millward:
"I was in that guard of honour and it's an understatement to say I was moved by Megan's joy and sheer determination that day.
"The opening night of Matlock Bath Illuminations is also a big occasion for the Derbyshire Dales and I wanted Megan to be part of it as my guest of honour."
Megan, who will be wearing her Torchbearer tracksuit and bringing along her Olympic Torch, said:
"This has been a really special year for me. Even now the Olympics have been and gone, people still want to see the Torch and I'm really looking forward to taking it along to the first night of the Illuminations."
The grand switch-on will be performed in the District Council's Derwent Gardens at 8pm on 1 September and online bookings are already underway for a Derbyshire Dales tradition first held to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and still going strong in Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee year.
The annual festival dates back to 1897 when the people of Matlock Bath celebrated Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee by illuminating their village with fairy lamps and Chinese and Japanese lanterns.
Rockets were discharged from the top of Masson Hill and a torchlight procession was held through the village. This was followed by a procession of illuminated boats on the river and the illumination of the rocks by coloured fires.
The 21st century celebration will include on opening night the judging of illuminated boats, with entertainment from Ashbourne Town Band in the District Council's Derwent Gardens bandstand from 7pm. The Illuminations will then run until Saturday 27 October, with the Derwent Gardens and Lovers' Walks bedecked with colourful lights throughout that period.
The unique parade of illuminated boats will take place from 8pm every Saturday and Sunday evening until 27 October and can be viewed from Derwent Gardens. Prices are frozen from last year - £4.50 for adults and £4.00 for over 60s. There is no charge for accompanied children under 16 or for disabled people and their carer. There's family entertainment every Saturday and Sunday from 7pm.
Tickets are available on the night from the Ticket Office behind the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath.
Spectacular cliff top firework displays, sponsored by the Heights of Abraham, will take place at 9pm on Saturdays 15 and 29 September and 13 and 27 October. Park and Ride services operate on firework nights from 5pm from Derbyshire County Council Offices car park to Matlock Bath Station and from Cromford Meadows to Matlock Bath Pavilion car park.
Hourly trains to Matlock Bath from Derby and Nottingham operate Monday to Saturday and every two hours on Sundays.
The Illuminations today concentrate on the lighting of natural features, such as rock outcrops, trees and the thermal waters in the Derwent Gardens.
The decorated boats remain a central feature of the event. Tradition dictates a maximum of ten models on the river and the subjects change each year - each model is adorned with thousands of pea lights, powered by lorry batteries, and are made by the Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders' Association.
The decorated models are mounted on rowing boats and then paraded each Saturday and Sunday on the River Derwent. As darkness falls the boats disappear into the blackness below, leaving the models apparently gliding along just above the water.
Derbyshire Dales District Council stages Matlock Bath Illuminations at no cost to local Council Tax payers with support from some local Matlock Bath businesses.