- Monday, 03 September 2012 09:03
Derbyshire Dales District Council's 115th Matlock Bath Illuminations season burst into life on Saturday (1 September) with a fabulous lights show and another spectacular parade of decorated boats.
Chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales Councillor Tony Millward, with guest of honour 14-year-old Olympic torchbearer Megan Mosedale, pushed the button to light up the District Council's Derwent Gardens to start a festival of entertainment that runs every weekend until 27 October.
In his 44th year as Illuminations compere, Councillor Geoff Stevens MBE led the countdown, and local youngsters Jack (8) and Ruby (5) Fletcher helped with the switch-on in the Derwent Gardens bandstand, where Ashbourne Town Band entertained the crowds.
People picked at random from the crowds helped judge the various decorated boats and this year's winners were Matlock's Pete Hartshorn and Tansley's Christine Dence, who took the prestigious Arkwright Cup, donated in 1903 by Sir Richard Arkwright, for their 'Noddy's Car' craft. The pair also won the Centenary Cup and a cash prize of £270.
Second prize went to 'Toyland Express' by Ian Page from Cromford, who won the Plumtree Cup and £235.
Third prize was won to a Royal row barge 'Gloriana' by Matlock's Paul Hensall, who took the Sheffield Wire Rope Cup and £205. In fourth place was Cromford's Rob Easton, who won the Dave Sanderson Trophy and £170, 'King Kong'.
Ten boats in total will take part in the fantastic parade of decorated boats on the River Derwent every Saturday and Sunday from 8pm, with entertainment starting in the Derwent Gardens at 7pm.
The other six boats are 'Hot Air Balloon' by David Toplis from Tansley, 'Stobart on Tour' by Rory Harrison from Ashbourne, 'Performing Seals' by last year's winner Michael Hall from Ashbourne, 'Yellow Submarine' by Matlock's David Gregory, 'Harold on the Derwent' by Matthew Hall from Ashbourne and 'Almost the Real Thing' by David Harrison from Ashbourne.
Competition judges were Lynne and David Linacre from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Notts, Lindsey Frost and Matthew Fletcher from Chaddesden and Alex Lane and Kelly Grinyer from Albrighton near Wolverhampton.
The parade of boats was led once again this year by the traditional candle boat, lit by 85 night lights and rowed by Matlock Bath man George Holloway, aged 83. This year the candle boat, put together by all the boat builders, celebrated the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Megan Mosedale, who proudly carried the Olympic flame through Ashbourne two months ago, shared the duty of switching on the Illuminations with Councillor Millward, who said:
"It really was a fantastic night. Before the official opening I chatted with people in the huge crowd and it was amazing how many wanted their photograph taken with Megan and her Olympic torch.
"I really enjoyed the first night of the 2012 season and I have to say the District Council deserves a lot of credit not only for organising such a stunning event again this year but aiming to do so once more at no cost to our Council Tax payers. I will certainly be returning before the season ends."
To beat the queues, advance tickets are available from the Peak District Mining Museum and online 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. Tickets are available on the night from the Ticket Office behind the Grand Pavilion in Matlock Bath.
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.
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
- More about transport and parking and our entertainment programme.
- More about the history of Matlock Bath Illuminations.
Photos by Andrew Eyley