Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Jazz festival definitely lives on

MY daughter Francesca, who in a couple of months will be returning to the View From editorial team permanently after three years at Southampton University studying for her journalism degree, just loves a parade.

My Year Book 2010 (still selling well at Serendip) contains a centre section of all Lyme’s summer events, including a number of parades. Her favourite was always the Jazz Festival umbrella parade and no one was more disappointed when it was announced that this year’s event had been cancelled.

“But what about the umbrella parade?” she wailed.

And no one was more chuffed when I texted her on Monday evening to say that the Jazz Festival had been saved and how would she like to help organise the Saturday morning parade?

Her answer came back in a nano-second and it wasn’t long before she was on Facebook telling all and sundry.

All of us at View From are delighted that we will be helping to re-establish the jazz festival as one of Lyme’s iconic summer events.

When organiser John Fry announced that due to the fact that no one had come forward to take on the organising we started talking to Tony Colston, an experienced event manager who also owns the By the Bay restaurant, about taking over the organisation of the jazz festival.

At the same time Tony was talking to John Fry and on Monday evening we agreed that between us we would take on the job with John giving us the benefit of his long experience.

There are some obvious problems. It had been announced that the festival had been cancelled and that information had been passed on to the many jazz fanatics who descend on Lyme for the annual event.

Our job will be to promote the festival and to publicise its continuation wherever possible.
I’m no jazz expert although I do know my Dave Brubecks from by Jamie Cullums.

But you don’t have to be a jazz nut to enjoy the Lyme Jazz festival. It’s always been a very friendly event and we hope we can maintain the special atmosphere generated during the first weekend of July and add one or two innovations to make it even more enjoyable.
It’s quite a costly affair staging the festival and ticket sales have been in slow decline for a few years now.

But we hope we can win the support of everyone in the town in helping us to promote the event: tell all your friends and relatives, put the dates on your emails.

Lyme is fortunate in having Tony and Stephanie Colston living in the town. Following Monday evening’s meeting when we finalised our involvement, Tony and Steph jetted off to Borneo where they are organising a conference for an international company. Believe me, they are busy people.

Jerry Ramsdale, the boss of Lyme Media and Events Limited, publishers of the View From series, is another experienced events organiser and will bring much to the table.

With Tony and Jerry’s experience, the enthusiasm of our own staff and the dedication of the festival committee members, I’m sure we can put the Lyme Regis Jazz Festival back on a firm footing for many years to come.


I GATECRASHED this week’s event. It wasn’t a public do but a private lunch to celebrate the golden wedding of Jack and Sally Caddy, whom I’ve known for most of my adult life.

Jack and Sally, being a modest sort of couple, didn’t want any fuss. They just wanted to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary surrounded by their close family - sons Lee and Russell and their partners, and their three grandsons, the sporting brothers, Ashley and Adam, son of Russell, and Jonathan, son of Lee.

I popped up to The Mariners after lunch with my camera to record the event and, of course, get a pic for this week’s paper.

Immediately, Jack pulled up a chair and I sat down to join them in a piece of celebration cake and we got chatting about sport and the old times.

I got to know Jack and Sal very well during the 1970s when I was secretary of Lyme Regis Regatta and Carnival for nine years. For much of that time Jack was assistant secretary and looked after all the difficult jobs.

Things like putting the guttering around the marquee we erected on top of the Marine Parade shelters, chucking some Chard bikers off the walkway between the two shelters (I kid you not) and trying out the wellie boot throwing course on the beach. I won’t tell you how that finished.

Jack took over all the complicated tasks which allowed me to ponce around and look after Miss Lyme Regis. Well, someone had to do it.

We became firm friends and have remained so for the last 40 years. Sal ran her hairdressing salon in Coombe Street where we all had our hair cut (in my case that didn’t take too long!).
Lee and Russell were just kids during those regatta days but many years later I became mates with them through football. Lee later became my vice-chairman at the football club where we enjoyed many happy times. As a player, he was Mr Lion Heart, a Seasider through and through.

Today, Jack and Sal live a more quiet life, rightly proud of their sons and grandchildren, and Jack still enjoys his football and cricket.

They have many happy memories of their 50 years together - and it was quite obvious on Sunday that it was a great joy having their family around them for their special day.

FAMOUS CELEBRITIES IN LYME BULLETIN (No 2,349): The sun is shining and Lyme is being invaded by celebs already. Former rugby international and professional ice-dancer Kyran Bracken has been seen around town quite a few times recently, not for the first time for his parents-in-law have a holiday home here and in his rugb days often trained at the Davey Fort. And as I was finishing off this week’s column a email came pinging in from Lyme Matters celeb watcher Matt Puddy to say that Kate Bush, of Wuthering Heights fame, is currently in town and author Terry Pratchett is, as I write, enjoying a pint of cider on the terrace of the Rock Point.

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