Grant boost for flame celebration

NEEDHAM Market’s Paralympic Flame Celebrations have been given a cash boost of more than £20,000 by Arts Council England.

The town, one of only 34 communities across the country and the only Suffolk town hosting a Paralympic Torch Relay celebration, will stage the spectacular event on August 24.

The money, a total of £21,500, will be spent on three key areas – a big scale installation on Needham Lake including fireworks by Avanti Display UK, an art installation by Needham Market artist and flame ambassador Amy Nettleton and a resource centre promoting future arts projects in the area.

Zoey Furzer, arts officer at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “Avanti’s speciality is to create big scale performances using fireworks, water features and theatrical lighting.

“We had planned a very strong programme of events but this grant should take it to another level.”

Kevin Hunter, Needham Market Town clerk, said: “Had there not been the grant from the Arts Council the event would have had to be scaled down.

“The grant really takes the pressure off and allows us to concentrate on other areas of the organisation.

“The priority for the town council now is now the procession through the town – we are expecting around four or five thousand people. It will be an occasion of a lifetime.”

Mayor Kay Oates said: “It is brilliant news about the grant. It is a going to be such a fantastic occasion for Needham Market, we are absolutely thrilled.”