Desperate appeal sounded to save Old Dalby Day

Russ Hamer and some of the other Old Dalby Day volunteers who are appealing for more help to keep the popular event going EMN-180219-120018001
Russ Hamer and some of the other Old Dalby Day volunteers who are appealing for more help to keep the popular event going EMN-180219-120018001
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Organisers of a popular annual village community day which last year attracted record crowds of more than 4,000 people say this year’s event may not take place because of a shortage of volunteer helpers and car parking issues.

Old Dalby Day has been a fixture in the diaries of Melton borough residents for more than 30 years with its mix of family entertainment, displays and stalls.

It also provides a valuable injection of funds for businesses, organisations and support groups based in Old Dalby.

But there is a real risk that this year’s event, scheduled as usual for the August Bank Holiday Monday, might not go ahead and a crisis meeting has been arranged for the start of next month in a bid to get more people interested in helping out on the day.

Old Dalby Day charity secretary, Russ Hamer, told the Melton Times: “Organisers are under increasing pressure as members have declined - none are getting any younger and there comes a time when their other commitments have to take precedence.

“There have also been changes this year that mean that fields kindly made available for parking in previous years are no longer available.

“Local farmers have generously stepped in, pledging use of two fields, but these are further away from the village centre.

“On applying for certain road traffic restrictions to accommodate this change a fairly long list of stipulations are now asked of the organisers by Leicestershire County Council.”

A recent appeal led to another couple of helpers coming forward but many more are needed. Organisers are unable to call on the help of members of the village cricket club, scouts, village hall, church and toddler groups because they are involved in activities to do with their own group on the day.

Mr Hamer said: “We need not only people with organisational skills but also able bodies to help move equipment, marshal on the day and clear up throughout the Bank Holiday weekend.

“Without new volunteers our long established event is at risk.”

Organisers are calling on residents to attend the public meeting, which will be held on Thursday March 1 at 7.30pm in Old Dalby Village Hall, to discuss ways of keeping the event going.

As a last resort, organisers may consider using a costly events management company but they say that would change the whole ethos of the day, with entry fees being raised and grants to local charities and groups having to be reduced or suspended.

“Its probably the biggest village event for miles, it is organised entirely by volunteers and raises a goodly amount of money for local groups,” added Mr Hamer.

“Food for the thousands of visitors during the day is provided by hardworking village groups and their funds are also boosted by it.

“We will really need to attract new volunteers and organisers to help Save Old Dalby Day.”