Party In The Park shrugs off cloud of controversy to hit high notes

THE ONE AND ONLY -- Chesney Hawkes wows his fans at the show.

THE ONE AND ONLY -- Chesney Hawkes wows his fans at the show.

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A CLOUD of controversy gave way to celebration as Hucknall’s Party In The Park music extravaganza hit the high notes.

As reported in the Dispatch, doubts were cast over whether the annual flagship fundraiser in aid of the Help For Heroes charity would go ahead at all.

NHUD11-1668-11''Hucknall's Rolls-Royce Leisure Club hosted the Annual Help For Heroes fundraising event on Saturday. Members of 1803 (Hucknall) Squadron Air Training Corp tuck into camo cup cakes made by Katie Sims, centre, cadets pictured from the left are; Hollie Martin 15, Tom Davies 17, Ben Cain 14 and Adam Ventura 14.

NHUD11-1668-11''Hucknall's Rolls-Royce Leisure Club hosted the Annual Help For Heroes fundraising event on Saturday. Members of 1803 (Hucknall) Squadron Air Training Corp tuck into camo cup cakes made by Katie Sims, centre, cadets pictured from the left are; Hollie Martin 15, Tom Davies 17, Ben Cain 14 and Adam Ventura 14.

For it emerged at the 11th hour that the venue — the sports field at the Rolls-Royce Leisure complex off Watnall Road — didn’t have the correct licence.

Organisers of what is one of Hucknall’s biggest attractions were sent into a spin — and it looked as if the plug would have to be pulled after talks with Ashfield District Council and the police.

It would have meant the axe for 11 live performances, including the headline appearance of 1990s heart-throb Chesney Hawkes, who is best remembered for the mega-hit ‘The One And Only’.

But thankfully, a last-minute summit meeting paved the way for a deal that allowed a revised version of the event to go ahead.

OK, the music stage had to be taken indoors.

And OK, numbers were down on the 3,000 spectators who were originally expected to flood the site.

But those behind last Saturday’s show have still declared it a major success.

The main organiser, Ben Marshall, said: “Under the circumstances, and after the difficulties, it was a pretty good event.

“The undoubted highlight was the performance of Chesney Hawkes. What a top guy! His set was fantastic and the performance of ‘The One And Only’ brought the house down. It was rocking.

“But he also stayed around for about an hour to meet and greet fans, have his photo taken with them and sign autographs.”

More than 1,500 revellers enjoyed the day, which was again supported by Hucknall Rotary Club.

Gates opened at 12 midday and the music ran from 3 pm to 10.30 pm. The event was launched by Hucknall’s Conservative MP, Mark Spencer.

Although the music was indoors, a series of outdoor attractions went ahead as planned. These included Gordon Pearson’s ever-popular funfair.

Stalls included one run by members of the 1803 (Hucknall) squadron of the Air Training Corps (ATC).

There was also a barbecue mannedn by well-known Hucknall butcher’s, Chris Cassidy and Son, of Watnall Road. A percentage of its profits went to Help For Heroes, which supports servicemen and women injured on the front line.

As well as Chesney Hawkes, acts who took to the stage included Marshall’s own group, Phil Rostance and the Marshall Band.

There were also performances from Tastebuds, Andy Whittle, Kurt Martinez, Great British Weather, Mellow Rebellion, Laura Keetley, Allotment Dogs, Beth and Tash, Expos3 and Gasp.

This was the fourth year of Party In The Park. It was launched originally at Titchfield Park in Hucknall before switching to Rolls last year.

Mr Marshall added: “I would like to thank everyone who made this a success in difficult circumstances.

“The challenge now is to look forward to next year, learn the lessons and make the show bigger than ever.

“Our thoughts have already turned to who we might book as a headline act.”