Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has issued a response addressing concerns about the future of Saddleworth’s Whit Friday Band Contests.
Debbie Abrahams said: “Following approaches from constituents I will do everything I can to support the organisers of Saddleworth’s Whit Friday Band Concerts as these events are such an important part of the area’s heritage and it’s local volunteers who are putting their hearts and souls into trying to keep this wonderful tradition going.
“I have spoken with some of the contest organisers, the Police and the council so I can understand the specific issues each has and how these might be addressed so the future of the Band Contest can be secured.
“Although I know Chief Superintendent Tim Forber is committed to supporting the contest he has had to make some changes to the event’s finish times as he is juggling a reduced budget and cuts to the number of police officers available to him. And the Council is also facing severe cuts so it’s not unreasonable that the band contest organisers are being asked to share responsibility for the clean-up afterwards.
“I am concerned, however, that some organisers are saying that the Council was slow to respond to their event plans which made it very hard to get everything done on time. The Council deny this was the case but it’s clearly an issue that needs to be addressed by both sides so I will be monitoring the progress of the planning process for next year’s events.
“Finally, everyone agrees that the tragic death of Alan Chamberlain at the Greenfield contest in 2010 is one too many. We do need to make sure that health & safety requirements are adhered to. Those people that I have spoken to accept the need for undertaking risk assessments for the events and all have a common sense approach helping wherever they can to mitigate any risks.”