Letters round-up: Sorry for Santa slip-up

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In this week’s letters round-up, Aylesbury’s town centre manager says she is sorry for an oversight which may have spoiled the Santa Parade for some spectators.


I am writing in response to Mr Matthews letter last week and his experience at the Santa’s parade.

Both the Aylesbury Town Centre Partnership and the Friars Square Shopping Centre work hard all year to provide this free event for all our visitors.

This year’s parade had over 300 people taking part which was a large increase on previous years.

For the purpose of the parade, the centre staff were instructed to concentrate on crowd control and public safety ensuring that all spectators and shopping centre customers were able to enjoy the parade.

Unfortunately due to an oversight, there was a lack of signage in the centre informing the public of the parade route.

We have empathy for all of our spectators that were disappointed and the centre did arrange for Santa to reappear to meet the children that he had missed.

The parade was a mixture of professional entertainers, local dance groups and local businesses. The local businesses help fund this event and were only allowed to hand out flyers that had special offers in them.

The parade was predominantly outside and due to health and safety issues not all the participants were able to enter the centre – novelty car, donkeys, pony and sleigh and one of the large street performers.

We have taken the feedback seriously and are already considering how we can change the route next year for maximum enjoyment for all our visitors.

After the event there was an array of entertainment and activities across the town including funfair rides, go karts, bouncy dome with a range of free activities, from the 80ft inflatable to free donkey rides and bowling.

We are sorry that some of the spectators were not able to fully enjoy Santa in the parade and appreciate feedback so that changes can be made for future years.

Diana Fawcett, Town Centre Manager and Andy Margieson, Friars Square Shopping Centre Manager


I was astonished to read the negative comment which appeared in last week’s Bucks Herald regarding the Christmas Parade..

I went to see the parade with my daughter (we are both adults!) and thought it was fabulous.

It was lovely to see the people of Aylesbury attending such a lovely event.

We laughed at the snowman carrying the gentleman on the chair and enjoyed watching the children’s faces.

It must have brought a lot of extra people into the town centre and the restaurants appeared busy.

Well done Aylesbury town centre for organising such a grade parade and all for free!

V Albrighton



I recently attended a concert at Waterside theatre to commemorate the centenary of WW1.

This was the first time the combined singers of Aylesbury Festival Choir and Aylesbury Choral Society have been able to put on a concert in this very expensive venue; supported by an excellent professional orchestra they gave a superb and very moving performance as did the young musicians from Aylesbury Music Centre.

The concert attracted a large and appreciative audience who clearly enjoyed it.

It was however, spoilt by the mismanagement of the theatre’s technical staff who do not seem to understand the sound and lighting requirements for this type of concert.

The stage lighting was set so that the performers could not be clearly seen – in fact when the conductor faced the audience to take a bow his face was in total shadow and the audience lights were too dark to read the programme notes and the words of The Armed Man - the main choral piece of the concert.

What a shame that the high performance standards of our two local amateur choirs was not matched by the staff of a professionally managed theatre which is costing local taxpayers a lot of money.

Name and address supplied


I am writing to you and your readers on behalf of the Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity (FNHC), to say a huge thank you for making our 25th anniversary year, a very special one.

It has been an extremely busy time for everyone involved with the Charity – our staff, volunteers and supporters alike.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for your dedication and commitment in our celebratory year.

We have benefitted from some very special events throughout the year.

It was December 1989, when the Florence Nightingale Hospice first opened its doors after a public campaign to raise £500,000 – funds needed to build the Hospice and create a first-class palliative care service, accessible and free-of-charge to all on our doorstep.

The campaign was led by many local and long-standing supporters, including Barbara Lucas, who the Charity honoured along with other founding members at our 25th anniversary party at the start of our silver jubilee year.

As Executive Director of Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, I hear many personal stories from families who are supported in some way by Florence Nightingale Hospice and the vital, local services it provides.

FNHC is delighted to continue to fund services including the new post within the Hospice of Discharge Liaison Nurse – a role which supports patients and their families when making the transition from the Hospice back home.

Our continued funding of the Nightingale 24/7 Care service – a team of carers who provide ‘hands-on’ support for patients at a crucial time of need, and who wish to receive care in their own home, has meant that over 2,500 hours of care were provided this year. The Florrie’s Children’s Team, which the Charity fully funds at a cost of over £100,000, is an important lifeline for parents who need regular help and support with a sick child at home, often ‘round the clock’.

Our Charity shops go from strength to strength. Our shop managers and their team of volunteers work extremely hard throughout the year to ensure our shops look fresh and inviting.

Thanks to all our customers, we can continue to raise money to fund Hospice services.

We would like to thank everyone who has signed up to our Gift Aid scheme, which provides an extra 25p in the pound towards funds raised.

We hope to further expand the Charity’s retail arm in 2015 by opening new shops within the local area as and when the opportunity arises.

Our fundraising team has been extremely busy this year with the usual packed calendar of events to suit all tastes. We’ve seen a big increase in the number of supporter activities taking place – with local groups, schools and individuals all getting involved in fun activities to help raise funds.

We also have a new community fundraising group in Haddenham - a team of enthusiastic volunteers, already making news in the village, with their innovative events.

The group has so far raised over £1,600 thanks to wonderful local support. We are keen to hear from any other supporters in local towns or villages, who would like to get involved in organising events, so please do get in touch if you fancy a New Year challenge in support of the Hospice.

Our new team of Young Ambassadors – launched at July’s Gemstone Midnight Walk, have been actively getting behind some of our events; helping to spread the word about local Hospice care amongst peers and appealing to the younger generation to help support the Hospice and secure services for the next 25 years.

As always, we simply could not do what we do without our fantastic team of volunteers – now over 450.

We are very proud to say, we have a wide age range of volunteers supporting our work, from 14 years old right up to 80.

Our volunteers do a variety of roles at the Hospice, in our shops, as drivers and in the Charity office to help prepare for our many fundraising events.

We were delighted to celebrate with and thank all our volunteers for their generous donation of time and expertise at a ‘thank you’ street party held in June.

We are always in need of extra pairs of hands, so if you have any spare time and would like to support your local Florence Nightingale Hospice, please find more information here – www.fnhospice.org.uk/main_menu/get-involved/volunteering/ I must also mention here local rotary club members and freemasons who have supported so many of our events, particularly this year – thank you for your fantastic support.

Local businesses continue to support the Charity through our Corporate Companion Scheme, sponsorship, by giving time, volunteering at our events or by partnering with us.

As ‘Charity of the Year’ for Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre, we are currently holding a ‘Rags to Riches Appeal’ and you can help support the campaign today by taking along any unwanted clothing and dropping them off at the ‘donation station’ inside the theatre foyer. The campaign will run throughout panto season.

Readers will know the Bucks Herald very kindly supported our 25th year with a weekly feature, which many of our supporters have commented on and has helped us greatly raise awareness of the Charity’s work and services at the Hospice – thank you.

Florence Nightingale Hospice touches many people’s hearts, and it is at this poignant time of year when we all think about loved ones and remember loved ones no longer with us.

Please spend a little time this festive season to think about our patients who need specialist palliative care throughout Christmas.

This care and support is provided by a very special team of nurses, carers and volunteers, which make the Hospice the special place it is today.

We hope with your wonderful support, we can continue to fund over £600,000 towards palliative care services, for both adults and children, for many more years to come.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Sue Jenkins

Executive director, Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity