Merton wins second prize at New Year Parade

Merton Council is celebrating another year of success at London’s New Year’s Day parade after it last week (Friday 1 Jan) won second prize for its ‘Pantoland’ float and £6,000 for the mayoral charities.

After collecting the top prize in 2009, Friday’s New Year parade was another success for Merton with its float, ‘Pantoland’ celebrating the rich theatrical tradition of the borough. Merton’s entry beat off competition from all but one of the London boroughs to be named runner up in the contest, after being awarded just one point less than this year’s winner, the London Borough of Brent.

The theme of the parade was ‘Let us entertain you’ and Merton’s float paid homage to the work and success of the three theatres in the borough with a giant-sized pantomime theme.

Merton is also celebrating the £6,000 prize the float has earned for the Mayor’s charities, Grenfell Housing and Merton Mind.

This latest scoop means Merton is now ranked second overall in the London Parade’s league of councils taking part every year since the parade began.

Mayor of Merton Councillor Nick Draper said:

“Taking part in the parade this year was a blast! It’s impossible to describe the enthusiasm, professionalism & excitement of Merton’s Team. Congratulations to everyone that helped make it happen.

” I am also delighted for my charities Merton Mind, which offers support for people with mental health problems, and Grenfell Housing, which provides housing and training for young people. The £6,000 prize will give them a boost to help continue the fantastic work they already do to help people in need around the borough.”

Councillor Geraldine Stanford, event organiser for Merton’s parade entry added:

‘This year, we were privileged to have the help of students from Wimbledon College of Art, who created and worked flat out on the giant puppets right up to New Year’s Eve to make sure they were ready. Also, it would not have been possible without the help of many volunteers working over Christmas and the New Year to achieve our success.’

Leader of Merton Council, Councillor David Williams said:

” This is another fantastic success for the borough and my congratulations go to all involved. Having Merton come first and second two years running, and now being second on the overall scoreboard, shows the commitment that goes into this project each year. Aside from the great achievement of being judged one of the best in London, the fact that it is all for the gain of local charities is all the more reason to be proud.”