Thousands of spectators line the seafront for final light parade

Scarborough Mayor Cllr Andrew Backhouse rode pillion at the head of the last Goldwings Light Parade on Saturday. Picture by Dave Barry.
Scarborough Mayor Cllr Andrew Backhouse rode pillion at the head of the last Goldwings Light Parade on Saturday. Picture by Dave Barry.

Scarborough’s much-loved Goldwing Light Parade roared into town for the sixth and final time on Saturday.

Despite last month’s announcement that the popular event was set to be axed, this year’s spectacle was bigger than ever, with around 10,000 spectators lining the seafront.

The Scarborough News revealed the RNLI fundraiser would not take place next year as organisers felt unable to continue with the demands associated with staging the event.

The news came as a major blow to the town’s residents and visitors who flock to the South Bay to watch the dazzling motorbike display each year.

Although there have been calls to salvage the parade, its main organiser John Bates confirmed it would definitely not be going ahead in 2014.

He added that it was also unlikely it would take place in the town in the future due to an issue with insurance meaning he would have to shoulder the responsibility for the crowds.

He said: “The organisers would like everyone to know that we as volunteers do not wish to accept the burden of responsibility for the safety of an estimated 10,000 spectators.

“While Scarborough Council has been extremely helpful funding the road closure and giving their support, the responsibility for everyone attending the event still falls upon two people. As I am sure you can appreciate this is too great a burden for two volunteers to shoulder. Should this scenario change in future it may be possible to bring this flagship charity event back to Scarborough.”

Around 130 bikes and trikes from Goldwing clubs across the country gathered on the seafront on Saturday. Many of the riders wore fancy dress and played music on powerful four-speaker sound systems on their motorbikes.

This year more than £5,000 was raised for Scarborough and Filey RNLI Lifboats, bringing the event’s fundraising total over the last six years to almost £32,500.

Mr Bates said it was at least double last year’s turn-out, which was part of the reason the event had to be shelved.

“It’s gone from a little fundraising event to a major attraction. It has simply become a victim of its own success,” he said.

“Somebody has to take responsibility for the safety of all those people along the route. At the moment it falls on our shoulders and it’s too much. We don’t want to be the people signing our names against anything that could result in a claim.

“Whether or not anything can be done about that remains to be seen but it’s definitely not happening again next year.”

Mr Bates stressed that Scarborough Council was not to blame for the decision, following a public backlash against the authority.

He said: “They have been fantastic and it’s not fair to criticise them. They have helped this event right from the start and have been nothing but good to us, so I don’t have a problem with them. It’s just the circumstances have changed and that’s the reality.”