Iconic attraction celebrates 90th anniversary

Visitors to Stanley Park rolled back the years to celebrate the attraction’s 90th birthday.

And among guests marking the occasion was the great grandson of the man who officially opened the park back in 1926.

Iconic attraction celebrates 90th anniversary

Iconic attraction celebrates 90th anniversary

Lord Derby re-enacted the ceremony originally carried out by his great grandfather by formally unlocking the gates on West Park Drive.

He was accompanied by dignitaries including the Mayor of Blackpool Coun Ian Coleman on Saturday afternoon.

The official party, including guests who had donned 1920s garb for the occasion, then walked up the main path towards the Art Deco Cafe flanked by children from 10 Blackpool schools wearing fancy dress to represent each decade since the park opened.

The event had been organised by the Friends of Stanley Park, chaired by Elaine Smith.

The Earl told a crowd assembled in front of the Italian Gardens: “When my great grandfather opened it, it was a little simpler I suspect.

“The flowers were here and some of the things he would know and expect, but if I could talk to him up above I would say, well great grandfather I went and looked at the BMX circuit.

“Well, it’s kept alive, it’s kept progressing and it is a wonderful asset to your community.”

Although the official unveiling of the park was on October 22 1926, it was decided to mark the 90th birthday this summer when the weather would be better.

Edith Wilkinson, 97, from Marton, went to the 1926 ceremony with her parents and younger brother.

Mrs Wilkinson was at the re-enactment with her daughter Jean Sanderson.

She recalled: “My father worked for Sir Lindsay Parkinson in Blackpool and that’s how we came to be at the ceremony.

“I remember it was a nasty day weather-wise, and I had a little woollen bonnet on.

“It’s lovely to be here today. The park is so well used and it’s an asset to everyone in the town.”

Ahead of Saturday’s celebrations, the ornate main gates to the park had been returned to their former glory by being repainted in black and gold.