As chairman of Leyland Festival, Martin’s key responsibilities include chairing meetings and booking acts for the stage, as well as bands in the procession. He took up the role of chairman after being invited by festival director Karen Shaw to be part of the festival committee. He plays a big role in the Leyland community, also holding the chairman position on Leyland Town Team and organising the Christmas light switch on.
For Martin, every element of the festival is important, but after a two-year absence he’s especially looking forward to seeing the town reunited. “I’m hoping that more people than ever will be tempted to come along to Leyland Festival this year. We’ve been away for a long time and our return coincides with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It’s going to be a good old celebration, just what everyone needs. What’s more, this year’s event is going to be free, and we hope that will make it accessible for everyone.”
New traditions will be introduced this year. Martin hopes that these fresh new elements, coupled with tried, tested and much-loved traditions, will form part of the legacy of this festival era. Martin has his own fond memories of festivals past: “There is no finer feeling than walking in the procession with thousands lining the streets. It sends shivers down your back. Anyone who has taken part will know what I mean.”
Martin is vice chairman of the committee with the additional responsibility for organising food and drink traders. A trader himself, as joint owner of The Flying Pig Pizza Company, he’s well placed to ensure that the people behind this important aspect of the festival are well looked after.
But Martin’s biggest goal is to reignite community spirit around the festival. This year his company will sponsor of the Best Dressed Float competition, awarding the winning entry with a £1,000 community pizza party from The Flying Pig Pizza Co.
Bringing people together to celebrate the history of the town, while also enjoying a memorable day out is, in Martin’s view, the festival’s biggest achievement. “Hopefully this year the combination of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the bank holiday and free entrance to Worden Park will ensure the festival is bigger and better than ever. I hope it leaves a legacy of people wanting to get involved for years to come.
“I am also looking forward to the much-expanded Motor Village which will be a great crowd pleaser. With so many more new people now living in the area and much more to do and see, I hope everyone comes along to see what a great occasion it is.”
Steve has played an active role in Leyland Festival since it was re-established in 2016. His involvement has grown from connecting Leyland Trucks with the festival – in celebration on the town’s motor heritage and legacy – to a position on the Board providing direction for the festival and in particular its motoring elements. This year he’s working closely with South Ribble Borough Council, Leyland Car Care and The British Commercial Vehicle Museum to offer direction and support on the parade and the Worden Motor Village.
Steve tries to take in every element of the event, from watching the parade build up on Centurian Way to soaking up the excitement in Leyland’s pubs when it’s all over. For him, the best part of the day is seeing crowds several deep lining the streets as the parade passes through.
“It is as powerful to me now as it was when I was a youngster experiencing it all those years ago,” he says, proud to have played a part in creating a significant community event, solely for the good of the community.
2022 will be special for Steve as he looks forward to seeing the crowds back on the streets and new ideas come to fruition. He hopes that people will look back on this era as the time when organisers brought the festival back and provided something for the community to enjoy and be involved in.
Tony has been instrumental in reviving Leyland Festival over the last 12 years. As a former chair, he’s now treasurer and takes responsibility for the financial running of the event.
For Tony, the thrill of seeing so many varied floats parading through town over the years, and the pleasure it gives to local people, especially children, make up his fondest memories of Leyland Festival. He believes that the festival has breathed new life into the town and surrounding areas, expanding from its original commercial vehicle parade to develop interest from schools and community groups.
Tony’s hope is that the festival team will continue to develop new ideas to ensure the festival meets the expectations of the local community. Alongside fellow committee members, he’s working to ensure that the festival captures the interest and excitement of younger people who can continue the festival’s legacy.
In 2022, he’s looking forward to good weather, a bumper crowd, and an exciting family fun day with something to suit all age groups, and he’s proud to be providing free tickets for the festival’s return from COVID.
A director of the festival committee, Tim is currently responsible for liaising with everyone involved with the floats and parade. He originally got involved with the event through The Rotary Club of Leyland, where alongside other members he would assist on the gates and organise and recruit volunteers. When Leyland Festival Limited was formed, Tim was welcomed as a director.
For Tim, the festival’s biggest achievement has been bringing the town together. He credits Leyland Festival and the town’s Christmas Festival as both having a significant impact on the local community. He hopes that the impact of the festival will only expand as the festival grows.
“I am most looking forward to seeing the involvement of the community this year. We live in exponentially changing times, and I hope that the contribution the festival has made to the community will be fondly remembered and bring about a greater community spirit.
“This year’s event forms part of the Queen’s Jubilee weekend. It’s going to be a brilliant start to the celebration.”
Michael has been involved with Leyland Festival for 19 years, contributing to the growth of the event and its smooth running for nearly two decades. He originally took up the challenge alongside his role as a councillor on South Ribble Borough Council, which he held for 10 years.
For Michael, the magic of the festival comes from seeing all the community come together. As the years have gone by, he’s found it fantastic to watch this develop.
To enable the event to continue for generations to come,
Michael hopes to see more participation in the procession from local businesses, schools and community groups. He also hopes for good weather!
“I encourage people to come along with their families. There will be something for all generations to enjoy. The more people visit, the more we can build on this event year on year.”
A Leylander through and through, Cllr Matthew Tomlinson started volunteering for the festival committee when the event was relaunched in the 2000s. As a councillor on both South Ribble Borough Council and Lancashire County Council, Matthew’s aim is to connect the council and festival for the benefit of all involved. “I was really happy to be asked to join the committee more recently and I try to use my contacts at South Ribble to ensure that the council can be as supportive as possible.”
For Matthew, Leyland Festival is an important part of the town’s community and history. “I’ve attended Leyland Festivals for more years than I care to remember. It’s always been an important part of the town’s cultural calendar. As a child it almost always seemed to be blessed with glorious weather, although more recently I remember some spectacularly wet days too!”
The festival’s growth and continued to success is important to Matthew, who hopes that the event coinciding with the Queen’s jubilee will make it a real red-letter day in Leyland’s history.
As director of Leyland Car Care, Tim brings his motoring expertise and connections to Leyland Festival to oversee the vehicle parade and motoring elements of the event.
In 2022, visitors will be welcomed to Worden Motor Village: a celebration of weird, wonderful and awe-inspiring vehicles. A wealth of different zones will span out from a central island hub – from an American Zone to eco vehicles and a supercar section – making the field easier to navigate and more engaging for lovers of all different types of motor vehicle. The very best of those vehicles will convoy through the town as a major part of the festival parade that kicks off the day.
Tim began his stint with the festival driving the parade, and his fondest memories of the event are of seeing kids smile as they get close up to a special vehicle. During his time on the committee, he’s seen Leyland’s reputation as a motoring hub grow and develop, a testament to the town’s history and exciting glimpse into its future. He’s also proud of the growth that the festival has achieved in recent years.
Tim, however, hopes that the legacy of this era of the festival will be making the celebration more diverse than ever in its history: “I’d encourage as many people as possible to come along to the festival this year to see the new Worden Motor Village, and to celebrate the day’s return – bigger and better than ever after a pause over the last two years.”