Penarth Town Council’s Leisure and Amenities Committee – considering a report on this year’s Christmas Festival – have been told of the high charges made by local tv personality Derek Brockway for participating in civic ceremonies.
The committee was considering whether any personalities living locally would consider officiating at this year’s Christmas Lights Switch-on ceremony in Penarth.
The Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Cuddy (Labour St Augustines), mentioned – en passant – the possibility of inviting BBC Wales Today weatherman Derek Brockway to officiate. [Derek Brockway had performed the switch-on at Christmas 2013].
Cllr Neil Thomas (Labour Cornerswell) pointed out that “He costs money”.
Deputy Town Clerk Keri Hutchings said that the council had invited “celebrities” before – but it was “such a hit and miss thing” that a decision had been made instead to invite the winner of the previous year’s Christmas shop window competition to perform the switch on.
However, playing her cards close to her chest, the Town Clerk Emma Smith appeared to suggest that a “celebrity” might yet be involved, . She said enigmatically “We have got two people who could essentially do it this year – and I’m not saying any more than that ” – and did not name the personalities she had in mind.
When the Mayor, Cllr Cuddy, enquired whether this was “a duo” – he was told the two potential celebrity participants would not necessarily appear together . One personality was being envisaged as provisional “fall-back” in the event of the Penarth Council’s first choice of personality turning down the invitation .
Cllr Clive Williams (Conservative Plymouth Ward ) said “It always amazes me when you’ve got people that live locally , that they won’t give up half-an-hour of their time to come and do something for the community”.
A former Mayor of Penarth, Cllr Williams recalled that some 12 years ago he had invited BBC Wales weatherman Derek Brockway to launch some balloons at an event. He had paid for Mr Brockway’s parents to also attend the function – “but then we had a bill for £600 from his agent”.
Mr Brockway – Cllr Williams said – had subsequently switched on the Christmas Lights at Penarth and that had resulted in a bill of around £700.
Cllr Williams said “I’m not picking on him particularly – but surely we’ve got people here to do this at no fee”. Cllr Williams and others suggested a number of personalities including Bryn Terfel, Rebecca Evans and Joe Ledley.
Cllr Rosemary Cook (Labour St Augustines) [who was Mayor of Penarth last year when the Christmas Lights Switch-On had to be cancelled because of the weather], asked for clarification as to exactly who would be switching on the lights this year .
It was confirmed that the ceremony would be performed by the winners of the 2015 Christmas shop-window competition [who were Rebecca and Justin Horton of the Funky Monkey children’s clothing shop in Windsor Road] along with the Mayor of Penarth.
This year’s Christmas Festival Christmas Lights Switch On will be held unprecedentedly early – on November 20th.