|Councillors Jeremy Birch and Peter Chowney||as pirates|
If we’re now Famously Hastings then 2012 has truly been famously fantastic.
2012 was the year when the world record for people dressed as pirates gathered in one place came home to Hastings – 14,231 pirates in all. And all our other famous festivals went ahead as successfully as ever from Jack-in-the-Green in May to the bonfire procession in October. And we added another mass celebration with 50,000 turning out to greet the Olympic torch.
2012 was the year that the Jerwood Gallery opened its doors, offering to locals and visitors alike the best collection of 20th and 21st century art outside London. But it is also playing a major part in improving the external image of Hastings – which is key to attracting higher spend visitors in larger numbers, enticing people to move here or encouraging businesses to invest in a town so obviously on the way up.
2012 was the year Stade Saturdays were launched. The Stade Open Space was home to a performance big or small every Saturday night from May to September. Who can forget being chased over the site by giant sea creatures as part of the massive Pi Leau performance? On other nights we listened to string quartet or sea shanty singers.
2012 was the year of our first herring fairin November to complement our annual seafood and wine festival in September, which itself was the most successful yet. Let’s hope we can celebrate herring annually too.
2012 was the year that all the hard work ofthe Pier campaigners paid off with an £11.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to start restoring Hastings Pier as a major attraction.
2012 was the year that the St Leonards town team got off the ground with great plans to develop a separate attractive town centre with the Very St Leonards slogan but still as part of our overall Famously Hastings brand.
And 2012 was the year that finished with Hastings United reaching the third round of the FA Cup - the furthest they have ever got in their present incarnation, great for their fans and for the club’s balance sheet.
So what a year for our town – let’s see what 2013 famously brings.