‘The secret of making something work in your lives is first of all, the deep desire to make it work, then the faith and belief it can work, then to hold that clear definite vision in your consciousness and see it working out, step by step, without one thought of doubt or disbelief’ By Eileen Caddy of the Findhorn Foundation, Scotland.

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Everyone has their very special memories, but even 16 years on, I can remember every special minute of this very special night – the very first night of the Lytham Proms (Now renamed ‘the Lytham Festival’) A Festival conceived by me, but brought about by the the sheer hard work, dedication, enthusiasm and knowledge of a miasma of people on the Fylde Coast, and the funding of BAE Systems, in the hope that the event would benefit charity, boost tourism, and most importantly, bring our Fylde Coast Community together, through the medium of music

From a very young age, music had always been a very important part of my family’s life. As a family, we would watch all the traditional British events together on television such as ‘Last Night of the Proms’ at the Albert Hall, The Remembrance Service at the Royal Albert Hall, and Midnight Mass at Christmas. I was also a keen supported of the Classical Outdoor concerts at Leighton Hall, Carnforth, and Lyme Park, Cheshire. Although I never showed any particular talent musically, I was besotted with music and sang in both Church and School Choirs and, in later years, in local Operatic Society Shows and with Choral Societies. Not, for one moment, could I ever have envisaged what my passion for music would lead to!

Well, that was until one night. It was a Saturday evening and I had been watching a Programme on television about Glyndebourne Opera Company. Whether Glyndebourne had inspired me or not, I went to bed and dreamt very vividly of a large green space filled to the brim with happy people who were laughing and singing and waving flags to music. The next morning, I woke early, recalled the dream in technicolour and very quickly realised that as far as I was aware there was no outdoor event of this kind had ever been staged on the Fylde Coast,and the Fylde Coast contained the most beautiful vast open spaces needed for such an event. In a fervour of purpose, I started scribbling down the dream and jotting down draft plans and ideas…I was on a mission and its fair to say that I never ever felt the shadow of a doubt about the concept for a minute, despite the fact that an event of this scale and magnitude could be considered ‘risky’ to say the least, and require much time and manpower. I just had the utmost confidence that some day ‘my dream’ would happen and be successful.

And as I worked into the small hours on the research and event planning, I would happily sit and listen to Classic FM. But one day, whilst I was working and listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons I realised that the music sounded distorted and tinny and noticed that I could no longer hear the Violin Solo…..Yes, I had suffered hearing loss since my teens but this was different….and I felt very scared and worried for the future.

But my enthusiasm for the event took over and I put my fears to oneside and managed to produce some draft plans and ideas.

But now I had finished planning, what was I to do with my Plans and Ideas?

As if by sheer chance, the week after I had finished my planning, I was in a meeting at BAE Systems, where I was employed as a Secretary, and employees were asked for ideas (both large scale and small scale) to help raise money for the Charity Challenge initiative.

Turning a vision into reality

Turning a vision into reality

It was one of those light bulb moments, I had always wanted my idea to benefit the Fylde Coast, charity and community and I very much liked the idea of the event benefitting the BAE Systems Charity Challenge initiative, but wondered whether BAE Systems would consider an idea of this scale, especially from someone with very little Project Management experience. Part of me, in all my eagerness, wanted to talk about my idea and plans there and then but, after all the time it had taken to bring this concept together, I was now akin to a mother hen, who felt more than a little protective, and it was at least a couple of weeks, before I made a decision on how to move forward.

So I decided the best way forward was just to send a very brief outline of my idea to the Head of Charity Challenge. And within the hour I had an email back from the Head asking me if I could present my ideas and plans to both BAE Management and the Charity Challenge Committee the following Monday.

And I did. And…..as they say…..the rest is history.

Ringing in the Proms

Ringing in the Proms

So, ten months later, on a very balmy summers evening in July, after a very steep learning curve and much hard work by many, I looked over a sea of over 4,500 happy faces with their picnic hampers, union jacks and …..candleabres…chatting, eating , singing, and waltzing under the evening sun, and I felt a sense of pride. Pride that somehow a normal ordinary everyday person had created an idea, which had been turned into a reality, and which had, all in one go, benefitted community, charity and tourism.

And as I later looked on and watched the crowd waving their flags to ‘Rule Britannia’ a feeling of deflation descended, as is often the way when an important project comes to an end, and I thought ‘What Next?’ And as the firework display illuminated the night sky, I realised that I could no longer hear the crackle and bangs of the fireworks and I knew exactly what my next challenge would be……