Preston’s Guild spectacular celebrations cost more than £5m to stage, new figures have shown today.
The first figures from the historic event show the cash splashed to bring headline acts such as opera stars Jose Carreras and Katherine Jenkins, the televised Preston Passion Easter celebrations, and huge processions which lit up the city centre throughout the 12 months of events.
Preston Council has confirmed it spent the £1.5m pot set aside for the Guild, and dipped further into Town Hall coffers to the tune of nearly £1m to ensure the event went with a bang.
Today, leader Peter Rankin said the money had been “well spent” to bring more than one million visitors to the city over the course of the Guild year.
He said: “I do not think we could have spent the money any better.
“The people of Preston feel so strongly about their Guild that we could not have denied them, even in these times, where money is so hard to come by.
“During the main Guild celebrations in September, we saw the restaurants and bars filled with people, and so many people rediscovering Preston after so many years away, so we are reaping the rewards of our investment already.”
A £979,000 bill came with the transformation of Avenham and Miller Parks into a venue fit to host the main 10-day programme of celebrations, with a further £678,000 spent on the programme of events.
It drew in £265,000 from sponsorships, including with local businesses, £331,000 from various grants from trusts and foundations, and the city council’s own staff gave up £587,000 of their own time to ensure the events ran smoothly.
WHERE SOME OF THE CASH WENT
•Proms in the Park
•Lakes Alive fireworks