Group hits out at ‘republican’ claims

A MATLOCK community arts group has hit back at claims they are snubbing the royal wedding.

In last week’s Mercury we reported that Matlock Live had declined an invitation by the town council to take part in the April festivities because members are republicans.

Shocked councillors slammed the group’s decision not to put up flags in Hall Leys Park after a report presented to them by Catherine Rawas, the town council’s community and development officer, stated group members were anti the monarchy.

But this week Sarah Bradnock, one of the directors of the group, said they declined to take part in the celebrations because they had not yet received any funding which would enable them to decorate the park.

She added: “We were approached by the town council in February to consider using some of the resources from the Flags and Banners Group to create flags and banners to decorate the park as part of the royal wedding celebrations.

“We declined this invitation on the grounds that as we were not yet in receipt of this funding it would not be possible for us to run this as a project.

“In fact it appears that the only information presented to the town council was a comment that seems to represent the private view of one member of the group, whilst the factual information provided in a written response by email in response to the invitation has been completely ignored.”

Director Phil Askham, said last week he had strong personal views and regretted making the comment about being republican.

Sarah said over the last few years the group had created a variety of projects and events for the community and the group was planning to host workshops with the funding from the Flags and Banners Group, which she claimed was around £500 – not £1,000 as stated in last week’s Mercury.

She said: “A project like this also takes time to plan and develop – the management of all our events is currently undertaken by three directors who give freely of their time, and who in some cases give up opportunities for paid work in order to ensure these events happen.”

To see the group’s full response to the article go to