An Interview with Andrea Ballance the chair and founder of the parade

Hello Andrea, you are the person who set the Adur Sea of Lights rolling in 2013. What was your inspiration and why did you set about doing this epic task? Is it right you had just had a baby the year you started this project? 

Hello, yes that is right, I had a little newborn and a child just starting in reception. Looking back it was a lot to put on myself and I probably shouldn't have done it, especially as my baby was in and out of the hospital a lot for the first year of his life. It was very stressful. Sometimes though, I feel you have to challenge yourself. I am not sorry I did.

I decided to start the parade because I had been a small part of a grassroots movement in the village called Lancing Regeneration and I felt it was time for me to stand up and do something to show the local councils and others that the people of Lancing were as deserving of good events as Shoreham or Worthing.

DID YOU PICK A WINTER EVENT ON PURPOSE? ITS A BIT COLD ISN'T IT? WHY NOT A SUMMER EVENT?

I picked a winter lantern parade as my project because I felt it would have the most impact on our seaside village and local area as the winter brings a reduction in tourism. I knew it would be a beautiful thing to watch for people of all ages and I knew, if we got the marketing right, it could bring economic growth into the area as well as give an area know for deprivation a real arts event on it door step. 

WHAT HAVE YOU PERSONALLY ENJOYED THE MOST ABOUT BEING PART OF THE PARADE ORGANISING TEAM?

The parade has had a massive effect on my life. It has made me more confident in my own skills and helped me to put my degree to use. Watching the parade be a part of keeping peoples CV's relevant, helping them find jobs after being stay at home mums or just starting out for example, has been very rewarding too. The biggest joy for me is the kids. I realised the other day that some kids do not know their village without the parade as it has been a part of their primary school experience. That made me really stop and appreciate how the parade is forming kids views on their village and art.

THE PARADE HAS BEEN GOING NOW FOR FIVE YEARS, WHERE DO YOU SEE IT GOING FROM HERE?

I feel the parade needs to start getting artier and start bringing in more local street performers. I am keen to investigate a plan I have for lantern display but everything relies heavily on finding. Unfortunately, I am not a great grant writer.

WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED THE MOST ABOUT BEING A PART OF THE PARADE?

The parade has had a massive effect on my life. It has made me more confident in my own skills and helped me to put my degree to use. I am very proud of the lanterns I have made over the years. Watching the parade be a part of people CV's, helping them find jobs after being stay at home mums or just starting out has been very rewarding too. The biggest joy for me is the kids. I realised the other day that some kids do not know their village without the parade as it has been a part of their primary school experience. That made me really stop and appreciate how the parade is forming kids views on their village and art.
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