Region gets ready to party

Joseph Bulmer

Barnstaple and Bideford plan New Year’s Eve entertainment for revellers.

BARNSTAPLE and Bideford are promising a night out like no other tomorrow (Saturday) as each town gears up to welcome thousands of New Year’s Eve revellers.

Both towns have organised plenty of entertainment to help people see in 2012 in style.

In Barnstaple, a free outdoor family-friendly party is being held on the Square from 9pm with live music, stage entertainment, prizes, food, and midnight fireworks.

The event, being organised for the fifth year running by a small voluntary committee, will help raise money for local charities.

Event chairman Ian Roome said: “It’s a family friendly event; we have children in push chairs, right up to elderly party-goers, which is lovely.”

Among the local musicians performing are Nikita Payne, Pete Buffery and Gemma Macleod, who will be singing in the New Year with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

Road closures will be in place from 9pm-1am at Lower Boutport Street, Taw Vale, Belle Meadow, and Barnstaple Bridge.

Event host and co-organiser James Chapple added: “We’d like to say a huge thank-you to Barnstaple Town Council, BID Barnstaple and all the businesses who have supported us this year, including Evans Transport, who are providing the stage.”

In Bideford, party planners promise the historic quayside will be awash with colour, with a dazzling laser light show set to music among the entertainment being offered.

The temporary road closure comes into force at 6pm and the action on the former Radio 1 Roadshow stage will get underway soon after.

Entrainment includes traditional fairground rides, street dancing displays, and a children’s fancy dress parade with prizes for the best fancy dress.

The evening will be hosted by presenters from North Devon independent radio station The Voice.

This year, from 9pm, the station will be beaming the celebrations live to online listeners around the world.

Bideford Festival committee chairman, Steve Clarke, said: “People who perhaps aren’t able to join us on the quayside will be able to get a real flavour of what New Year in Bideford means to the many thousands of people who descend on the town.

“We’re really excited at the prospect of this collaboration and what it could potentially mean to many thousands of Voice listeners worldwide.”

Presenter Paul Hopper will be onstage from 9pm and Bideford singer Della will be performing a medley of contemporary hits from 9.30pm.

Della and Paul will be back onstage for the big build up to the countdown, piper and spectacular firework display.

Street Pastors will be supporting the work of the emergency services and revellers in both towns are being encouraged to leave glass bottles at home and dispose of any rubbish in the waste bins provided.

To listen to live online coverage of the Bideford celebrations, visit

For more details of the Barnstaple party, visit or find the event on Facebook.

Torrington, too, will be in party mood to welcome in the New Year.

The Torrington Cavaliers will once again be holding their free Party in the Square, centred around their roadshow trailer disco, which will be providing the entertainment from eight until late.

Recent years have seen the crowds grow apace, with around 1,000 people filling the square last year and fancy dress galore.

When midnight arrives there will be free party poppers for all!

A strong Ilfracombe New Year’s Eve tradition continues on Saturday as the town prepares to celebrate the start of 2012.

In the hour preceding midnight hundreds will make their way down to “the square” at the junction of the Quay and Broad Street for the annual impromptu New Year celebration.

At the appointed hour the chimes of Big Ben will ring out and the packed square will raise its voice in a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, with families and revellers joining forces for a real community celebration.

No one quite knows when or how this spontaneous party tradition began but it has become a huge favourite and the place to see in the New Year in Ilfracombe.