‘Grim’ student torcher parade needs to do more to raise cash for charity, says MSP

One of the two lorries which were unmanned
One of the two lorries which were unmanned

Talks will be held on ways to improve Aberdeen’s Torcher Parade after it was dismissed as “grim” this year.

Hundreds of people turned out on Union Street to see the procession, which involved students from various associations trying to raise cash for charity.

In years gone by, the floats were elaborately decorated with the students in silly costumes putting on a show to entertain the crowds as they passed.

But this year, several of the floats had minimal decorations – and two of the 20 even trundled down the road with not a single student on board.

In years gone by, the student torcher parade attracted thousands of spectators

Last night, Mark McDonald MSP, who was involved in the 2003 parade when he was a student, said the parade needs to be spectacular in order to generate as much cash as possible for charities in need, especially after it was cancelled for a year in 2016.

Crowds line School Hill to watch the parade in 2003

He said: “It was grim.

“During the 2003 parade, I remember a huge amount of time and effort was put into making really elaborate floats and putting together really impressive costumes, but it just seems that the spirit isn’t really there now to the extent of previous years.

“It’s fair to say that if people feel the parade is not the spectacle it once was, then people will simply not attend and less money will be generated for charity as a consequence.”

A spokeswoman for the Aberdeen University Students Association, which organised the parade, said: “A huge amount of effort and commitment went into this year’s parade and we’d like to thank all of the lorry drivers, students and volunteers who supported this popular event and everyone who donated to help local charities.

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“One or two floats were decorated, however due to unforeseen circumstances they couldn’t be occupied on the day.

“Our priority was ensuring the health and safety of the public and complying with the conditions set down by the city council and Police Scotland while delivering the best show possible.

“We will be seeking constructive feedback on how to improve next year’s Torcher Parade and how more people can get involved.”