VIDEO: Victory again for Merton in New Year's Day parade
It was two victories in a row for Merton in a London-wide New Year’s Day competition.
Merton’s fourth win in seven years yesterday came courtesy of an innovative design of an air balloon steered by none other than Admiral Lord Nelson called ‘My Fair London’.
The New Year's Day Parade and Festival, in central London, was themed 'Hats off to London - Celebration Capital of the World' and was watched by more than half a million people.
Coordinated by Councillor Geraldine Stanford, the float was built by students from Wimbledon College of Art, with support from concept designer Peter Wallder from the Colour House Theatre in Colliers Wood.
The Younger Generation Theatre performed a dance routine to ‘London’, a song written by Councillor Linda Kirby.
Mr Wallder revealed the original design for the float had failed just one week before the day of the parade, prompting a frantic rush to design and build a new one during the peak of the festive season.
He said: “It was a really fantastic result this year because it was such a challenge to redesign it at the last minute.
“It was an amazing event and had a spectacular ending when 1000 helium balloons were released.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years and have had four victories, so this may be time to retire so I can go out on a high.”
Merton's float is supported by volunteers including from charity Wimbledon Guild, to which the £7,500 prize money will be donated.
Last year Merton came joint first with Westminster for its float ‘Horsepower’, which celebrated the borough’s distinction of having the first licensed public railway in the world, the horse-drawn Surrey Iron Railway.