New Year parade’s a real showstopper
HILLINGDON performers were singing and dancing in the rain during the moviethemed London New Year’s Day Parade 2017.
The borough finished fifth out of 17 London boroughs in the annual competition, scooping £6,000 for the Mayor’s Charity Appeal.
Despite it raining on their parade, the 45-strong cast of performers aged from six to 50 from JAM2000 Performing Arts, in Ruislip Manor, did not allow the conditions to dampen their spirits as they sang, danced, waved and smiled for two hours from Green Park to Parliament Square, with crowds of more than 500,000 cheering them along the route.
The performers were dressed as characters from some of the biggest and best-known Hollywood classics, with the actual Batmobile that was driven by Michael Keaton in the 1989 film Batman providing a spectacular centrepiece to Hillingdon’s entry.
Called ‘Hillingdon Boulevard’, the borough’s entry included characters Batman, Robin, Mr Freeze, Penguin, Joker and Catwoman.
A group of girls played Keystone Cops while older girls portraying the likes of Ginger Rogers and Hollywood showgirls.
There were also four characters from The Wizard of Oz – Dorothy (and Toto), Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion.
Little orphan Annie made an appearance, as did The Blues Brothers together with characters from Chicago.
Music from the 1972 classic movie Cabaret also accompanied Hillingdon’s action-packed end of parade showpiece, choreographed and directed by JAM2000 director, Judy McPhee.
The JAM2000 performers were among more than 10,000 participants from the USA, UK, Europe and beyond, watched by a TV audience of more than 300 million across the world.
Hillingdon’s entry was a real family affair, with Judy’s husband, Gordon McPhee, having designed and hand-built Hillingdon’s film-themed float from the garage of their home in Ruislip.
The costumes were individually designed and hand-sewn by a talented team of dressmakers from in and around the Ruislip area.
It was the fifth time JAM2000 has represented Hillingdon in the Parade’s Best London Borough Competition.
Although they were unable to retain their 2016 winners’ title, Judy was full of praise for her performers, many of whom were under 10 years of age and did not complain once about being wet and cold.
Judy said: “We may not have come first and we won’t be bringing the winners’ trophy back to Hillingdon this year, but as far as I am concerned we were definite winners. I couldn’t be more proud of my team for performing so brilliantly for such a long time in very difficult conditions and winning £6,000 for local charities.”
Hillingdon Mayor John Hensley said: “I would like to thank the JAM2000 Army that did so well in the appalling weather conditions, bearing in mind many of them were of such a young age. They are a credit to Judy and Hillingdon. I am so glad JAM2000 were there to represent Hillingdon.”
Even before the Parade started, JAM2000 had raised £5,000 in sponsorship donations from a number of companies. Other firms contributed by providing building materials for the float, transportation and meeting the hire costs of the Batmobile from the London Motor Museum.