Anger over funfair’s funeral day closure

Funfair sign (credit Katherine Connelly)
Funfair funeral closure sign (credit Katherine Connelly)

Parents bemoan decision to close funfair in ‘respect’ of deceased prince, reports Victoria Munro

Waltham Forest Council has denied asking a local funfair to close in mourning for Prince Philip after parents complained.

Lloyd Park Funfair was shut on the day of his funeral, Saturday 17th April, with a sign stating it had been asked to close by the council “out of respect for Prince Philip”.

A number of people questioned why the decision was made, arguing it would upset children and lose the funfair trade.

A council spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that they “believe the sign was written in error” as the funfair made its own decision to close.

Katherine Connelly, one of a number of parents to question the closure, said she felt it was “deeply inappropriate” given how long children had gone without a day out.

She said: “To shut something that would have assisted kids who wanted to go out and have fun on a Saturday seemed to me quite mean-spirited.

“The lockdown most affected children without access to a garden, from the poorest families, and this purportedly being done for one of the most privileged people in society felt inappropriate.

“It seems excessive, I don’t know what point they were trying to make. Not everyone in this country supports the royal family or is a monarchist.”

Journalist Rosie Mullender also criticised the closure, tweeting: “I’m not sure Prince Philip was into making children cry and small funfairs lose trade on the first sunny Saturday after lockdown.”

While many funfairs around the country chose to shut down rides during the three-minute silence, a fair in Wakefield was also criticised after closing for two hours “as a mark of respect”.

As reported by the Wakefield Express, Tuckers Funfair saw large queues build up outside despite advertising the closure online and was forced to turn people away once it reopened.

A Waltham Forest Council spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the funfair’s decision to close was “ultimately up to the operator”.

They said: “We believe the sign was written in error. We were approached by the operator of the funfair who asked us if they should close for the funeral… as a mark of respect.

“While it was agreed in principle that it may be an appropriate gesture to this long-standing royal and to Her Majesty the Queen, we had no authority to ask or demand that the operator shut for the day.

“We are therefore at a loss as to why the sign says that we told them to do so and we would ask anyone objecting to it to take it up with the operator themselves.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service was unable to reach the operator for comment.