Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Saturday, 11 July 2009 17:45 UK

Big Facebook party to shut roads

Andrea Smith (with dark hair) and her sister Tracey Heywood
Andrea Smith (with dark hair) and sister Tracey Heywood

Roads are to be closed in a seaside town as thousands of revellers are expected to attend a mass reunion organised on internet site Facebook.

In February, 1,500 people descended on Rhyl, Denbigshire, organised by Andrea Smith, who expects more this Saturday.

Ms Smith, 38, originally invited a few friends to enjoy a nostalgic evening out with friends in Rhyl, via Facebook, but the event "snowballed".

A former councillor said local people hoped it would not become regular.

Ms Smith, a school teacher, and her sister Tracey Heywood came up with the idea for the party while on a night out with friends.

The pair did not want to restrict the reunion to their old school friends and invited anyone who was originally from Rhyl.

However, word spread on Facebook and 700 people confirmed their attendance by the eve of the reunion - and 1,600 actually turned up.


There will be a lot more younger people this time... I just hope the atmosphere is as good
Andrea Smith

Instead of holding the reunion in a specific place, Ms Smith suggested people meet up in favourite bars and pubs in the town before ending up in one of two clubs.

She also contacted many of the venues and they played music from the '80s and '90s on the night.

Ms Smith said 1,600 had confirmed their attendance at this weekend's reunion, but the final number "could be as high as 4,000".

She added: "People are stopping me now and saying they're coming.

"On the last one there were a lot of older people and it was a really good atmosphere.

"There will be a lot more younger people this time. I just hope the atmosphere is as good."

One former councillor said town centre residents were unhappy they were not consulted over the road closure plans.


We don't want to see a habit made of it

Town centre resident Colin Jones

However, Ms Smith said: "Nobody's complained to me.

"Some of the pubs last time were very crowded, so closing the roads means people will have a lot more room to move around."

Former town councillor Colin Jones said he and other residents were not directly opposed to the gathering, but added: "We don't want to see a habit made of it.

"It will be over in one evening.

"While I'm not unhappy with the arrangement, it was a shame that local residents - and there are about 2,000 of us - weren't consulted.

"From what I hear there's been a bit of a problem in terms of paying for extra policing and for licensing for alcohol in the street because people have been invited by general invitation.

"As such, there's no specific organiser who can be held liable for licensing and so on."

'Door staff'

Denbighshire council said it will close town centre roads for "public safety".

A North Wales Police spokeswoman said: "There will be additional police resources.

"The licensed premises are also providing additional door staff and the mounted section of North Wales Police will also be attending."

Roads affected by the closures - between 1800 BST Saturday and 0600 BST Sunday - include Water Street, Sussex Street and Bedford Street.

Alternative routes will be available via Crescent Road, Vaughan Street, Wellington Road and Queen Street.



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