The annual Saint George’s Day Parade and celebrations took place in Gravesham on Friday April 21. 600 Children from 11 local schools took part in the event which was organised by Cohesion Plus in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion Council supported by Gravesham Borough Council in what were some of the biggest celebrations taking place in England. The aim of the event was to celebrate the patron Saint of England and bring together the diverse communities in Gravesham to celebrate this important day.
Before the procession started there was entertainment in the town centre with performances by the Premier Brass Band, Big Fish Arts and the Bollywood Brass Band which warmed up the gathering crowd. The parade led by Saint George himself played by Gravesham resident Russel Palmer started outside Saint George’s Church. Along with the schools the Parade also featured special guests the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Dr. Bhargwara Vasudaven and the Mayor of Gravesham, Cllr Goatley as well as performances by the Brass Bands, Four by Four Dhol Drummers, Stilt Walkers and comedy medieval jesters and Shakespearian actors.
The Parade went up the High Street into King Street, through Saint George’s Shopping Centre and then headed back through town before finishing on Community Square. Throughout the parade members of the public waved their flags of Saint George and encouraged the children as the parade went by.
Once the parade climaxed on Community Square the 600 school children sang Happy Birthday to HM The Queen before listening to the Deputy Lord Lieutenant who is the Queen’s representative in Kent thank everyone for their participation. Following some further entertainment the flags of Saint George were raised over Community Square.
Gurvinder Sandher who led on the organisation of the celebrations commented “I really do believe that other parts of the Country could learn from what we are doing here and how we use Saint George’s Day to bring diverse communities together, to celebrate our shared values. We use the celebrations as a source of promoting unity and cohesion rather than discord and segregation. I am grateful to all the young people who worked so hard in the build-up and our partners including Gravesham Borough Council and Arts Council England for their on-going support.”