Over 1500 young people from 34 schools in Gravesham and Dartford took part in community celebrations through Gravesend and Dartford town centres on April 23 to celebrate Saint Georges Day. The festivities were organised by Cohesion Plus in partnership with Kent Equality Cohesion supported by Arts Council England, Gravesham Borough Council and Dartford Borough Council’s in what were some of the biggest celebrations taking place in England.
Gurvinder Sandher the Artistic Director of Cohesion Plus commented “This was our largest direct arts participatory event for young people that we have organised. Over 1500 young people benefitted from workshops delivered by our artistic partners Samesky over the past 2 months across both Gravesham and Dartford. I am very grateful for the support provided by our partners including Arts Council England, Gravesham Borough Council and Dartford Borough Council whose support along with that of the Kent Equality Cohesion Council ensured that the day was a success. I am really pleased that we were able to deliver 2 successful events back to back on one day and that the local communities came out to support the festivities. I believe that our celebrations are a model which could be replicated in other parts of not just Kent but England”
Celebrations first took place in Gravesham with over 1000 children from 25 local schools taking part. The parade started in Saint George’s Square and then proceeded up the High Street before going into the Town Centre, through Saint George’s Shopping Centre back into the Town Centre before finishing on the Community Square. The parade was led by the Mayor of Gravesham Lyn Milner along with representatives from local community groups, Kent Police, Kent Fire and Rescue Service and Gravesham Borough Council.
In addition to the schools the parade also featured local Gravesham resident Russell Palmer dressed up as Saint George, the Premier Brass Band, Big Fish Marching Band and the Four by Four Dhol Drummers.
Once the parade reached the Community Square the Salvation Army Brass Band performed before the flag of Saint George was raised and the children gave 3 cheers for Saint George’s Day while they waved their flags with pride.
Attention then moved to Dartford where the Salvation Army Brass Band performed on One Bell Corner quickly attracting a large crowd, before 9 local schools started the parade which went up Dartford High Street before heading towards Central Park. The parade was led by the Deputy Mayor of Dartford Patsy Thurlow who along with volunteers helped give out Saint George’s flags along the route.
Once the parade reached Central Park Big Fish performed a short play about Saint George and the Dragon and then Premier Brass got everyone up and waving their flags as they performed a number of rousing tunes including “Jerusalem” and “Land of Hope and Glory”.