By George, what a parade
PUBLISHED: 16:52 30 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:42 23 August 2010
MORE than 650 children braved the rain to take part in a stunning St George s Day parade through the town centre. Youngsters from 14 schools across Gravesham wore St George s flags in a procession which included models of dragons and knights. Held to ce
MORE than 650 children braved the rain to take part in a stunning St George's Day parade through the town centre.
Youngsters from 14 schools across Gravesham wore St George's flags in a procession which included models of dragons and knights.
Held to celebrate the patron saint of England last Wednesday, it was one of the biggest events of its kind in the south-east.
Last Sunday, 200 scouts from across the borough held their annual parade to celebrate St George, who is also the patron saint of scouting.
At Sedleys School in Southfleet, pupils dressed up as scouts and guides to mark the occasion.
The school parade last week was led by the Premier Brass Band and included large models of St George and a blue dragon. Pupils from Riverview Junior School wore vests bearing the red cross of St George.
Gurvinder Sandher, assistant director of North West Kent Racial Equality Council, one of the organisers of the event, said: "I have been overwhelmed by the positive response we have had to the St George's Day celebrations.
"I have lived in this borough all of my life and was very proud to see how the community came out to support schools who have worked so hard in recent months to create the models and visual arts displays despite the poor weather."
The children were cheered on by crowds along the route through the High Street and Windmill Street before finishing at the Civic Centre forecourt, where a flag-raising ceremony took place, led by Pat Oakeshott, Mayor of Gravesham. It was supported by councillors, North West Kent Racial Equality Council and Gravesend and Dartford Muslim Association.
Once the celebrations finished outside, a programme of music and dance continued inside the Woodville Halls, with performances by the Cultural Beats Project, St John's Comprehensive School and St George's Comprehensive School.
Mr Sandher added: "The whole day just reinforces my view that events like this and the recent Vaisakhi festival are excellent way of bringing the community together and celebrating the positive community relations and shared history and values we enjoy in Gravesham."
The Scout parade last Sunday included girl guides from across Gravesham and representatives from St John Ambulance and the British Red Cross.
The parade started on the roof of the St George's Shopping Centre before continuing through the town to the Fort Gardens.
Dennis Hobbs, 83, of Gravesham Scouts Association, said: "It was our biggest-ever parade, with about 200 scouts, and for the first time we had the Guides with us. People lined the streets supporting us, and the whole day was a great success. The rain, which started as soon as we left the roof, didn't ruin the day.