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Light up our street

PUBLISHED: 15:24 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:08 23 August 2010

CARNIVAL: The streets are awash with colour for the Festival of Light.

CARNIVAL: The streets are awash with colour for the Festival of Light.

HUNDREDS of schoolchildren paraded through the town to celebrate the launch of the Cultural Olympiad. Gravesend town centre was brought to a standstill last Friday when 450 school children, teachers and parents took part in the Festival of Light parade.

HUNDREDS of schoolchildren paraded through the town to celebrate the launch of the Cultural Olympiad.

Gravesend town centre was brought to a standstill last Friday when 450 school children, teachers and parents took part in the Festival of Light parade.

It was among scores of similar celebrations to mark the start of the build up to the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The streets were turned into a river of light as the march started at Woodville Halls, entering the High Street before finishing at Fort Gardens. Children carried lanterns and torches they had made in workshops held by arts company Samesky.

Gurvinder Sandher, assistant director of North West Kent Racial Equality Council (NWKREC) is one of the main organisers of the event.

He said: "I was really pleased with how the whole event went. For me it highlighted the positive contribution young people make in our borough and how events like this help to promote community relations.

"I feel that this is now the start of our journey to London 2012 and I already have plans to organise something even bigger next year as part of the Cultural Olympiad. I have really appreciated the input of all the local schools and our partners including Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council in enabling this to happen"

Once at the Fort Gardens, the Cultural Olympiad was officially launched by the Mayor of Gravesham, Councillor Ken Jones, in a special ceremony which saw the London 2012 flag raised. Festivities continued with entertainment provided by the Bloco Fogo Samba Group, Four by Four Bhangra Group, Cultural Beats and Northfleet Brass Band.

Bill Singh, from Cultural Beats, said: "A lot of hard work went into organising the festival but it was worth it to see the reaction on the youngsters' faces during the parade.

"It was also very positive to see the support we received from members of the local community who stopped to watch the parade and support those involved. I am very much looking forward to working on next year's event."

The showcase was organised by NWKREC, in partnership with Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council. Schools taking part included: Riverview Junior, St Johns Comprehensive, St Johns Primary, St Georges Comprehensive, Northfleet School for Girls, Meopham Primary, Thamesview Comprehensive, Holy Trinity Primary, Chantry Primary, Wrotham Road Primary, Dover Road Primary and Northfleet Technology College.

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