Some of the biggest celebrations for Saint George’s Day took place in North Kent on April 23. Activity started at 7am when commuters at Dartford Train Station were greeted by the sight of a Brass Band and Saint George who provided entertainment while Cllr Jeremy Kite the Leader of Dartford Borough Council, the Mayor of Dartford Cllr Patsy Thurlow handed out Saint George’s Day themed goodies.
The focus then moved to Gravesham where entertainment started outside the Old Town Hall at 10am where the gathering crowds were able to enjoy performances by the West Hill Morris Group and the Premier Brass Band while on the Community Square the Salvation Army Brass Band starting performing.
Just after 10.30am led by Saint George 22 schools from Gravesham involving some 1000 children started the schools parade which also involved the Premier Brass Band, West Hill Morris Dance Troupe and Four by Four Dhol Drummers. The parade started outside Saint George’s Church before going up the High Street, into the Town Centre, through Saint George’s Shopping Centre and then via Windmill Street to the Community Square. The children were cheered along the way with the communities of Gravesham proudly waving the flag of Saint George. Once on Community Square the children were thanked by the Deputy Mayor of Gravesham Cllr John Caller before the flag of Saint George was raised.
The celebrations then moved to Dartford where a traditional hog spit roast was set up on the High Street and had queues as soon as it opened at noon. Entertainment was provided by the Salvation Army Brass Band on One Bell Corner and the West Hill Morris Group performed for the large crowd that had gathered. The parade featuring 8 local schools and some 500 children proved to be a great hit with hundreds following the parade from the High Street to the Band Stand in Central Park where further entertainment took place before everyone was thanked by Cllr Jeremy Kite the Leader of Dartford Borough Council and the Mayor of Dartford Cllr Patsy Thurlow.
Over the 3 events it is estimated that over 5000 people were able to enjoy the Saint George’s Day celebrations which were organised by Kent Equality Cohesion Council in partnership with Cohesion Plus supported by Arts Council England, Gravesham Borough Council and Dartford Borough Council.
Gurvinder Sandher the CEO of Kent Equality Cohesion Council (KECC) who has been working on the celebrations for the past few months commented “I am so proud of what we achieved today. These were our most ambitious plans to date and as ever the communities of Gravesham and Dartford came out to support us and waved the flag of Saint George with pride. It is important that events like this take place to bring diverse communities together and celebrate shared values and I already have some ideas about how we can make the celebrations even bigger next year. I am very grateful to the support provided by all our partners and the local schools which took part.”