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Leading the parade through West Brom
Leading the parade through West Bromwich

St George's Day 2006

Across the Black Country, thousands of people have taken to the streets to mark St George's Day. West Bromwich holds England's largest St George's Day celebrations, say organisers.

On Saturday April 22, beneath bunting and banners, Dudley’s celebrations began with a parade through the town.

Dudley celebrations
Dudley celebrations

Led by the Mayor, and St George on his trusty steed, the parade included troops from the Worcester and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, the Sedgley Morris Dancers, two marching bands, the Knights of Mercia re-enactors and a dragon made by pupils at Jessons Primary School.

Dudley town centre bustled with friendly crowds, shoppers and street entertainment. A local radio roadshow set up a stage in Stone Street Square. It provided a platform for local bands, dance schools and medieval re-enactments.

There were children’s rides in the Market Place and an arts and crafts market in Stone Street.

Parade - West Brom
Parade - West Brom

In Wolverhampton city centre, on Saturday April 22, brass bands, theatre performers and schoolchildren marked St George’s Day.

The Central England Concert Band, Rugeley Brass Band, West Midlands Concert Band and the City of Wolverhampton Brass Band entertained shoppers and visitors in Market Square, Dudley Street, Queen Square and the bus station.

Also in Market Square, schoolchildren and Punch Theatre performers brought to life the legend of St George with their 'Slaying of the Dragon' play.

Dudley Castle
Dudley Castle

Sandwell's celebrations dubbed 'Forever England, For Everybody', took place on St George's Day - Sunday April 23rd. Its parade attracted thousands of people, all led by another St George on a horse.

It took around an hour for the parade to march from Westminster Road to Dartmouth Park, venue for the Council organised 'Fun Day'. Inside the park, there was an arena, entertainment marquee, fairground rides and stalls.

Entertainment included the Langley Band, Maypole dancing, the Bedcote Morris men, breakdance and 'Knights in Battle'.

Tony Potter is Events Manager for Sandwell Council. He said:

Punch Theatre - W'ton
Punch Theatre - W'ton

"We've organised the fun day in the park and have helped the Stone Cross St George's Association organise the parade from Stone Cross to Dartmouth Park.

"This is the third time the Council has been involved. The parade itself started seven years ago - by just a small band of patriotic Englishmen who decided they wanted to do something for St George's Day.

"The parade has grown and grown until it reached the stage where, potentially, it wasn't going to be safe - so the Council have stepped in and helped the organisers to make sure it operates safely.

Parade 2006 - West Brom
Parade 2006 - West Brom

"We think it's the biggest in the country, bar none. As a Council we're responding to the demands from the people of Sandwell. The people of Sandwell asked us to organise something for St George's Day - nobody else seemed to do it - and we're just respecting their wishes.

"I estimate, and it is only an estimate, that the march was about the same size as last year - which was nearly 10,000 people. The fun day goes on from 12 noon 'til 6 o'clock - we estimate around 15,000 people through the park.

"So that's 25,000 people enjoying a good day out, to celebrate St George's Day.

The Marshall family
The Marshall family

"It's a great success and I'm proud of the whole event. It'll happen again next year - that's our plan."

The Marshall family, missed the parade but attended the fun day in Dartmouth Park.

Dad, Richard Marshall, said:

"It's a good day - we come every year. We're just proud to be English - and we wanted to join in with the community."

Text and photos by Ciarán Ryan.

last updated: 27/04/06
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A sikh
I went to the parades along with many other sikh/white mates

proud to be english no one can change whats in your heart

I live in Catalonia where St.George is also their patron saint. Everyone is out on the streets celebrating buying roses and books for their loved ones, all nationalities and all kinds of people, plenty of medieval fairs and jousting going on. An enjoyable day by all. Nothing to do with nationalisms!

Why do we celebrate Saint Patrick's Day so much? The shops are filled with green flags and hats, plastered with four leaf clovers. But Saint Patrick is Ireland's patron saint. Ok Ireland is part of Great Britain, so it's understandable that we do celebrate it. But then England isn't allowed to celebrate it's own Saint's Day? Because it will offend the ethnic minorities...Saint Patrick doesn't, why should Saint George? We share this country with all races and cultures, but this is our day, one day a year. The 23rd of April is England's day - we should be allowed to celebrate! On the 23rd of April I want to be celebrating something more than my birthday!!!

Lee (englishman)
I feel celebrating Saint Georges Day has been long overdue. Just look at the irish celebrating up and down England in tens of thousands. There are never any problems with racism there what-so-ever!English people celebrate 'ALL' cultural festivites in England but not Saint George's Day.UK born asians say it will upset them and they will feel intimidated by us. What rubbish!England is a tolerant country and always willing to integrate with all colours and religions. It's just another excuse to call the race card, it's crazy!I say get together with your family and friends to celebrate what could eventually be the greatest event in England,'For all'

Me and my family have been to the Pardade and at Dartmouth Park and have had a great time. We've seen people of all ages, creeds and colours joining in the celebrations. One of the lovliest sights I've seen in recent years was an asian man and his 2 young sons all wearing England Fottball Shirts.

Rodney Bholan
Hi this is just so we are clear on our education that St George was not English he was a Black African George is believed to have come from Cappadocia (in modern Turkey) and was raised in Palestine, and held the important rank of tribune in the Roman army. He was beheaded by Diocletian for protesting against the Emperor's persecution of Christians. This should make all of us feel inclusive myself being African caribbean whites and Asians. If all of us just read we might come along to celebrate. It also might make us re-educate ourselves in history so when we do celebrate and act out these folk heroes we get someone a little closer to what George looked like to play the part.

Amerjit Singh
As a british "asian", i would just like to say that St. George's day should be celebrated by all. The fact that the march was predominantly "white" is of no relevence whatsoever. Of course there will be some small minded BNP fools out to take advantage of the parade, but then again you'll get fools in every gathering. I have many "white" friends, neighbours and colleagues, and feel a little embarrased when i see them collectively labelled as bigots, because of a few idiots. Patriotism and nationalism in the wrong hands can be very divisive tools, but i doubt most people are naive enough to fall for that trick!!

Chris, English and proud
Just read the comments by Bhinari and feel that this person is very misguided, the people of this country have for too long been in fear of being labelled as bigots, simply because they love their country, long may the St. George's Day parade continue, there is nothing wrong in saying they you are English and proud to be so!

england winners of 2006 world cup england forever

Janus Polenceus
It is a great start that now we have started celebrating St George's Day again properly. Now we just have to make it an official Bank Holiday as it use to be historicly.

I was one of the re-enactors involved with the Dudley celebrations and i would like to thank everyone that gave us their support. Cheers!

I AM Proud to be English

Proud to be English
not really "embracing" all colours and creeds?? What planet are you from? To play the devils advocate: Just how many "white" faces are seen at "your" events? Works both ways. Any person should be welcome to any event. You are not hard done by in this country. Deal with it.

Proud to be English
Bhinari - Stop tainting and insulting our national day with your ridiculous remarks and paranoia. Colour has nothing to do with it. Its folks like you that cause un-called-for tension and start trouble where there never was. Long may St Georges Day continue.

Why is it that it's OK for us to celebrate St Patrick's Day and everyone joins in the party. Yet when we come to celebrate St George's Day, who is OUR patron saint, there are always people who want to try and turn it into a racism issue. I'm sorry, but the whole world does nor revolve around you UK born 'Asians'.... its not all about you! St Georges day is a day of patriotism and is a day when we are proud to be English. Stop being so narrow minded as to confuse patriotism with racism.

With the BNP on the rise in other parts of the country its time for all races to unite under the English flag and push these hate mongers out. There is support for asian festivals throught the year which last days, why do you see St George`s Day as a racist tool? If you are UK born then surely this is your country too? are you not proud to be an English citizen? This country isnt the greatest in the world I admit that but its ours and we should be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder under one flag.

Just to clarify a something: at no point did I say St George's day SHOULDN'T be celebrated by all creeds and colours. By all means it should be a national holiday (as is in other nations). A question: How many "non-white" faces are present at these events? Very few, if any. In other words, it's not really "embracing" all colours and creeds. In the USA nationalism is celebrated by EVERYONE. Hispanics, Asian, black and white folk. Not the case here. Tell me I'm wrong?

Marie Proud English woman
Bhinari, we as a family have been to this event every year and l have not witnessed any racism. If the non whites are so afraid of being intimidated on the street how come the Asian newsagent was selling his English flags and Asian guys were selling balloons etc outside the park l didnt see any attacks on these l think you are using this message board as a racist tool, you should try visiting next year you may enjoy yourself.

Marshall family
thanks for the photo its great

Well done Sandwell council for championing St Georges day for all the community irrelevant of what Bhinari thinks

theres always one
get a life, bnp march, what has st george and the bnp got to do with each other .... nothing.

Deano - Proud to be Wolves
bhinari what are you on about, are you trying to say that english people who embrace all races and creeds cannot celebrate St.George's day in their own country are YOU not stating racist undertones

an Englishman Born and Bred
No comment to the racism remark by bhinari eccept "RUBISH"

It's great to see poeple out and about getting in and having a good time. Makes a change instead of being told 'No you can't put that flag up it may upset someone' lets hope it continues, that way we will see loads more smiles all round.

A legitimate BNP march. A day to keep "non-white" faces off the streets in fear of intimidation and verbal abuse. I definitely experienced the racist undertones. There's a fine line between nationalism and racism; I think the West Bromwich parade uses St George's day as a racist tool. (from a UK born "Asian").

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