Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham St Patrick's Day parade saved from cancellation threat

The St Patrick's Day parade in 2019 Image copyright Bianca Harvey/Birmingham St Patrick's Day Festival
Image caption The festival and parade is now due to take place on Sunday 15 March and the theme will be The Irish Quarter

Birmingham's St Patrick's Day parade and festival has been saved from cancellation after new sponsors came forward, organisers say.

Companies Chasetown Civil Engineers and Court Collaboration joined forces to finance the event after former sponsor Kiely Bros Ltd were unable to continue.

Organisers said it had been "very stressful" to find new sponsors.

The companies said they want to help celebrate Irish heritage and the culture of Birmingham.

Peter Connolly, festival chair, said: "It has been a very stressful few weeks" and without the support of the new sponsors "the parade simply wouldn't be happening this year".

The festival and parade is now due to take place on Sunday 15 March and the theme will be The Irish Quarter.

This year's event will "pay homage to the contribution Irish workers made to the rebuilding of Birmingham in the post-War period and the ongoing development of Digbeth," organisers said.

Noel Sweeney, founder of Chasetown Civil Engineering based in Staffordshire and Anthony McCourt, of Birmingham development firm Court Collaboration said they hope people will turn out to "celebrate Irish heritage and the culture of Birmingham with us this year", turning Digbeth into a "sea of green".

The event, launched in 1952, attracts more than 100,000 visitors worldwide and is claimed to be the third largest St Patrick's Parade in the world.

Birmingham City Council stopped financially supporting the event in 2014, blaming central government funding cuts.

In December, Birmingham's Irish Centre closed in Digbeth after 50 years and moved to Kings Heath amid disagreements with the city council.

Image copyright Bianca Harvey/Birmingham St Patrick's Day Festival
Image caption The sponsors said they want to help celebrate Irish heritage and the culture of Birmingham

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