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St George's Day parade is saved

Sandwell | News | Published:

This year's St George's Day parade in West Bromwich has been saved after organisers hit their £10,000 fundraising target.

This year's St George's Day parade in West Bromwich has been saved after organisers hit their £10,000 fundraising target.

The Stone Cross St George Association had raised more than £8,200 through various events and donations of all sizes and now West Bromwich haulage company SLD Transport has pledged to make up the shortfall with a £1,800 handout.

This Friday's fundraising event at the Horse & Jockey pub will still go ahead, with organisers pledging anything raised above their £10,000 target will go towards making the patriotic march on April 25 bigger and better than ever.

Mark Cowles, of Stone Cross St George Association, said he could not believe it when he received a phone call from bosses at the Bromford Lane haulage firm, offering up to £3,000 to make up the difference.

"I just can't believe what we've achieved since November and It goes without saying how grateful I am.

"The unity it has brought to the community is fantastic and everybody has been brought together. "To have companies ringing up and offering that kind of money when we are still in a recession is amazing.

"There's other companies who have made sizeable donations as well and other people have rallied round, ranging from people who've sent cheques for £1 to people who have repeatedly come on our fundraisers.

"We can say it is definitely going ahead."

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The 41-year-old, of Walsall Road, Stone Cross, added: "We've got one more do left on Friday and anything raised then will help improve it even more."

The final fundraiser takes place at the Horse & Jockey pub, in Stoney Lane, West Bromwich, from 7.30pm this Friday, with karaoke and competitions.

The parade through West Bromwich to Dartmouth Park is said to be the biggest of its kind in the country. Last year, it attracted 20,000 people.

Organisers have been forced to raise all the funds to save it from the axe after Sandwell Council withdrew its financial support before last year's event. Councillors claimed it had become hijacked by right-wing political extremists, instead putting funds towards a static park event the day before the traditional parade.

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Last year's march was only saved by a last-minute donation from West Bromwich businessman Chris Kelly, from Keltruck, while organisers this year again faced a battle to raise the cash needed to pay for health and safety requirements, road closures and security at the event.

A knight on a white horse will lead this year's parade, which starts from Stone Cross and marches into Dartmouth Park.

There will also be a Punch and Judy show and clowns to keep youngsters entertained, while organisers have promised some surprises for visitors.

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