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Sandwell St George's Day parade faces the axe

Sandwell | News | Published:

Organisers of Sandwell's St George's Day parade have warned that it risks being cancelled unless vital funds are raised to pay for it.

Organisers of Sandwell's St George's Day parade have warned that it risks being cancelled unless vital funds are raised to pay for it.

This year's event through West Bromwich is to be held on April 24 but so far, £3,700 of the £10,000 needed to fund it has been raised.

The organiser behind the parade is the Stone Cross St George Association.

The association has now issued an urgent appeal to residents in the borough ahead of a fundraising event which will be held this Saturday.

The fixture has become one of Sandwell's most popular events and last year attracted more than 20,000 people.

However, Sandwell Council has a new policy meaning that it will not contribute financially to externally organised community parades.

This means that the St George's Day parade has to be self-funded.

Organisers now say they need to raise the funds within the next six weeks in order to secure the march, and are hoping residents will dig deep in their pockets.

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Mark Cowles, from the association, said: "We are worried; we are going to be struggling this year.

"We have raised £3,700 towards a target of £10,000.

"We need to have raised the money by the middle of April because we need to pay for the stewards and the road closures and the public liability insurance, and then there is the bands and the stage." Mr Cowles added: "It is something that our area can be proud of.

"The people started this; it is what the people want, and they have proved that by their fantastic attendance, but they need to support it.

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"We are supporting our own parade and financing our own parade; if we don't, we could lose it."

Donations have already been made by a number of organisations including £2,000 from English heritage group Steadfast Trust and a number of borough businesses including Webbs funeral directors, RJ Mechanical Installations, Tabernash and SLD Transport.

On Saturday a fundraising event will be held at the Stone Cross pub in Walsall Road, West Bromwich, to help drum up money for the parade.

Coventry band Pritty Green will play their indie and mod tunes from 7.30pm, followed by resident DJ John Salisbury till late. Admission will be £3.

It is not the first time that the parade to mark England's patriotic day has been under threat.

In 2009 the parade was saved with a donation from West Bromwich businessman Chris Kelly, who runs transport firm Keltruck.

Anyone who can make a donation towards the event should get in touch by emailing organisers at stgeorgeparade @aol.com

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