Call for St George’s Day to be made bank holiday as thousands take to the streets for first parade since coronavirus


Thousands of people took to the streets to watch the first St George’s Day parade since the coronavirus pandemic. The popular annual event has not been held since 2019, but Manchester bathed in sunshine to welcome the return of the celebration.

Military vehicles, a brass band, bagpipe players and a Winston Churchill impersonator were among the highlights of the parade, which begun in Miles Platting just after noon. It then moved onto Oldham Road, before taking in the Northern Quarter and Piccadilly Gardens and then circling back to Miles Platting.

Families lined the streets to wave to participants in the parade, which also included a group of women dressed as the wives of Henry VIII, as well as musical performances from the Oldham Scottish Pipe Band. Parade organiser Thelma McGrail said: “We have been doing it 17 years, it has been getting better and better.

READ MORE: Photos of ‘Great Mancunians’ making our region proud

“This year is a bit lax with people still having Covid, but it will be bigger and better next year.” The parade was led by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Coun Tommy Judge, who was also joined by city centre council chief Coun Pat Karney.

He said Manchester Council is in favour of allocating the day, commemorating England’s patron saint, as a bank holiday. Coun Karney said: “It’s absolutely brilliant to see it all back, there was a great reception on the streets of Manchester.

“It was lovely to see loads of kids smiling with their parents, and waving at the parade. A big thank you to Thelma and the volunteer team who pull it together. Manchester Council have always said that St George’s Day should be a national holiday like St Patrick’s Day is in Ireland.”

In the past there have been calls for the day to be marked by a bank holiday. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn pledged to make St George’s Day, which falls on April 23, a public holiday if he became Prime Minister.

St Andrew’s Day and St Patrick’s Day are both bank holidays in Scotland and Ireland, but St David’s Day is not a public holiday in Wales. St George’s Day was previously a national holiday in England from 1415 until the 18th century, but has not been since.

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