Hayling will do England proud in seafront spectacle

HMS Collingwood volunteer band
HMS Collingwood volunteer band

Cyclists brave the rain in aid of charity

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IT WILL be a patriotic celebration like Hayling has never seen.

April 22 will be a day islanders celebrate everything English.

As well as bunting and flags, the sound of pomp and prestige will ring out across the seafront at Eastoke Plaza as HMS Collingwood Volunteer Band perform.

Organiser Leah Turner, of Green Lane, said: ‘At the moment all people talk about is bad things, being short of money, the weather. I love to celebrate.

‘Eastoke Plaza will have bunting and flags – you will not recognise it.

‘It’s going to be covered in a riot of colour.

‘I have always been enthusiastic about it.

‘What I am delighted about is it seems to have captured the imagination of people on Hayling.’

The event has been organised the day before St George’s Day so it does not clash with an event in Emsworth when 47 Regiment Royal Artillery will parade through the streets at 10.30am. Hayling will also pay its respects to the 255 military personnel who died during the Falklands conflict.

As a poignant reminder of the war 30 years ago, the names of the fallen will be put on display at Eastoke Plaza.

Mrs Turner, who is a local councillor, said she wanted to recognise Hayling’s naval links.

She said: ‘The name of every person whose life was lost will be on display – 255 names.

‘It’s sad and we don’t want to forget that. We are so close to Portsmouth on Hayling.

‘We have that close connection with the navy and that’s why I think it’s really important this is a naval occasion.’

The event will be in aid of the Royal Navy and the Royal Marines Charity, as chosen by Colour Sergeant Karl Long, bandmaster of HMS Collingwood.

As well as paying respects, the event will be full of laughs, with a Mummers’ Play entitled How St George Slew the Dragon, performed by The Hayling Young Stars.

Mrs Turner said: ‘It’s actually more like a pantomime. I don’t want to give too much away, but we laughed our pants off when it was read out.’