Emsworth is a small town – which many residents still refer to as a village – that has always punched above its weight.
From the early days of the food festival, the first ever Red Nose Day comedy festival, and now the Final Straw campaign led by Bluebell Inn’s Giles Babb, they know how to put on a show.
The St George’s Day Parade, now in its 10th year, embodies everything that the generous, big-hearted people of Emsworth have always striven for – to put on community events that bring people together and promote civic pride.
The parade has always been organised by volunteers, with the help of Havant Borough Council in the background.
It was an enormous amount of work for volunteers, such as now-retired councillor Brendan Gibb-Gray to take on, but he was driven by a keen sense of wanting to honour our serving troops, and our veterans, while forging links with the town’s army neighbours on Thorney Island.
But just as the Emsworth Food Festival became a victim of its own success, so has the parade.
So many foodies flocked to the weekend-long festival that it became a real health and safety issue – not just unwarranted concerns from the ‘elf and safety brigade. It became dangerous.
But in its place is the excellent Emsworth British Food Fortnight and fantastic foodie events throughout the year, which has garnered attention, and awards, nationally.
It’s a shame that numbers for veterans will be limited but in order to continue celebrating this patriotic event organisers have to keep people safe.
A way around it is to give priority to Korean War veterans – who are traditionally given the Imjin Rose at the event – and those who have proved they have paraded there before.