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Home Medway News Article
Gillingham was dotted with green when the first ever St Patrick’s Day parade went through the town.
The parade started from Sappers Walk, near Smith Square in the high street at noon, with scores of shoppers lining the streets to cheer the marchers, the day before Ireland’s national day.
The Medway St Patrick’s group, borne out of the St Mary’s Social Club in Gillingham, says about 10 per cent of Medway’s population claim Irish heritage and aims to make the day a proper celebration of Irish culture.
The parade was led by the Pentacle Drummers and other groups taking part included Irish dancers who jigged and danced along the street.
Many who took part made flags or wore something green for the day and banners had been decorated by children at schools, including the town’s Barnsole primary.
A cadet band also joined the parade and could be heard playing It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.
The parade made its way along the high street and back, ending at the social club in Belmont Road, to continue the festivities where organisers had put on dancing, music, hurling, language classes, face painting, and a family ceilidh.
One resident who enjoyed the parade was Ann Lancashire, 68, who has lived in Medway for the past 45 years.
Mrs Lancashire, whose parents came from Ireland, said: “I could cry, it’s wonderful, they’ve put so much effort into it. It’s very patriotic and I know there are a lot of Irish people who live around here. I’m really pleased I came to see everyone dressed up.”
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