WIGAN’S traditional St George’s Day parade has been axed.
A lack of police cover and stewards was today credited with the history-making decision by organisers.
The round-the-town-centre procession has been shortened and under threat of cancellation for several years now but this is the first time the plug has been pulled altogether.
The joint decision by Wigan Council, Greater Manchester Police and Wigan District Scout Council has been met with an angry backlash although the organisers say they had little choice and add that there is a possibility of reviving it in future.
The St George’s Day service held in Wigan Parish Church will still go ahead and will in fact lengthened to compensate for the parade’s demise.
But David Finch, who has run First Abram Scout Group for more than 20 years, said: “I think it’s disgusting that it’s been cancelled this year – it’s an erosion of English tradition.
“If it was anything else or any other event which was big in town then the police would be there.
“St George’s Day is a national celebration and it’s for the patron saint of our country, and of the scouts, so to cancel the event dedicated to is just a disgrace.
“Over the last few years there has been more interest in the occasion with people sporting the red and white colours throughout the country over the course of the day.
“The length of the parade has been cut down over the last few years, it has become shorter to the stage where it was only around a few roads in the town centre and now it’s gone to nothing. It’s just such a shame.
“As far as scouting is concerned, it’s the most important day of the year.”
Mr Finch (pictured leading his scouts) said he would campaign against the decision.
But District Commissioner for Wigan District Scout Council, Paul Green, said: “The council gave permission for the parade on the circumstances that we must have adequate stewarding.
“Unfortunately last year some drivers chose to ignore some of the road closures and therefore we could not ensure full safety for the children which is the most important element for the day.