'The end of an era': Lorry ban forces school's float out of city procession
PUBLISHED: 10:51 13 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:52 13 June 2019
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2015
A school's 17-year tradition of bringing musical entertainment to the Lord Mayor's Procession in Norwich could come to an end this year due to a new ban on lorry floats.
Angel Road Junior School has participated in the centrepiece parade since 2002, with its steel band encouraging plenty of dancing in the streets.
But a ban on petrol and diesel powered lorries in the procession on Saturday, July 6 means the school won't be able to use the 40ft curtain-sided lorry it has previously borrowed for the occasion - the only vehicle big enough to hold its vast steel pan collection and drum kit.
Sue Graham, music coordinator at the Angel Road schools, said it could spell the end of a tradition for the steel bands from years four, five and six - around 25 children - to play in the procession.
"This is the zenith of their steel band playing career and they look forward to it for years," she said.
"It is an amazing experience for the children to have so I am absolutely gutted that we cannot do that.
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"We all support the effort to reverse climate change and we are teaching about that in school, but I don't know how else we could do the procession. There is no way we can get the instruments and kids down there on another vehicle.
"It is the end of an era. We are all sad - the children, the staff, the parents."
Ms Graham said it was a whole school effort to get the float ready for the procession each year and the same family had supplied and driven the lorry for 15 years - with the current driver renewing his HGV licence especially to drive for the school in the 2018 procession.
While Angel Road has won prizes for its float previously it has never achieved first place - a dream Ms Graham may now never see come true.
The city council suggested the school's steel band play on the St Stephens roundabout during the procession instead - but Ms Graham said it would take three trips each way in the school's minibus to get all the equipment to and from the location, negating any environmental benefits from not using the lorry.
However, she is determined that the school will still be involved in the celebrations and said the council's events team was working hard to find a solution.
Norwich City Council declined to comment as conversations with Angel Road Junior School are still ongoing about its available options.