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Get involved and make this year's Lord Mayor's Celebrations weekend the best yet

PUBLISHED: 15:53 03 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:01 03 February 2015

Lord Mayor's Procession 2011

Lord Mayor's Procession 2011

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

The Evening News is today calling on YOU to help us make this year's Lord Mayor's Procession the best one yet.

Lord Mayor's Procession 2011Lord Mayor's Procession 2011

Even though there are still several months until July’s procession, the highlight of The Lord Mayor’s Celebrations weekend, work is beginning now on the dozens of floats which entertain the thousands gathered.

Therefore we are today launching a campaign to encourage work places, community groups, charities and even groups of friends to get together and enter a float.

Over the past couple of years the number of floats involved in the parade has fallen from about 80 to 60.

The campaign launched by the paper hopes to get the numbers involved back up to its heyday for the enjoyment of everyone in the fine city and beyond.

How to put a float together

• Now - Decide to take part

The first step is making the decision to get involved. The benefits are huge, whether it is team-building, all the fun you have or the exposure your group gets to the tens of thousands strong crowd.

• February to March - Setting up equipment hires

Organisation is important. You need to decide if you want a lorry and if so you will need to put down a deposit on one which is usually about £20-50. You will also need to decide if you want a sound system, and any lights or special effects. If you are a charity you may be able to get the equipment for free, if you don’t ask you don’t get.

• Late-March - Think of your theme

Each year there is a theme and is generally something carnival related. Set up a staff or group meeting to discuss what you want to do. This is a great way of getting everyone involved in the process and build up a sense of camaraderie. You need to think about everything from design to costumes and music.

• April-July - Construction and planning

When you start building will depend on when your lorry arrives. You will need somewhere dry and safe to store it. It is a learning experience for those involved as well as a bonding one. You will need to get the materials you need to build your float. At the same time some people will need to arrange the music, any banners.

Top tip: Make sure you start early and get everyone involved in planning your float.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be giving you all the tips and information you need to design a float - as well as speaking to those who have already signed up for the July 4 procession.

And, of course, the Evening News will be getting involved itself, with work already underway to decide on the theme that will follow last years GoGoGorillas float.

David Powles, assistant editor of the Evening News, said: “The Lord Mayor’s Celebration weekend remains one of the highlights of the year in Norwich. I have memories as a child of colourful float after float flying past and it’s fantastic that two decades on it remains such a special occasion.

“The Evening News had its own float last year and it was so much fun to be part of the event and see so many people in the crowd enjoying the fruits of our labour.

The history of the procession dates back to medieval times when it used to be a celebration of the St George’s feast day and the latest incarnation started in 1977.

The procession is a mix of floats, marchers, dancers and carnival acts and delights crowds of more than 20,000.

Mr Powles added: “I would encourage anyone to get involved, whether it be through work, a community group or club. It’s a great way to build up a rapport with a team and have fun doing something worthwhile.

“We’re already busy planning this year’s float and I hope many other people will react to our call to arms by doing the same.”

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “Every year it’s the fabulous effort from the community with float entries that really brings the carnival spirit to life.

“I hope people across the city feel inspired to come together and get involved. Let’s make 2015 the biggest and best year yet.”

WHY SHOULD YOUR ORGANISATION GET INVOLVED?

• Fun

Above everything else the event is all about having fun and there is no better way to enjoy the weekend than getting involved in the procession.

Yvonne Cutting, principal owner of Yvonne’s School of Dance, said: “It is quite a big commitment to be involved in but a really nice and fun thing to do in the community and the children love it.

“For many of our dancers it is probably the biggest event they will ever be involved with in terms of the crowd size.”

• Showing off

Whether it is an incredible float or showcasing talent, the event is a great way to demonstrate your fantastic commitment.

The Chermond School of Gymnastics has been involved with every procession since the were reintroduced in 1977.

Cherie Alcock, the school’s joint director of coaching, said she thinks it is a celebration of Norwich “The young people involved wouldn’t miss it for the world,” adding: “They enjoy showing off their talents and can encourage others to take up gymnastics.”

• Exposure

Creating a float for the procession will see your organisation going through the heart of the city in front up tens of thousands of people.

Bill Miller, education and engagement manager at St Eds Society, a charity which aims to improve employability for young people, said: “We often have enquiries.”

• Love your city

The Lord Mayor’s Weekend is easily the biggest weekend in the city’s calendar and it is a chance to celebrate all things Norwich.

Steve Temple, the owner of In Touch Systems, an IT company, usually organises the pirate-themed float which ends the procession.

He said: “As a child I grew up in Norwich and this was a great event. When I had a daughter I wanted to get involved with the procession.”

He said it should be a sense of civic duty to get involved: “We all work and make money in Norwich and we should give something back to the people of the city.”

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY:

• Closing date for entries is Tuesday 16 June.

• This year’s Lord Mayor’s Celebration runs from Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 July.

• The procession starts at 5pm on Saturday 4 July.

• Are you going enter a float this year? We want to hear from you. Please contact: george.ryan@archant.co.uk

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