Liberation celebrations to stick with parishes

GUERNSEY’S island-wide cavalcade will be back this year as the island sticks with more community-based Liberation Day celebrations after the success of last year’s event.

The Liberation Day cavalcade going through St Martin’s Village last year. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30415288)
The Liberation Day cavalcade going through St Martin’s Village last year. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30415288)

The 2021 event was scaled back due to Covid concerns, but there were parish events and a tour of all the parishes by historic vehicles.

Now Education, Sport & Culture has decided to split funding which would have previously been used to put on events in Town and distribute it to douzaines for them to organise official parish celebrations.

The overall budget for Liberation Day will remain the same. Discussions have taken place with parish representatives, with widespread support for this change in approach.

On Liberation Day the morning commemorative events will remain in St Peter Port with the laying of the wreath, the military parade, parade inspection and Town Church service.

During the afternoon the island-wide cavalcade will pass through the centre of Town, and Castle Cornet’s ‘Liberation Music at the Castle’, with free entry all day, will also go ahead. A firework display will again take place over St Peter Port in the evening.

In the past the afternoon would have seen events and games focused on the piers, with only some parishes putting on events.

But now it is hoped parishes will become the main focus, so grants will go to them rather than commercial events.

Torteval senior constable Becky Link said Liberation Day 2021 had been one of the best.

‘In Torteval a Liberation Day church service was organised and then we had a “Bring and Share” lunch in the parish hall,’ she said.

‘At 2pm we walked up to the main road, where we had the pleasure of watching the cavalcade. It was fantastic. Having chatted to many, many parishioners, everyone agreed it was a brilliant day and so much better than going into Town. We appreciate that on the big anniversaries there might be some Town events, but we truly are happy to keep it to the parish.’

There has been live streaming of the last two Liberation Days and this has been a success.

The church service with music, island-wide cavalcade and fireworks will be live-streamed this year.

Education, Sport & Culture member Sue Aldwell is the lead for the Liberation Day Committee.

‘We are so excited about the plans for this year and the direction of travel for future Liberation Days,’ she said.

‘Last year was such a success as the whole community came together to put on events throughout the island.

‘The feedback we received, including the hugely popular island-wide cavalcade, was so enthusiastic. When officers leading on the organising of Liberation Day came up with the plan to move forward with parish-focused celebrations, the committee was fully supportive. Liberation Day is for the whole island and by ensuring every parish has the opportunity to secure funding to host an event, we are going to make it as accessible as possible for everyone to get involved.

‘We are looking forward to sharing more with the community as we continue working with the parishes and plans develop further.’

A comprehensive programme of what’s on in all parishes across the day will be compiled and shared at liberationday.gg.

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