Lack of support blamed for end of peace parade

Date published: 26 August 2010

A decision has been made not to hold the Peace Parade in Rochdale this year, after organisers expressed concern over support for the event.

The Peace Parade has been an annual fixture in Rochdale since 2006.

Sven Goran Erikkson’s glamorous girlfriend Nancy Dell'Olio has attended twice, Gordon Brown recorded a message of support and thanks to Rochdale for hosting the parade, and there have been two Early Day Motions in the House of Commons championing the event.

Organisers of the Peace Parade, held on the United Nations’ International Day of Peace and Non-Violence on 21 September, hoped that one day it would become as popular as Remembrance Sunday and that it would define Rochdale as a ‘Beacon of Hope’ for the country and the world.

Organiser John Farrington said: “Peace Parade UK has striven for five years to establish this event as an official fixture in Rochdale’s diverse annual calendar.

“Every year we have received varying levels of support and each year we have fought the same battles for funding and support. This year we have found it even more difficult to gain support from RMBC (Rochdale Council) and have, with great regret, come to the conclusion that Rochdale does not at this time want to fully embrace the concept of an official observation of this event.

“2010 will be the fifth annual observation and we assumed we would have been better welcomed and supported to have enabled other towns to follow suit, to follow Rochdale’s example - not just Peace Parade UK’s.

“We still intend to establish a annual Peace Parade across the UK and its attendant events promoting the United Nations’ International Day of Peace and Non-Violence and we are currently working on alternative plans to make this happen. It is now counter-productive for our organisation to continue to grow in Rochdale as PPUK needs to maintain its national direction and goal.”

A spokesperson for Rochdale Council said: “We were approached in January about the Peace Parade. There was an informal cabinet meeting on 4 February and they decided that we were willing to support the Peace Parade UK in kind but not with any significant financial amount. We had offered to contribute £1000 towards promotion and printing costs and we would have informed staff and schools but we were not in the position to invest a great deal of money.

“Peace Parade UK is a private initiative. The organisers wanted Alexandra Burke to play in front of the Town Hall. This would be a big show and would have huge costs involved. In previous years we have provided financial support but we must cut back this year.

“We may be able to support the Peace Parade in 2011.”

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