St George sat proudly on his steed as parade marshal Kevin Stead asked the permission of the Vice Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Tim Hare, who was gathered with civic dignitaries on the steps of Morley Town Hall, to get the parade underway this morning.
The celebration of all things English has been organised by Leeds branch of the Royal Society of St George since 2005, and included a fun day at Morley Rugby Club.
Rev Chris Johnson remarked on the “glorious, glorious” day before giving a blessing for all those parading, including hundreds of young people from scouts and girl guiding groups, air cadets and army cadets.
The Yorkshire Volunteer Band, dressed in bright red uniforms, struck up a tune as they followed St George, played by the appropriately-named Kevin Morley, at the front of the parade.
Among the many groups taking part were living history re-enactors, including Pontefract Home Guard, and children from Morley Rugby Juniors, who took part in a junior rugby tournament held for the first year after the parade.
Coun Bob Gettings, chairman of the Leeds branch of the Royal Society of St George, said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic, the sun has been shining and to see hundreds of young people taking part from the scouts and the guides, has been absolutely brilliant.”
And the key to Morley’s community spirit?
“Because they are just great people here,” Coun Gettings said. “They are all up for celebrating Englishness and are proud to be English. There’s lots of good will, lots of happiness, and a great free family event.”
Among those happy to be celebrating were three-year-old Robert Chase, who waved a flag of St George throughout the parade.
His mum Sally, 28, of Morley, said: “This is the second year we’ve come. It’s a great atmosphere and Robbie loved seeing St George on his horse. It’s a lovely tradition to keep going.”
Michael Spivey and partner Leigh Fisher, brought along daughter Marcie, 18 months.
Mr Spivey, 31, of Morley, said: “It’s great for the town and for community spirit - it keeps moral up.”