IF last year’s Shakespeare Birthday Celebrations were about commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of the world’s greatest playwright, this year’s party was very much a peoples’ affair. In particular the specially made 10,000 sonnets containing hidden prizes proved to be a great surprise for families with young children.
Stratford-upon-Avon was once again lucky with the weather for this annual pageant which attracted visitors from China, Japan, Canada and Sheffield but the thronged masses of last year were not to be repeated this time round.
Appreciative applause greeted the West Midlands Fire Service Band as they struck-up at the top of Bridge Street, with I Pledge to Thee My Country and, the ladies from the Coventry and Warwickshire Rock Choir were also well received.
Local primary and secondary schools took centre stage waving flags and banners during the traditional parade from Waterside upto Bridge Street and local dignitaries like the mayor, Cllr Juliet Short, the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire Timothy Cox and Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi were also part of the procession.
“I thought it went very well. The sun was out and we couldn’t ask for any more,” said Flair Gougoulia of Stratforward BID.
Holy Trinity Church – Shakespeare’s final resting place – looked glorious in the springtime sunshine and one little girl who walked with her mum to see Shakespeare’s tomb said: “I think he probably died in his sleep….” So let’s go with that perceptive thought from a young mind and conclude this great day with the last few lines of Hamlet: “Good night sweet prince and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!”
Until next year!