‘A tremendous honour’ - Lord Mayor Martin Schmierer says why Celebration still matters

The Sheriff and Lord Mayor of Norwich in the Archant office. PHOTO: Archant

The Sheriff and Lord Mayor of Norwich in the Archant office. PHOTO: Archant - Credit: Archant

To mark this weekend's celebrations, the Lord Mayor Martin Schmierer and Sheriff of Norwich Ros Brown have guest edited the Norwich Evening News. Here they explain why this weekend is so important.

The Sheriff and Lord Mayor of Norwich in the Archant office. PHOTO: Archant

The Sheriff and Lord Mayor of Norwich in the Archant office. PHOTO: Archant - Credit: Archant

With the prospect of England doing well in the football and the Lord Mayor's Celebrations going on, this weekend promises to be a fantastic opportunity for the people of Norwich and Norfolk of all ages to come together and enjoy our fine city. This weekend of events can trace its roots back to 1404 and has become a firm fixture in the city's social calendar.

The theme of this year's Lord Mayor's Procession on Saturday afternoon is Circus 250. Norwich (alongside Great Yarmouth) was chosen as one of six cities to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the circus.

The procession will include five life size elephant puppets that will parade through the streets of the city as a historical nod to the PT Barnum and Bailey's parade of live elephants in 1898 which were iconically photographed going up Gaol Hill.

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There will also be another 64 floats that businesses, charities, community groups and schools have put on. The Sheriff and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many schools, groups, organisations and businesses that have been so enthusiastically involved in all the hard work preparing for this year's festivities.

Norwich is a city that rightfully prides itself on its social and cultural offering and the Sheriff and I are delighted to lead on the Lord Mayor's Celebrations which have become an important series of events which showcase some of the best Norwich has to offer.

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It is a tremendous honour for us both to carry on this proud tradition. England and Norwich more specifically has always excelled at putting on these kinds of celebrations which promote a sense of civic pride.

Last year it was estimated that over 40,000 took part and we hope that you can join us this weekend to make it yet another great success. With the start time of the procession having been moved back an hour to 6pm, it means that we can all enjoy the football beforehand.

So many different events, exhibitions, stalls and workshops will be taking place throughout the weekend, with Saturday's celebrations culminating with fireworks from Norwich Castle at 10.30pm.

Sunday promises to be another fun day of events happening around the city. The Great Duck Race looks to be biggest yet with over 6,000 rubber ducks expected to float down the River Wensum from Lady Julian Bridge at 2pm, while the Urban Art Fair returns from 11am-4pm.

However, this is more than just about having a good time. It is also an opportunity for us to promote this year's civic charity and raise much needed funds so that it can continue its excellent work, supporting those most vulnerable in our city.

This year, we have chosen The Feed as our charity – a local social enterprise working to help people who have experienced homelessness and/or mental health issues, supporting them to access long term housing, training and employment.

I am sure everyone has been struck by the plight of the growing numbers of people sleeping rough around our city. The work that The Feed does, notably its attempts to deal with the underlying issues associated with homelessness through providing training opportunities in the catering industry offers a practical and innovative solution to a problem faced by cities and towns up and down the country.

There will be official charity collectors raising money during the procession. Any donation, large or small, would be very welcome for this incredibly worthwhile cause. You can also donate online at www.thefeed.org.uk.

Norwich is a great city. This promises to be a great event. Let's all have a lot of fun together and we look forward to seeing you there!

Our coverage is sponsored by First Eastern Counties.

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