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Celebrate Saint David's Day
JOIN THE PARADE People from across Wales are being urged to take part in a series of events being organised to mark St David's Day in Cardiff. For the fifth year in a row the National St David's Day Parade, whose motto is 'If You Love Wales You Should Be
Jacques-Yves Le Touze pour ABP le 29/02/08 0:56

JOIN THE PARADE

People from across Wales are being urged to take part in a series of events being organised to mark St David's Day in Cardiff. For the fifth year in a row the National St David's Day Parade, whose motto is 'If You Love Wales You Should Be There!' will take place in Wales's capital to mark the celebration of the country's patron saint on March 1. Organised by a group of volunteers the National St David's Day Parade, which also has the backing of the National Assembly for Wales and Cardiff Council, will form the centrepiece to the events taking place at various venues across the city. Secretary of the NSDDP, Gareth Westacott, said, “The support we've had from Cardiff Council and the National Assembly this year marks a quantum leap forward in the Parade's development and bodes well for future years.” Council Leader Rodney Berman said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to celebrate being in Wales on March 1st. This event has really captured people's imagination since it was first organised a few years ago and we hope that this year is no different. “I urge anyone who loves Wales to come along on the day and take part in the parade or the other activities taking place across Cardiff to mark St David's Day.” Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas added, “I look forward welcoming the St David's Day parade to the home of the National Assembly for the first time. The parade has been going from strength to strength since it first started and I am delighted that it is finishing at the Senedd this year. I hope to be welcoming many people from all parts of Wales to their building to celebrate the day of our patron saint.” More than 2,000 people took part in the Parade in 2007 and it is hoped that as March 1st falls on a Saturday this year even more will take part in 2008 to show their pride in being Welsh and celebrate the country's unique heritage and history. The day of events will begin at 11am with the Wales National St David's Day Service, which will be hosted by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff Cllr Gill Bird at Llandaff Cathedral. The activity then moves to the city centre with anyone wanting to take part in the parade being asked to form up in front of the steps of the National Museum for Wales at 12.45pm for a short opening ceremony, to be addressed by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Cllr Gill Bird, and the poet T James Jones, winner of the Chair at the 2007 National Eisteddfod. The parade then gets underway at approximately 1.15pm The Parade will follow a route down St Mary Street, Custom House Street, Bute St, Lloyd George Avenue and 'The Flourish' before passing in front of the Millennium Centre and around the Pierhead Building to finish at the Senedd. This year, as in every year previously, the Parade will be led by Glamorgan's very own Welsh bagpipe and drum band, 'Bagad Bro Morgannwg' followed by the 'Cambria Drum Band' from Wrexham, and the 'Welsh Horse', an historical pageant cavalry troupe. And in recognition of the very special historical, cultural and linguistic links between Wales and Brittany, this year's Parade will feature a strong Breton contingent from Quimper, 'Bagad Penhars' (one of Brittany's finest bagpipe and drum bands accompanied by their own team of dancers), whose presence on the Parade is made possible by generous financial support from the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government, and the Breton Regional Council. Also travelling to Wales from across the channel are 'Bagad Naoned' and the dancers 'Treteau et Terroir' from Nantes, brought to Wales with financial support from Nantes City Council to the Nantes-Cardiff (twinning) Association.

And all those who take part will be encouraged to learn the words to a song that has been specially written for the parade, “Cenwch y Clychau i Dewi – Ring Out the Bells for St David.” The song which has been written by Gwenno Dafydd and Heulwen Thomas was launched at the Senedd on January 31. The city centre will be dressed to mark the occasion with flags and bunting depicting the cross of St David thanks to the Principality Building Society who has paid for the city to be decorated. And a number of shops and bars throughout the city will also be hosting special Welsh food tasting sessions throughout the day as well as the Really Welsh Food Festival showcasing the best in Welsh produce at Churchill Way from February 28 - March 1. When the marchers reach the Senedd in the Bay they will be welcomed by the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly Lord Elis-Thomas and the Fitzalan School Steel Band. A group of young rugby players will also perform a Welsh Haka, which has been choreographed by Earthfall, to mark the arrival of the marchers. A number of activities have also been planned in the Senedd including face painting, Welsh learning taster sessions and performances from Welsh choir Côr CF1 and folk dancing group Cwmni Dawns Caerdydd. Voting will also take place for Welsh Idol, a competition launched by the National Assembly for Wales on January 31st to identify Wales's foremost hero or heroine. The day of celebrations will culminate with a special BBC concert at St David's Hall during the evening which will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Hall. For further details of the concert which features the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and to book tickets visit the website at www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk Anyone can take part in the Parade and is asked to turn up in good time for the opening ceremony outside the Wales National Museum at 12.45pm on March 1. The Parade organisers are particularly keen to hear from bands or dancers wanting to take part in the event who are asked to visit the website www.stdavidsday.org to register their interest. For further information on the parade also visit the website www.stdavidsday.org (Ends)

For further information contact:

Cardiff Council Media Manager Anna Meredith on (029) 2087 2964; 07989 996112; e-mail ameredith [at] cardiff.gov.uk

National Assembly Media Relations Officer Anna Miller on (029) 2098 8646; anna.miller [at] wales.gsi.gov.uk

St David's Day Parade Secretary Gareth Westacott on (029) 2023 5920; 07933 780999

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