Exciting drive to make this year's St Wilfrid's Procession the biggest and best yet

Last year's St Wilfrid's Procession
Last year's St Wilfrid's Procession

An important public meeting will reveal exciting opportunities to get involved in this year’s St Wilfrid’s Procession, which organisers are determined to make the biggest and best yet.

This year’s procession on August 4 promises to be a spectacular culmination of Ripon’s Yorkshire Day celebrations, as the city takes centre stage to host a week of events.

Members of the St Wilfrid’s Procession committee have organised a meeting for residents to find out more about entering a float, and volunteering to be part of a great Ripon tradition.

Starting at 7.30pm on March 13 at the Golden Lion, the meeting will be a chance for procession regulars to share tips and advice with those that are thinking about entering a float for the first time.

The committee is keen for as many residents to attend as possible, whatever their level of interest - whether someone wants to enter a float, volunteer on the day, or help with some event planning leading up to it.

Committee member Vicki Livingstone said: “Every year we want the procession to be bigger and better. It’s a day where everyone comes out, you see people you haven’t seen since the previous year - there’s always such a good atmosphere. Everybody in Ripon looks forward to it.

“People just want to keep it going as long as they can. It’s a tradition they’ve grown up with. Everybody enjoys themselves, and it makes you proud to be from Ripon.”

The annual fundraising ball for the procession was held at Ripon Spa Hotel on Saturday night, and the bumper attendance reflected how much it matters to residents to keep the tradition going.

The sell-out event raised more than £2,000, and committee secretary Sue Simms has thanked everyone for their ongoing support, including those who donated auction lots.

She said: “We’re so grateful to everyone for their support. And we would love to see anybody who is interested in getting involved in the procession at the meeting.”

Sue said the aim is to have more than 15 floats in this year’s procession, with a big turnout of residents on the day.

She said: “Having a float is great publicity for the groups and organisations taking part.”

For the first time in the procession’s history, the role of St Wilfrid was played by a woman last year, and this year, Laura Hodgson will take up the role again with her trusty horse Dougie. With five months to go, Laura is already looking forward to being part of it.

She said: “It’s a community event and a fun family day out. I’m certainly looking forward to it, and seeing the support from the city again. Every street along the route was lined with residents last year, it was amazing. It’s been going on for years and years, it’s a tradition that people really look forward to.

“It’s lovely to see all the floats, and everyone supporting each other. People should support the procession because it is our children and grandchildren who will be growing up in the city, it’s important to show some support and keep it going for them.”

To found out more about getting involved in this year’s event, email committee secretary Sue Simms: suepaul31@aol.com

The committee is also keen to hear from any companies that might be able to offer wagons for the procession floats.