ORGANISERS of historic East Lancashire parades are fighting to save their events for future generations because of funding cuts, it has been claimed.
The St George’s Day march in Clitheroe, due to take place on Sunday, is the first to be called off because not enough volunteer marshalls had been trained.
Lancashire police recently backed out of marshalling parades and walks in the county, citing budget cuts, leaving organisers little time to find trained volunteers.
The Clitheroe parade has run for 99 years and last year around 500 Scouts and Guides took part.
It has been confirmed that a service at St Mary Magdalene’s Church will go ahead as planned.
Lancashire Police say they will continue to marshal Remembrance Day events.
But other organisers, including those of the Padiham Whit Walk and the Christmas lights switch on parade, are still fighting to secure confirmation to hold their events this year.
In order for parades to go ahead, marshals now have to be trained to stand in for the police, but marshals were not able to be given the training in time for this year’s event.
Ian Macdonald, district commissioner of Clitheroe Scouts, said: “I’m bitterly disappointed that this has happened.
“The St George’s Day parade is one of our biggest annual events and even more important this year because of the centenary.
“We have tried to find a way around this problem but it hasn’t happened.
“I’m hopeful that the parade will return next year.”
Uncertainly still remains over other parades throughout the county including Padiham Whit Walk.
The Rev Mark Jones, of St Leonard’s Church, who is an organiser of the walk, said: “We have around 400 people who take part every year and local people would be really sad to see it go.
“It’s part of Lancashire’s cultural heritage.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that the walk goes ahead on June 15 and have been getting quotes from traffic management companies to help with the road closures.
“This is going to be a headache every year from now on.”
Kevin Horkin, chairman of Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership, said: “I’m very concerned because the police are meant to be at the heart of the community. This could be detrimental to community relations across Lancashire.”
Phil Barrett, director Lancashire County Council highway services, said: “As the police are no longer prepared to marshal these types of events, the county council as the highway authority is working with the police, district councils and event organisers to ensure that they can take place safely and with the least disruption, where they affect the public highway.
“We recognise the importance of parades and community events and the resource implications for all involved, which is why we are working to produce guidance on the best way to ensure that they can continue wherever possible.”