Scout leaders have rejected the annual Banbury St George’s Day parade in favour of an activity day.
The event, which usually takes place close to St George’s Day on April 23, has traditionally taken place in Banbury town centre starting with a service in St Mary’s Church and concluding with a parade through the streets and a salute taken by the town mayor.
Rumours in town that the event had been rejected because of the cost of road closures were denied this week.
District commissioner Nick Davis said the division is ringing the changes with an activity afternoon on the former USAF airfield at Upper Heyford, now Heyford Park.
“It’s nothing to do with money. We decided to do something different. Rather than bringing something to the community we will be bringing the community to us,” said Mr Davis.
“We will be having a parade, the renewal of promises and an inspection at Heyford Park on Sunday, April 27 from 2pm-4pm.
“Civic dignitaries will be invited as will parents who we hope will get involved with some of the activities planned for the afternoon. We will still be involved in the parade on Remembrance Sunday and many of our groups will be doing things in their communities,” he said.
“We hope we can get the whole district there – groups from Chipping Norton, Banbury and Bicester and the villages in between and grow it year on year.”
One Banbury mother, who did not want to be named, said she had enjoyed being part of the public Banbury St George’s Day parade as a child.
“I used to watch my son march with the Beavers and my mum used to watch me,” she said. “I do believe this is a community event that brings all ethnic groups together.”
Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry, a Scout Fellow, said: “I very much welcome an enlarged and wider event. Holding the St George’s Day celebrations at Heyford Park will enable a much larger group of Scouts from Banbury and Bicester to come together to celebrate St George’s Day.
“It will enable them to more widely involve parents in the day’s activities and will enable the Scouts to demonstrate a range of scouting skills in addition to renewing their vows.”