Hundreds line the street for what could be Brent’s last St. Patrick’s Day Parade
The crowd enjoyed Irish bagpipes and a colourful procession, but the day was tinged with sadness
Willesden High Road glowed green and orange yesterday as revellers descended on the street to enjoy the famous St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Hundreds of people from all over Brent lined the street, dressed in colourful costumes and flying flags, as they watched the procession weave its way down the road.
The sound of Irish bagpipes floated through the crowd as men and women, young and old, joined in the afternoon fun.
But the day was tinged with sadness as the parade, which has been the star attraction of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the borough for many years, could be in its final year.
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Last month, cash-strapped Brent Council voted to axe all funding for the March as it struggles to slash �100million from its budget.
Jim O’Sullivan, the former Brent Mayor and a prominent member of the Irish community, said: “It was great to see so many people there yesterday and there were so many people I have got to know over the decades.
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“But it was permeated with a great sadness as it could be the last.
“The many Irish people up and down Brent are a credit to the borough, they have made us very wealthy. The parade stood as a testament to this.
“But as the parade came to an end, people turned to one another and said that ‘it looks like we won’t be meeting again on this very special occasion’. It was very emotional.”
Looking back at the many years he has joined in the parade, Mr O’Sullivan, who has lived in Brent for more than 50 years, added: “What stands out to me are the memories of so many families coming together to celebrate and meet their friends who they haven’t seen perhaps since the previous year’s parade.
“But most special of all is to see the children dressed up in ribbons in their hair and take part in the parade. They are learning about their heritage – and so they should.
“Looking across at Brent it is important to recognise all those business people who have made this borough rich and great. It is about recognising the contribution of the Irish immigrants to the area.”