Left 1985 Dover Pageant
Williams, of London Road,
Dover, dressed as Princess
Elizabeth with Mike
McFarnell Master of the
1985 Dover Pageant.
GLORIOUS sunshine brought the crowds out for Dover Castle Pageant on Monday, when over 8,000 attended. The last pageant, in 1983, was blighted by rain but this time could not have been better - a long-awaited taste of summer.
The event got off to a colourful start with the release of hundreds of balloons by Scouts to celebrate the bicentenary of the first crossing of the English Channel by balloon by Blanchard and Jeffries in 1785. The signal for the release of the balloons, each tagged with a name and address, was given by the Countess of Guilford.
The lack of wind was pleasant for the fast-swelling crowds but meant many balloons needed some gentle persuasion before they would part company with Connaught Park.
Chariot races provided some excitement with two teams from Pageant sponsors Sealink British Ferries - from the ferry St Anselm and from the shore staff - from Dover Fire Brigade (Chariots of Fire!), Dover Rugby Club, and, for Inernational Youth Year, from the YMCA.
Greatest spectacle of the day was the grand parade - centuries of history portrayed in mainly home-made, but nevertheless excellent, costumes. Seven-year-old Xanthe Williams, of London Road, Dover, dressed as Princess Elizabeth, was picked as the best of those taking part in the parade.
The time when Henry VIII passed through Dover to the field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520, entertained by Maypole
PAGEANT organiser Mike McFarnell joins in the big parade and Morris Dancers, was recreated as was Charles I landing at Dover to reclaim his crown.
Hundreds of children chased Bryn Thomas, of Dover Road Runners Club, in a Hare and Hounds race while a jazz band played.
Music of a different kind came from the Duke of York's Royal Military School Band which played and paraded the 44 Dover's throughout the world.
Climax to the events came with a daylight firework display recreating Hellfire Corner - Dover suffering enemy bombardment from 1940-45. That brought things to a spectacular close and history had well and truly been brought to life.
For organiser Mike McFarnell, of Harold Street, Dover, delighted with an estimated 8,000 to 9,000 visitors, it was an all round success "1 am very happy," he said afterwards.