THE HISTORY of Dover - and the surrounding area  came to life at Connaught Park on Monday in one of the most ambitious events staged in the town for many years.

More than 300 people took part in the Dover Pageant, watched in glorious sunshine by thousands more, as they enacted scenes from the time of the Druids and early Britons through to the days of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the New World.

The spectacular took more than two hours to perform and involved many local groups and individuals in a wide range of elaborate and colourful costumes.

The well-researched script was written by former Dover school teacher Noreen Thomas. It was read by Roy Mann, Cindy Tuson and minstrel Ben Munro. Pageant master Mike McFarnell and assistant pageant mistress Lorraine Sencicle had worked tirelessly to put the event together. The spectacle was presided over by Old Father Time, Tony Payne, who displayed the changing years as the story unfolded. The pageant, inspired by the original Dover Pageant of 1908, brought many sections of the community together. 

It culminated in a parade depicting the 44 Dovers worldwide, led by the 1992 Miss Dover Katia Espinosa. Among those organisations who took part were The Squires School of Dancing, pupils from St Mary's Primary School, Dover College and the Dover Girls' Grammar School, staff from Dover Leisure Centre, the White Cliff Experience, and the White Cliffs Countryside Project - complete with dexter cattle - members and officers from District Council regulars from the night club. Many of the acting out scene in some way, related to their present day activities. It was natural, for example, that the Navigator and his team should be portrayed by representatives from Dover Harbour Board, and that the Dover Sea Cadets should be the pirates. The Elvington Cadets from the St John Ambulance Brigade were particularly impressive as the Knight Hospitallers, and the Dover YMCA, and Dover Townswomen's Tuesday Afternoon Guild combined as the Court of Henry VIII. Staff from Andrea's Hair Fashions, McDonalds and Dover Museum, and members from Temple Ewell Women's Institute, Bench I Street post office, and the Norsemen of Kent were among the others who took part. Jean Pearson sang the Ballad of St Martin. He is the patron saint of Dover. There were some exciting mock battles as the Romans invaded and the Vikings moved in to pillage and plunder. Wellington's Ball

The pupils of St Mary's, School staged an impressive story about William the Conquerer and the Domesday Book using two blocks of 2 piece display boards, which changed as the story was told. There was plenty of excitement in the chariot races, too, organised by the Victim Support Scheme. Winners were the Body Lines team of Jane Powell, Mark Starling, Andy New, Dave Scopes and Alan Hilton. The Tesco team of Sinead Watson, Carol Cook, Mandy Sutton, Angela McLoughlin and David Hohnan, won the ladies race, and the prize for the fastest time went to Welcome Break - Kerry Jefferson, Mark Shopland, Shane Keyes, Jason Wilton and Connor Armstrong. The prize for  sportsmanship went to the team from the Crown Court at Maidstone, Martine Chaston, Ed Newbold, James Ellen, Chris Goddard and Keith Warren.

There was another fine display by the band from 1992 Duke of York's Military School Band