We caught up with John Ives who is one of the coordinators of the annual St George’s Day procession – who shares some of its history, the parade route today and what this might mean for the future of the Eye of York as part of the Castle Gateway project.
The York Scout and Guide St George’s Day Procession is regarded as the largest in the country with approximately 2000 young people and Leaders from the Scout & Guide Movements in the York area taking part. The traditional procession route is from the Eye of York to a service in York Minster and the parade then returns to the Eye of York. The Eye of York has been used from at least the late 1950s/early 1960s. Although there is reference to other St George’s Day celebrations on the site as early as 1684 when a 7 gun salute started a fire!
The route of the procession through the city is discussed and agreed with the City of York Council, the Yorkshire Ambulance Service and North Yorkshire Police.
It is as follows:
Outgoing: Eye of York, Tower Street, Spurriergate, Coney Street, St Helen’s Square, Davygate, Duncombe Place.
Return: Duncombe Place, Davygate, Parliament Street, High Ousegate, Tower Street, Eye of York.
On the return to the Eye of York the salute is taken in Duncombe Place.
The event is regularly attended by the City of York Council Civic Party, the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire (who is traditionally also the Scout County President) the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, the Chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, the Chief Constable and Scouting and Guiding commissioners. Recently Rachael Maskell MP for York Central has also attended (she is a former Guide and Beaver Scout Leader).
The Eye of York serves as a marvellous and spectacular meeting point for the Scouting and Guiding Movements for the St George’s Day procession to the Minster. This event serves as a major publicity event for Scouting and Guiding each year. It is an iconic feature of York and should remain as a focal point for City events.