Residents of Ripon came out in force to support and watch the annual St Wilfrid’s procession.
This year, Life president of the Ripon Procession Committee, John Richmond said he felt the event was a huge success, even though there was sadness when St Wilfrid fell off his horse during the early stages of the procession.
Mr Richmond said: “The horse stumbled and St Wilfrid, played by Tommy Hartley fell off and had a sore elbow and a sore knee but both the horse Fudge and Tommy were fine.”
After Tommy was treated for minor injuries at Ripon hospital, he rejoined the parade as it reached the Cathedral. Sadly though the procession wasn’t for once led all the way round by Ripon’s patron saint.
Mr Richmond said of the day itself: “It is a massive event but it was a great success. Allhallowgate Methodist Church gave out free cakes and cups of tea and coffee, it was cream cakes galore. The fish shop, Drakes, came out with a dish of fishy things and the pubs brought out jugs of fizzy drinks. It was a marvellous occasion.”
St Wilfrid’s Day has a great carnival atmosphere and popular with local people who both come for the fun of the day, but also have the opportunity to enter a float and win a prize.
Mr Richmond said: “I have never seen so many people in all the processions and I have been taking part for a long time. This year nine floats took part, but we already have people saying they want to take part and enter a float next year. ”
The winning floats included; the best overall -Lamb and Flag pub’s ‘Flagna Carta’, best decorated - The Operatic Society ‘70th Anniversary’ float, most entertaining - Southfield Avenue’s ‘Field of Dreams’, best community effort - Sharow/Skelton School leavers’ ‘Carnival’, best commercial - Wolseley UK’s ‘Minion Mayhem’ and the best club - Ripon Swimming Club’s ‘Swim like an Egyptian’.
This year, organisers decided to do a few things differently including changing one of the official stopping places.
Mr Richmond said: “We changed one of the stopping places to Allhallowgate and it worked a treat. Traffic moved a lot easier and we had more toilet facilities, we’ve never done it before but it worked down to a tee. We also had a 1910 Talbot in the procession this year. The car is owned by Richard Sturdy, who dressed up with his wife in country clothing. It was like a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
The committee estimates that £2,000 was raised to help fund the event, as well as sponsorship from Eura Audit UK to meet the final cost.
Mr Richmond said: Apart from the damp weather, and St Wilfrid falling off, that was the only black mark on the whole day and everybody was laughing and smiling about it.”