Over The Rainbow will be big pandemic thank-you present to Chichester

Former Mayor of Chichester Richard Plowman will fulfil his pandemic promise with a big thank-you party for the city.

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 7:05 am
Richard Plowman
Richard Plowman

“During my mayoral two-year term of office, I promised to throw a party for the whole of the Chichester community to say thank you to the NHS, particularly St Richard’s staff, but to all the front-line workers once the virus was manageable and most of us have had our jabs.

“Having discussed this with the Chichester Community Network and through the Chichester City Council community affairs committee, chaired by Cllr Clare Apel, a separate, independent event committee will be set up for Over the Rainbow, with the assistance of the Chichester City Council. Hopefully, we can draw on the experience of the successful Priory Park 100 event in 2018.”

Over the Rainbow will be a free event in Priory Park on Thursday, September 30 from 5-8pm under the Rotary Banner. September 30 was the day of the celebrations for Priory Park’s centenary three years ago and is now becoming something of a “Chichester Day”, Richard says. As for the event itself, there will be parades, entertainment, special choirs and a new anthem March On from Emily Barden’s mass choir and Chichester City Band. Children in the parade will make a rainbow on the Mound, and special Covid-19 medals will be handed out by the current Mayor to selected individuals. Chichester vintage entertainer Dawn Gracie will arrange the live entertainment.

“It will be really good for us as a community to reunite after the lockdowns just to show that this is Chichester, that we have all done brilliantly and we are all going to be together going forward.”

The event is being organised on the back of the new Chichester Town Square platform which has been launched online as a way of starting to bring people back together.

“Chichester Town Square is going to be virtual initially with interviews with people on there probably on a weekly basis and people will be able to come in and give a donation which will go towards the Over The Rainbow event.

“At Over The Rainbow we will have a parade of NHS people and frontline workers led by a samba band and Dawn will make sure it is all inclusive. There will also be a children’s parade. The children will be dressed up in different colours of the rainbow and carrying a coloured square with which they will build a rainbow on the Mound.” The inspiration was an idea which worked well at the Priory Park 100 celebrations: “Then we will hand out the medals.”

Chichester city councillors are nominating people: “We are wanting to find people that are a little bit different, people who have been through a particularly hard time and survived or people who have made an important contribution.” And then, again picking up on a Priory Park 100 idea which worked well, Emily Barden will return with a mass choir and perform March On, her new composition which Richard is seeing as a new Chichester anthem: “And then the choir will perform two or three other songs, perhaps Over The Rainbow, perhaps You’ll Never Walk Alone, and then we really start the party with Chichester Town Square Live. Dawn will be leading that. It will be acts that have found themselves in difficulties during the pandemic, not being able to play, and are now looking to re-establish themselves.

“And then we will finish as it grows dark with a torchlight procession whilst leaving the park.”