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Dragon, horses and dancers: Shakespeare procession in King's Lynn




To commemorate the birthday of William Shakespeare and St George's Day, the first dragon procession since the 1540s came to King's Lynn this afternoon.

Organised by the Shakespeare's Guildhall Trust, a procession with Morris dancers and Norwich's Snap the Dragon walked from the Town Hall to St George's Guildhall.

As crowds of onlookers gathered, the procession continued its route via the High Street and Tuesday Market Place.

The Whifflers, the bodyguard of the Lord Mayor of Norwich, loaned the dragon for the event and took part in the procession.

Actor and Guildhall trustee Tim FitzHigham recited the famous rallying speech from the play Henry V while on horseback at the end of the procession.

He was accompanied by another horse called Spanish Heights, which was the grandson of the Queen's Grand National winner.

Mr FitzHigham said: "These are special occasions to get people to come to the Guildhall and celebrate it.

"I was born here and I do not think we celebrate King's Lynn enough. It was nice to see so many people joining in.

"It takes a lot of preparation to organise these things. The horses have got to be plaited, shaved and brought into the town".

Mr FitzHigham said the Trust came across the 16th century tradition while searching the archives for the Guildhall.

It was the first time since 1546 that the dragon procession has taken place in King's Lynn.

Organiser Ivor Rowlands said: "We have rekindled the tradition which has not been in Lynn since the 1540s, and we hope it will become an annual event and a key date in the calendar.

"We are delighted to bring this all together along with the sunshine. It's been a wonderful day to support the Guildhall".

Mr Rowlands admitted there were not too many volunteers willing to ride the horse through town in a suit of armour!

"He [Mr FitzHigham] was the only one who put his hand up to the task!" he said.

"I do not think there are many of us who could have done that".

Mayor Nick Daubney was in attendance for the procession and said the event helped to raise the profile of the Guildhall as campaigners seek to save it from the threat of closure.

Commenting on the acting, Mr Daubney said: "I am sure that's just what Shakespeare had in mind when he wrote those words!

"I thought the speech was delivered magnificently. This group of people has come together and the enthusiasm has been really important for the town".

The King’s Lynn Shakespeare Festival will take place in Lynn from Friday to Sunday later this week.

Visit www.kingslynnshakespeare.com/events.html for more information on the events taking place, which includes a practical workshop on the acting of Shakespeare.

More pictures from the dragon procession to follow.



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