Appeal for shire horse to lead Downham Market parade

A shire horse is needed to lead this year’s St Winnold’s Parade.

Downham Town Council is looking for a new shire horse to head the traditional parade through the town on Friday, March 20.

Usually the parade is led by Bernard, a Suffolk Punch gelding from Church Farm at Stow Bardolph, but he is out of action this year due to a sore foot.

The parade, which marks the granting of a market charter for the town in 1046 and its horse trading heritage, also includes ponies from the West Norfolk Riding Association for the Disabled along with numerous dignitaries.

Children from Hillcrest School and Nelson Academy are also involved.

One of the people behind the event is Nikki Hannan. She said: “To have a big proud horse leading the parade makes it look fantastic.

“We are going to do what we can to get one.”

If you have a shire horse which could lead the parade contact the council on 01366 387770.

For the first time, the council will be flying the flag for the Commonwealth on Monday, March 9.

Mayor John Doyle will be reading the official affirmation before the flag is raised by a teacher from Downham Academy in the town square. Children from the town’s schools will also be taking part in the 10am event.

Deputy clerk Richard Davidson is inviting residents to attend.