‘Major revision’ to 2021 Lewes Moving On parade announced

The arts charity behind the Lewes Moving On parade has confirmed this year’s event will go ahead but with ‘a major revision to plans’ following the extension of lockdown restrictions.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 10:25 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 8:50 pm
A pupil in the 2019 Moving On parade, which had the theme children's literature and title Once upon a Moving On. Photograph: Derek Martin/ DM1970891a

Patina (parents and teachers in the arts) is due to hold the celebration, which marks year 6 school leavers’ transition to secondary school, next Friday (July 2).

In a statement, the charity said following talks, including with public health officials, this year’s event will now take place in a ‘quieter area of town’, not through the High Street, and that there will be two smaller parades – one in the morning and one in the afternoon – to reduce crowd numbers.

It is also limiting family, guardians or carers at the parades to a maximum of two people per child – preferably one – and asking that other members of the public do not attend to further minimise risks.

Schools taking part in last year's Moving On were encouraged to hold their own celebrations. Photograph: Peter Whyte

The parades are due to be filmed and footage shared for the community to watch.

Current government guidelines on outdoor school events, such as sports days, require existing restrictions, for example class and year-group bubbles, to be maintained. Spectators must follow social distancing and legal gathering limits – outdoors that is groups of up to 30, with multiple groups potentially permitted if they do not mix and depending on the size of the area.

Director of Patina Caroline Croft said: “Our priority is to keep everyone safe. We also have an absolute commitment to giving the children the best Moving On celebrations we possibly can.

“We appreciate this is a major revision to plans and we are of course very disappointed not to be able to have a parade that the whole community can see, but we really wanted to find a good compromise that works in terms of covid safety and celebration.

Participants in the 2018 Moving On parade, which had the title Spread Your Wings and Fly. Photograph: Peter Cripps

“This is a once in a lifetime moving on moment for the children that can’t be postponed until next year. They look forward to this moment for years and have worked so hard on their beautiful costumes. We want to do all we can to make Moving On possible for them as it has been for thousands before them.”

Four-hundred and sixty children from 16 schools are due to take part in this year’s event.

For 2021 – the 20th year of the tradition – the title is Wild in the Woods, with pupils looking to the life of trees, woodland species and stories set in woods for costume inspiration.

As part of the project, each school has decorated a branch of a handmade tree on which children will attach wishes for the future. The branches will form a ‘wish tree’ to symbolise togetherness and hope which will go on show from 4pm next Friday in the Paddock, in Lewes, and on July 3 and 4 at Old Hamsey Church, Hamsey.

Students with hand-made works for 2020's virtual celebrations. Photographs: Patina

It is the second year that Patina has had to rethink Moving On due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last year’s event, which had the title We Are Making History and looked at fashion trends across the decades, saw the public parade cancelled. Celebrations included a virtual ‘catwalk through time’ and schools were encouraged to have mini parades and parties on the day of what would have been Moving On.