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NEWHAVEN PAGEANT 2021
In 1944 a Pageant was staged in the Usher Hall to celebrate the centenary of the building of the present Victoria Primary school. It was a big, colourful, well supported and successful event. There were ten scenes, scripted by a Victoria School teacher, Miss Janet Smith, covering aspects of Newhaven’s story from its founding up to the date of the Pageant.
Held in the middle of the War, it was seen as a morale boosting event for the general public and also to raise funds to endow beds for the children’s ward in Leith Hospital. Seventy five years or so on seems like a good time to have another for a number of reasons. If all goes to plan, 2020/21 will be the last full year for the bairns to be taught in Victoria Primary before they transfer to the new school in Windrush Drive. A pageant would be a fitting farewell.
A Pageant could give us the chance to start the ball rolling and put Newhaven back into the limelight it deserves. It’s a starting point for working with the whole community, giving anyone who wants, the chance to contribute.
We have to have a theme that reflects our past and keys into present day world concerns. We chose the sea for a number of reasons. The sea is under threat. Plunder and pollution by mankind is making it an increasingly hostile place for the life that lives in or depends on it. People have to live in balance with the sea and the focus of the event will be on helping us to restore that balance. This needs us to look and learn about what is happening to our environment and to get people to work together to improve it.
There is an ever-growing number of activities showing the damage that is being done and giving ideas on how we can make the changes we should. This can only happen if the ordinary people become extraordinary and fight for a better environment.
The seeds of this process have already been sown by the “Forth Shoreline Project”. In our event we aim to help the different communities and groups flourish by giving them the information they will need and helping them develop ways of working that will succeed. And we want to make it fun.
We’re calling it the “the Road to the Sea”. The mascot for the event is an unusual one.
On a suitable green space along Western Harbour Drive we will erect a a life size model of a Leedsichthys — (around sixteen and a half metres long and 2 metres high) — our “Big Fish”.
We are choosing this long extinct fish to reflect the present perils confronting the sea. This was the biggest-ever bony fish which swum around our ancient oceans. The model would be built and decorated under supervision by the bairns. It would have one side covered by papier mache panels on which suitable images and messages will be designed that promoted the cherishing of our local environment. On the other side, open work nets (collected locally) would reveal the amount of litter collected on the beaches and main thoroughfares of Newhaven. Its key functions will be to remind us of the vulnerability of our environment, how much we pollute it and also act as a source of re-usable plastic. Apparently it is possible to make synthetic oyster beds from recycled plastic bottles. We are hoping to promote a project to re-introduce oysters to the Forth. The slogan would be “a bed for every oyster”.
Our final destination for our Pageant would be the green space at the far end of Western Harbour Drive where we would hope to organise a conventional “fiesta” type festival. This would the climax of our procession starting from the Harbour and walking along the route of the Breakwater. There we would have a variety of open air events and the focus would be FUN and food.
If you are interested and want to help, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will contact you.
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