Fight is on to save Hastings Jack in the Green and May bike run

Action is already being taken locally to try and prevent the May Day bank holiday Monday from being scrapped next year.

Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 12:21 pm
May Day Protest Final SUS-191106-100456001

A move by the Government to replace the Monday bank holiday on May 4 with a Friday bank holiday for VE Day on May 8 has thrown plans for the popular annual celebration into doubt.Monday is always the date for the big procession through the Old Town and the colourful finale of the four day festival. It sees thousands of people lining the streets and people come from miles around to take part.

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People involved with Jack in the Green say they have no problem with a bank holiday to celebrate the anniversary of VE Day, but insist that it should be an extra bank holiday with the Monday bank holiday retained.

Road closures for the Monday of next year’s Jack in the Green have already been approved and paid for and bands booked for the event.

It will also affect accommodation bookings for the many people who arrive in Hastings and book year on year.

One of the green men who takes part in the procession each year comes from Canada and has already organised a flight and accommodation.

Now local people have launched a Government petition

It is not just local people who are protesting. The change in date will also affect other traditional May Day celebrations, including the popular Sweeps Festival in Rochester, Kent.

A nation-wide social media group was formed on Monday and Morris Dancers from across the country are planning to march on Parliament later this year to dance on the lawns outside to.

Back in 2011 Hastings people (pictured here) were involved in a successful demonstration in London when the Government was threatening to get rid of the early May bank holiday.

The planned change will also affect the May Day motorcycle run, which sees thousands of bikers making the journey to Hastings.

Organiser Howard Martin, in an open letter to Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “We are very pleased and proud that the Government have decided to dedicate a Bank Holiday to the 75th anniversary celebrations of VE day on May 8th 2020. However, as stakeholders in the massive success of May Day Bank Holiday Mondays in Hastings we have very serious concerns about the social and economic impact of merely moving the Monday holiday to Friday rather than dedicating Friday 8th as a VE Day Holiday while retaining the traditional Monday as the May Day Bank Holiday.

Over the past decade Hastings on May Day has become one of the biggest free to attend non-political May Day events in Europe.

“Up to 40,000 motorcycle enthusiasts visit the town to celebrate the welcome of the spring alongside the amazing spectacle of the traditional Jack in the Green festival and celebrations.”

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