St David's Day Parade

Opera Star Bryn Terfel and actor Philip Madoc are Patrons of the Parade
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The Journey of St David’s message
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The Journey of St David’s message to the Senedd on St David’s Day 1st March 2012
In November every year the Queen of England re-opens the Parliament in the House of Lords in Llondon. The traditional ceremony was planned by officials in 1852 when Queen Victoria opened the new Parliament buildings in the Palace of Westminster for the first time. The officials planned a pajeant of events taken from the history tof the English Parliament through the ages to create a specticle for the day. That is the thing about traditions, usually they were started by someone sometime.
On St David’s Day 2006, Queen Elizabeth II came to open the new Senedd in Cardiff Bay, with Prince Charles and family. Some wag of a civil servant in Llundain had the idea of sending a warship to park in Queen Alexandra Dock, next to our new Senedd - the name of the ship? - HMS Westminster - of course.
The Presiding Officer, Lord Elis Thomas, the Dean of St David’s (now Bishop of St David’s). The Very Reverend Wyn Evans, and myself had the idea to create our own tradition, here in Wales. The only person in our history with the right to give their blessing to the nation, the Senedd those who work for us in it, on St David’s Day is Saint David himself.
Because the Bishop of St David’s is a priest of St David, St David’s message of good will can be transported on the day of our Patron Saint from St David’s to the Senedd in Cardiff. On the way, of course, the message has to travel through Whitland - home of Wales’ first Senedd, and from there to Carmarthen, Wales’ capital in the middle ages and Swansea, almost our capital city and Cardiff, our present capital.
Also, the community which represents the oldest parliament in our history, as far back as 945 AD - the parliament of Hywel Dda, has the right to send paternal greetings to our nation’s youngest Senedd.
Of course the message should be carried by young people, especially athletes - it was the runners who carried the messages in ancient times.
Suddenly we discovered we had created a new ‘ancient tradition’. On St David’s Day 2006, in the snow, we drove down the A48 and M4 from St David’s to Cardiff with the boy and girl of the Welsh Athletics Team. Of course, the media had a greater interest in the Queen opening the Senedd to notice us starting a new national tradition - like subversives. The co-conspirators knew exactly what we were doing. The 2006 tradition has continued to the present and we hope will continue to the future.
This year, for the first time, Cardiff City are also joining the tradition when the Lord Mayor Delme Bowen carries the message himself from the centre of the City to join us and the Senedd’s Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler in the Senedd at 5 o’clock.
It has also come to be a tradition over 7 years that we have organised the Presiding Officer then to guide the young people round the Senedd - the whole day is unforgettable for them and everyone who takes part. You are all welcome to join in the events where we stop on the way and meet us.
Here is the program of the journey of St David’s 2012:    Thursday 1st March
Fel yn oes Mam Owain Glyndwr, mae e’n dda bod Llandysul yn arwaun y ffordd.
Dyma’r rhaglen taith Neges Dewi Sant 2012:       Dydd Iau 1af Mawrth
08.00    St David’s - Communion Service in the Cathedral
08.30    Walk up to the cross in the centre of the city.
09.00    Ceremony by the cross - The young people read the message, and the messages from the school children, to Mayor, Bishop and Dean - photos
09.30(45)    Leave St David’s by car for Whitland.
10.45    Turn into the car park of the Hywel Dda centre at Whitland.
            The Hywel Dda Centre - The Mayor and Chairman of the Hywel Dda Centre - introduces the messengers - photos - read the messages - Songs from Whitland School Choir dressed in traditional costume
11.15    Leave Whitland for Carmarthen.
11.45    Carmarthen - Guildhall Square - Meet the Mayor of Carmarthen - special stage and other events
            Messengers read the messages - photos
            The message from the town is presented to the messengers - photos
            Photo calls - lunch.
13.00?  Leave Carmarthen for Swansea
14.30    Arive at Swansea Guildhall
            The messengers read the messages and the Lord Mayor presents the message from Swansea City to the             collection - photos
15.00    Leave Swansea City for Cardiff West Service Station
            Gadael Gwasanaehau Gorllewin Caerdydd Y Dinas a Senedd
17.00    The Senedd - Meet the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and the messengers
            The messengers read the messages to Rosemary Butler and present them to her - photos
            The messengers are guided round the Senedd by the Presiding Officer.
Drive the messengers home to St David’s.

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