Page last updated at 07:58 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

St George's Day parade is saved

The St George's Day Parade in West Bromwich in 2006
Thousands of people are expected to turn out for the parade

A businessman has stepped in to save a St George's Day parade in the West Midlands after a local council pulled its funding over racism fears.

Last month Sandwell Council said it would not pay for the event on 23 April through West Bromwich.

It said it had seen footage of last year's event which showed it had been "infiltrated" by the far right.

Local truck company director Chris Kelly has now pledged 10,000 to allow the parade to go ahead.

The event's organisers, the Stone Cross St George's Day Association, had maintained the parade was not political and not racial.

English flag

Mr Kelly, of the Keltruck company, said he came forward after seeing the issue highlighted on the BBC's Politics Show.

He said: "If people want to unite behind the English flag then so be it, as far as I'm concerned.

"It's not for a council to decide that."

The council had funded the parade for the past five years.

Leaders at the authority said they had made the decision based on advice from a watchdog.

The council's scrutiny committee is meeting later to finalise health and safety details for the parade.

Thousands of people are expected to turn up for the event.

The council said it would still be spending 38,000 on other St George's Day celebrations this year, including a family fun-day on 18 April and a concert at the Town Hall on 23 April.

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The council said that Chris Kelly's offer was generous



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SEE ALSO
St George's parade racism fears
12 Feb 09 |  West Midlands

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