A 1200-strong parade of ships’ crews from around the world will make its way through the streets of Sunderland next month as part of the Tall Ships festival.
As host port for The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018, the city will welcome 54 sailing vessels and their crews for five days of celebration from 10 to 14 July.
And, on Thursday 12 July at 3pm, they will take part in a spectacular parade through the city, accompanied by Close Act, a walkabout group of electro-drummers on stilts from The Netherlands and a squad of 50 Hells Angels from Sunderland.
The bikers’ Club House, Angel’s Place, was used to house and rehabilitate injured sailors from the epic Battle of Trafalgar, in which Admiral Horatio Nelson took fire against a larger fleet of French and Spanish ships.
And the Hells Angels carefully guard the building’s very own Holy Grail – a full battle log naming the Sunderland sailors killed in the Battle of Trafalgar alongside Nelson.
The Crew Parade will set off from the Civic Centre and the route will go along Burdon Road, across Wearmouth Bridge, down to Bonnersfield, finishing at the stage area at St Peters Campus.
The parade ends with the Crew Prize-giving Ceremony at St Peter’s, led by Sail Training International – which organises the Races - and attended by The Mayor of Sunderland.
Joining the ships’ crews, who will parade in the alphabetical order of their ships, will be 152 sail trainees from Sunderland – about to embark on the experience of a lifetime when they take part in the races.
“The performers, bikers and, of course, the hundreds of crew having a great time means there will be a real carnival-style feel to the parade,” said Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture.
“There will be great viewing all along the route – from Burdon Road for the start and down Fawcett Street – and the plan is to give the crews a fantastic Wearside welcome.”