Huge crowds thronged the heart of Preston on Saturday to celebrate its first Guild as a city.
Thousands gathered on the Flag Market to hear the third and final proclamation heralding the imminent arrival of the 2012 Guild.
Just before 10.30am today, six dignitaries in red, gold and black civic robes led Preston Guild Mayor Carl Crompton and his party onto the steps of the Harris Museum, where he took centre stage for the ceremony which dates back to mediaeval times.
A fanfare of trumpets was followed with a bellowing cry of “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” to bring about a hush among the spectators.
To the mayor’s right a Guild choir’s clear tones rang out in harmony above the crowds whole fell quite to hear the poignant lyrics of the Guild anthem inspired by the festival’s traditions.
The song, penned for the occasion by poet Lemn Sissay and artistic Pete Moser director, was greeted by applause.
Then came a further cry of Oyez and the excited crowd listened intently as Lorraine Norris, the first ever female Guild Clerk, delivered the historic proclamation to Guild burgesses Preston residents and visitors.
In ceremonial wig and black robes, Mrs Norris read the words that have remained the same for hundreds of years, announcing the arrival of the Guild and ending with an emphatic ‘God Save the Queen.’
Councillors past and present, from Preston and other borough, plus other dignitaries, completely filled the Harris steps,eight rows deep, while the crowds packed out every inch of the historic Flag Market from the grandstand to Fishergate.
Another dignified trumpet fanfare followed by the national anthem, applauded rapturously at the end. Then dressed in purple ceremonial robes, the mayor delivered his address to the city.
Coun Crompton said: “Ladies and gentleman, Preston Guild is finally here. We have all waited 20 years to hear these words, now the wait is over. Let the whole city celebrate together.
“Let everyone enjoy everything the Guild has to offer. Over the next 10 days, we will have some wonderful and exciting events to delight in.
“Memories will be made, friends will be reunited and new friendships will be forged.”
The crowd applauded and cheered loudly as the mayor took off his hat and declared: “Let Preston Guild begin!”
Former Olympic athlete Helen Clitheroe and runners from Preston Harriers then arrived onto the Flag Market carrying a wooden box including the Guild Scrolls.
Helen climbed the steps of the Harris and handed over the scrolls, signed by people across the world, to the mayor at the end of the ceremony.
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Weather for Preston
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 10 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North west