Comment: 2012 represents the chance to show what Preston is made of

guild trades procession in 1882

Cotton float at the 1882 Preston Guild trades procession

The next 12 months will be momentous and historic for the city of Preston, and this post is designed as a blatant rallying cry.

The city, and its people, we, have a chance to shine as the eyes of the world will be on us as we take part in one of the longest running Lancashire traditions – the Preston Guild.

Forget the Olympics, this is the event we’re all waiting for.

Last week’s announcements came thick and fast, with the BBC announcing it will be descending across the city to produce a live re-telling of the Passion of Christmas. The Preston Passion. This will be live on BBC 1, not tucked away on the night schedule of BBC 4, but front and centre to millions of viewers.

And the city will also have a chance to shows its other passion, for volunteering and community spirit as hundreds of years of tradition are shaken up by allowing 20 people to be honoured for their role helping make the city what it is.

Put this alongside the processions, the concerts, the dinners and the marathons and you’ve got chances to get involved coming out of every pore of the Guild.

There is a team of people, highly paid and highly skilled, who are putting all of this together – but they can only do so much. The challenge now is how much the people of Preston, who with one eye on the economy and the Olympics, will grasp the chance to be involved.

This Christmas, take a chance to take stock of all the ways you can do something for Preston. Every day you drive its streets, catch its buses or breath in the fresh air in Avenham Park. Now is our chance to show just how much we, both as current residents or those who have passed down the cobbled streets or academic corridors, love it.

It’s our city, and it’s our Guild. Forget the tightly controlled release scheduled, the meetings and the funding problems. The Guild has operated for centuries mainly on one thing, human toil, spirit and ideas.

We need the people of Preston to do what they are good at, doing things. So sign up, sponsor, put on your running shoes and take every opportunity you can to be a part of the Guild.

Because you never know when you’ll get the chance to be a part of another one…

Image credit to Preston Digital Archive

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