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Traditional Kate Kennedy procession returning to St Andrews after two-year Covid-19 break

The 2019 Kate Kennedy procession
The 2019 Kate Kennedy procession

The annual Kate Kennedy procession is returning to St Andrews this spring after a two-year enforced Covid-19 break, organisers have confirmed.

The colourful procession, which sees characters from 700-years of St Andrews history parade through the town, will set off through the town centre from St Salvator’s Quadrangle in North Street on April 9 starting at 2pm.

Following its two-year enforced break, this year’s event, which dates back to 1926, will feature two brand new characters with Bohemian Hussite emissary Paval Kravar and medical missionary Sir Francis Ibiam joining in the fun.

Dating back to 1926, the Kate Kennedy Spring Procession has been held annually in order to celebrate the arrival of the mystical Lady Katherine.

Every year hundreds of students and locals dress up in period costumes, playing characters ranging from Robert the Bruce to John Cleese, all who have had a sizeable impact on the town of St Andrews.

The event is a celebration of centuries of town and student relations, and reflects the best of both Scottish history and community ties.

Public safety

Medieval history student Samuel Saunders, who played the part of Kate when it was last held in 2019, said the decision to cancel for the last two years had been “extremely difficult”.

The 2018 Kate Kennedy procession

However, they had been in “constant contact” with the police and council authorities and sadly at no point was it deemed safe enough to carry out the event in 2020 or 2021.

“Seeing as this was the first time that the event had been cancelled since World War Two, the decision was not taken lightly,” he says.

“However public safety will always be our primary concern.”

Delighted

Samuel said they were delighted to add Pavel Kravar and Sir Francis Ibiam to the line-up this year.

“Pavel Kravar was added into the procession as it takes pride of place in a long tradition of martyr’s in the event,” he adds.

“Pavel, a Hussite emissary from Bohemia, was the first martyr to be killed for his beliefs in St Andrews and thus we believed he plays an integral role in reflecting St Andrews hugely important role in the development of Protestantism and in Scotland’s religious history.

“Sir Francis Ibiam was a student at the University of St Andrews graduating with a medical degree in 1934.

“He served as a medical missionary for the Church of Scotland and helped to establish the Abiriba hospital in Nigeria.

“Sir Francis was added to the procession as we believe he plays an integral role in reflecting how students of this great university have gone on to make important changes around the world.”

2017 procession

Breathtakingly vibrant

Marshal of the Procession Tom Regis added: “The traditional celebration of the town’s rich history through the annual spring procession has been lifeless for the last two years due to unavoidable interruptions.

“As a result, the excitement and anticipation surrounding the return of this event that is shared by residents, students and staff members alike is overwhelming.

“This breathtakingly vibrant occasion will once again bring alive the ancient town of St Andrews, making the 96th Annual Kate Kennedy Spring Procession the most vigorously awaited procession in living memory.

“I look forward to welcoming many of you on the 9th of April for this special occasion.”

For more information, visit https://www.thekatekennedy.club or on Facebook via @thekatekennedyprocession

FEATURE: ‘I’d never been dressed up in drag before!’ says former Kate Kennedy as St Andrews procession postponed

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