Update: Anger as South Shields’ Good Friday parade cancelled due to bad weather

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ONE of South Shields’ oldest traditions was today cancelled when the annual Procession of Witnesses was called off because of the weather.

The event, which marks the day Jesus died on the cross, would have been the 164th.

FULL HOUSE ... Jarrow Baptist church, Good Friday Service.

FULL HOUSE ... Jarrow Baptist church, Good Friday Service.

But incessant rain saw officials make the decision to call off the main march.

It was due to congregate at 9am at Laygate before making its way along Westoe Road, past South Shields Town Hall and onto Fowler Street before finishing at South Shields Market Place.

A service was due to be held, before the marchers returned via the same route.

Two other marches organised by the Sunday School Union were due to leave from Harton Lane and Marsden Road Baptist Tabernacle.

CANCELLED ... Good Friday service cancelled at the Market, South Shields.

CANCELLED ... Good Friday service cancelled at the Market, South Shields.

The Marsden Road event went ahead, but it is believed the Harton Lane event may also have been cancelled.

A similar event was due to take place in Jarrow town centre, but was moved to Jarrow Baptist Church as the sound system could not be used outdoors due to the weather.

A South Tyneside Council spokesman said the decision to cancel the march had nothing to do with the authority, and was taken by a representative of the nine churches which take part.

Disappointed onlooker Mark Crozier from South Shields said: ”I’m disappointed it’s not happening.

“We’ve been coming down every year to watch it and support it, and I have taken part myself in the past with the Boys’ Brigade.

“The weather has been worse but we still made it out.”

David Newton from South Shields said on Twitter: “Wrong decision, as it is not torrential rain.”

Simon Parkin added: “It’s shocking. People have traditions. A bit rain and all that goes out of the window. I’m not happy.”

And Leanne Jay said: “Since when did marching not go ahead because of the rain? Me and my three-year-old went to Harton Primary and no one turned up!”

Jodie Thompson commented on Facebook: “Two years ago my little one marched in a snow blizzard and then stood at the Market Place freezing for the service. Absolute joke!”

Karen Ratcliffe added: “I marched in all weathers. Stop being soft. It’s up to the individuals if they don’t want to go. It should still be on for those who want it.”

And Valerie Coneley said: “I got a bit damp walking down to see something that I didn’t know was cancelled. I would have happily got wetter.”

•What do you make of the decision to cancel the parade? Email gazette.news@northeast-press.co.uk, Tweet us at @shieldsgazette or comment on this story on Facebook.