South Shields' Good Friday parade returns for the first time since 2019

One of South Tyneside’s best-loved annual events made a triumphant return after missing two years due to Covid-19.

By Kevin Clark
Friday, 15th April 2022, 4:24 pm
Updated Friday, 15th April 2022, 6:31 pm

The Good Friday Procession of Witness, organised by the South Shields Sunday School Union, has taken place since early Victorian times.

But Covid measures meant the event could not take place in 2020 or 2021.

The 170th anniversary of the founding of the parade was cancelled in 2021 and organisers put together a special online service and events to mark the occasion instead.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But the event was back in full swing today, Friday, April 15, with church members making up for lost time as they paraded through the streets on what was a glorious spring morning.

Marchers gathered at Living Waters Church in Laygate at 9am before setting off along Bedford Avenue, towards Westoe Road, past South Shields Town Hall and along Fowler Street, where they were joined by Bethesda Church, the Salvation Army and Westoe Baptist Church.

Living Waters pastor Elizabeth Smith was delighted to see the return of the parade, saying: “It is good for everyone to see that our churches are still very much alive.

"Meeting on-line has been lovely for people who may have been a little bit cautious about coming to church during the pandemic and we still have some services on-line but we have seen people coming back to church.

Bethesda Sunday School band march proudly down King Street on way to the Market Place.

"It’s fantastic to be able to get together with the other churches and celebrate the 171st parade.”

Marchers from The People’s Mission Church at the Lawe Top set off shortly after and the groups joined together at the junction of King Street and Mile End Road.

Read More

Read More
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter

The route traditionally took in Keppel Street, with the marchers heading along the road to their final destination at the Market Place.

Children gather at the Market Place to take part in Good Friday service.

But the parade took on a new route this year to help minimise disruption to bus services at the new transport interchange, with marchers heading along King Street to the market instead.

The traditional service then took place in the market square at around 10am, with the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Pat Hay and Jean Copp, attending.

Marchers then returned to their respective churches.

The parades traditionally held in the Harton/Horsley Hill and West Park areas of South Shields were postponed for this year.

The Boys Brigade Band in Westoe Road
Crowds walk down King Street to watch the Good Friday service at the Market Place.
Joe Cooke, 12, took part by playing his cornet with The People’s Mission.