Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham St Patrick's Day parade under threat

Birmingham St Patrick's Day Celebrations
Image caption The parade and festival dates back to 1952 and was thought to be the first in Britain

Birmingham's St Patrick's Day parade and festival is at risk of being cancelled because its main sponsor has pulled out, organisers say.

Kiely Bros Ltd is "no longer able to help finance the event" which attracts more than 100,000 visitors worldwide.

The organisers said Birmingham City Council had stopped financially supporting the event since 2014 owing to central government funding cuts.

They claim it is the third largest St Patrick's Parade in the world.

It dates back to 1952 and was thought to be the first in Britain.

Peter Connolly, Chair of St Patrick's Parade Board said: "It would be a great loss if the parade did not happen, generations have worked tirelessly over the years to ensure the community gets an event which celebrates Birmingham and Irish culture."

The BBC approached Kiely Bros Ltd to comment after it informed organisers last week of its intention to withdraw its sponsorship.

The event is partially funded by the work of volunteers in Birmingham's Irish community, who raise funds from commercial and charitable organisations.

It costs more than £90,000 and Kiely Bros Ltd has supported it since 2017.

Image caption Birmingham's St Patrick's Day parade costs more than £90,000 to hold, organisers say

If volunteers manage to raise the required funds, the event is due to take place on Sunday 15 March.

In December, Birmingham's Irish Centre closed in Digbeth after 50 years and moved to Kings Heath amid disagreements with the city council.

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