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Volunteers, please step forward

1,000 people needed for Manchester 200th celebrations

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 28, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Custos of Manchester Sally Porteous has issued a call for least 1,000 volunteers to help with activities being planned for the celebration of Manchester's 200th anniversary.

"We are going to be needing in the region of probably 1,000 volunteers. We want people to come forward: performers, carpenters, electricians, transportation persons, artisans, singers, people who just know how to write a good letter, who will deliver that letter and who will help us to make sure that every single event that we have is a memorable one," she said as she addressed the 200th Anniversary Celebrations launch at the Manchester Parish Council on Monday.

Porteous said that the aim is for the entire parish to be impacted and it will take more than the support of the Bicentennial Planning committee.

Manchester, Jamaica's youngest parish, will mark 200 years on December 13. The parish was reportedly formed through an amalgamation of St Elizabeth, Clarendon and Vere with the latter later assimilated into Clarendon. It was named in honour of the Duke of Manchester, the then governor of Jamaica.

"There are a lot of things that are going to be taking place between now and the end of the year. ...(It) will take a lot of planning, it will take some money and it will take a great deal of organisation. We want you to feel involved in what is happening throughout the year. This is a very special time in our (lives). You won't find yourself alive for another hundred years, so this is your time to celebrate," Porteous emphasised.

According to a press release from the Bicentennial Committee, "signature" events will kick off on April 21, Easter Monday, with a tea party and Easter egg hunt.

Events during the year will also include a golf tournament at the historic Manchester Golf Club; a roots and tuber festival; a bicentennial gala; and a public concert on December 13.

Participating organisations will also have the opportunity to tag their activities as "A Manchester 200 endorsed event."

Principal director of culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture Dahlia Harris said that she is happy that culture and history will be a "big part" of the celebrations as knowledge is lacking in these areas.

She described as frightening the statistics on the number of young people and adults who have ever been to a museum a heritage site and those who can identify historic places.

"We can have a vision for where we are going, but if we really don't know where we are coming from it's difficult to get there," said Harris, who was representing Minister Lisa Hanna.

She said that every school in the parish should be encouraged to visit all the cultural sites in Manchester during the 200th year.

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