Thousands sign petition to keep Hastings Jack in the Green on the Monday May bank holiday
More than 2,000 Hastings area people have signed an online petition calling for the Government to keep May 4 as a bank holiday.
A move by the Government to replace the Monday bank holiday on May 4 with a Friday bank holiday for VE Day on May 8 has thrown plans for the popular annual celebration into doubt.
Monday is always the date for the big procession through the Old Town and the colourful finale of the four day festival. It sees thousands of people lining the streets and people come from miles around to take part.
People involved with Jack in the Green say they have no problem with a bank holiday to celebrate the anniversary of VE Day, but insist it should be an extra bank holiday with the Monday holiday retained.
Road closures for the Monday of next year’s Jack in the Green have already been approved and paid for and bands booked for the event.
It will also affect accommodation bookings for the many people who arrive in Hastings and book year on year.
Now local people have launched a Government petition calling for the holiday to be retained
The change in date will also affect other traditional May Day celebrations, including the popular Sweeps Festival in Rochester, Kent.
A nation-wide social media group has been formed and Morris Dancers from across the country are planning to demonstrate at Parliament later this year In 2011 Hastings people were involved in a successful demonstration in London when the Government was threatening to get rid of the early May bank holiday.
The planned change will also affect the May Day motorcycle run, which sees thousands of bikers making the journey to Hastings.
Organiser Howard Martin, in an open letter to Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “We have very serious concerns about the social and economic impact of merely moving the Monday holiday to Friday rather than dedicating Friday 8 as a VE Day Holiday while retaining the traditional Monday as the May Day Bank Holiday. Over the past decade Hastings on May Day has become one of the biggest free to attend non-political May Day events in Europe. Up to 40,000 motorcycle enthusiasts visit the town.”