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Broadbridge PS in final preparations for St Patrick’s Day parade in memory of ‘inspirational’ past

06 March 2018

Year 4 children from Broadbridge Primary School in Eglinton will be participating in this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade in memory of their beloved past Principal Mr Tony McLaughlin.

Tony McLaughlin, who passed away a year ago on 19 March 2017, was Principal of Broadbridge Primary School for 34 years and has been praised as a ‘passionate and inspirational’ teacher and for the ‘loyalty and dedication’ to his pupils which always surpassed the call of duty.

Children at the school have been busy making the final preparations for this year’s massive St Patrick’s Day carnival celebration organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council. It has been all hands on deck as the pupils put their finishing touches to props for the parade through the city centre.

There is a multicultural theme running through their collection of wonderful outfits and props – led by Year 4 teachers from Broadbridge PS and Ashwini Rudraprasad from the North West Regional College – signifying the ‘Sounds of Spring’ and the importance of embracing other cultures and people.

Children have been busy making handheld bumble bee props in honour of the Hindu bee goddess Bhramari. Over 30 pupils will also be participating in the parade itself dressed up in beautiful Indian costumes, and following the goddess Bhramari.

Ashwini Rudraprasad explained: “Bhramari means 'the Goddess of bees' – and she is associated with bees, hornets and wasps, which cling to her body. She is also typically depicted as holding a trident, sword and shield in her four hands.

“Bhramari kills a demon called Arunasura when he tries to take the kingdom of the gods. She summons countless 6-legged creatures – bees, hornets, wasps, flies, termites, mosquitos and spiders from the skies. They swarm upon the army of demons, killing all of them and eventually also killing the chief demon Arunasura.

“The victory of Bhramari depicts the triumph of ‘good over evil’. She is also celebrated every year at the start of spring when bees and other insects pollinate flowers and help improve the crop yield.

“Indeed, other cultures and mythologies the world over also celebrate the spring and pollination season similarly – for example, Mellona is the Roman goddess of bees, as is Melissa the Greek goddess and Brigid the Celtic goddess.”

Broadbridge PS Principal Daniel Mclaughlin added: “It has been great to see the enthusiasm of the children as they work on the ‘Sounds of Spring’ project for this year’s St Patrick’s Day parade – and also brilliant to see the beautiful costumes and colourful props take shape and evolve into the finished product.

“Indeed, Year 4 pupils have spent months now planning costumes, participating in workshops, making props and rehearsing their routines for the parade.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to say a very special thank-you to everyone involved in this fantastic project, including the Year 4 teachers, classroom assistants and of course Ashwini Rudraprasad. They have all done such a wonderful job – and we’re so proud of them!

“It is also a very fitting tribute to our beloved former principal, colleague and friend Tony McLaughlin on the first anniversary of his sad death. Indeed, Tony was not only a proud champion of the entire Broadbridge school family but also a life-long advocate of diversity and inclusion.”

The Spring Carnival is organised and funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with the North West Carnival Initiative, Greater Shantallow Community Arts, In Your Space and Bluebell Arts who work collected to bring together over 600 participants from local schools, youth clubs, arts and cultural organisations.