Borough's New Year's Day Parade Float is a Prizewinner

H&F entry wins £4,000 for mayoral charity Walking With The Wounded

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New Year's Day Parade

Walking With The Wounded

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Hammersmith & Fulham Council has entered a float in London’s world famous New Year’s Day parade - and has won our borough fourth place in the Let's Help London Challenge.

19 London boroughs competed in the challenge, with an array of entries that reflected the event’s twin themes of The Olympic Games and Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Hammersmith and Fulham float celebrated Walking With The Wounded’s forthcoming attempt on Mount Everest, and won £4,000 for Walking With The Wounded, which is current Mayor, Cllr Frances Stainton's chosen mayoral charity.

The result was nail bitingly close with the international panel of judges separating the top twelve entries by just 30 points. H& F's entry came in just behind joint winners Merton and the City of Westminster and runners up Brent.

The float, the borough's first in years, featured the Mayor, Cllr Frances Stainton with her mayoress and consorts, curator of the Buckingham Palace 2012 summer exhibition: 'Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration', and Olympic gold medal winning rower, Ben Hunt-Davis, who is an ambassador for next year’s games.

Accompanying were be Albert and Friends’ Instant Circus and 27-year-old Manindra (Mani) Rai, a Ghurkha soldier who was shot while serving in Afghanistan in 2010, representing the H&F Mayor’s charity, Walking with the Wounded.

Mani Rai, wounded Ghurka soldier

Mani is a member of the charity’s 2012 Everest expedition team that is attempting to get four wounded servicemen at the top of the tallest mountain in the world. He is bringing to life Walking with the Wounded’s logo of a fearless soldier as he will be wearing arctic clothing while pulling a Scandinavian sled, called a pulk.

The float will also have a replica of Everest, which was conquered by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953, the same year as the Queen’s coronation, and the mountain’s royal connections continue, as HRH Prince Harry is patron of the Everest 2012 challenge.

Mani said: "When I first became injured, I felt that there was not a great deal of prospect for me. However this challenge has really made me realise that injured servicemen can really achieve just as much as those who are able bodied."

Cllr Stainton said: “Everest is a symbol of endeavour, and Endeavour is what Hammersmith & Fulham aspires to, which is of course at the heart of both the Olympic games and the charity’s challenge.”

Other nods to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee on the float included a life-size picture of the Queen, donated by the Royal Collection, and a rhino made of grass that echoes the moment Her Majesty became Queen, while on safari in Africa.

Some of the performers from H&F wore t-shirts with a diamond crown while the front of the float features a large crown, specially made by local milliner, Isabelle Mazzitelli. The crown was made from purple velvet, large diamond jewels and was based on the crown jewels, in particular two royal crowns – the imperial state crown that the Queen wears for the state opening of parliament, and the crown of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen mother, which is a coronet consisting of diamonds alone.

Isabelle, whose label is called Izzy Mazz and was taught by the Queen’s former milliner and former Christian Dior millinery designer, Marie O’Regan, said: "I got involved as my children have grown up in Albert & Friends’ Instant Circus, and I started working with them in 1993 making hats, and became a milliner through it. I will definitely be there at the parade – I certainly couldn’t miss it now!"

The borough’s most famous link to the Olympics is that it hosted the first modern day Olympics, as we know it, in White City in 1908. This was reflected in the costumes and colours worn by the children from the circus wearing, along with some circus rings, to symbolise the Olympic rings.

The council adds that the H&F float was created at no cost to the taxpayer, thanks to artificial grass company Easigrass’s sponsorship of the float, and their loan of a grass rhino and a horse, to depict equestrian sports, favoured by the Queen.

January 4, 2012