Drug-fighters teaching kids to say ‘no’ are chosen for Lord Mayor’s Show

A voluntary group aimed at steering disadvantaged youngsters in London’s East End away from drugs has been chosen to take part in this year’s prestigious Lord Mayor’s Show.

The ‘Say It Loud’ group has landed a �15,000 windfall from the City of London Corporation for a float in the procession on November 10.

Youngsters on the float will be playing the African jembe drum, along with guitar and classical violin, backed by pupils from Raine’s Foundation Secondary in Bow.

“I’ve been playing guitar for three years now,” said guitarist Ben Adams, 14. “These Lord Mayor’s Show rehearsals are much more hands-on than our normal school music lessons.”

Say It Loud, a not-for-profit group set up three years ago using the arts to steer kids away from crime and gang-culture, encourages personal development through mentoring programmes and workshops held in schools and youth clubs.

The group’s founder, Dr Gyles Morrison, is on the steering group of Dare—Drug Abuse Resistance Education—aimed at teaching youngsters how to say no to drugs.

The Lord Mayor’s Show, dating back to the year 1215, is always held on the second Saturday of November. It begins at Mansion House at 11am with 6,000 taking part in the three-mile long procession past St Paul’s, along Fleet Street to the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand, where the new Lord Mayor swears his oath of allegiance to the monarch before returning to the Mansion House.