St Barnabas Christmas Eve Procession, Calton Avenue, SE21. 24th December 2023

The following communication has been received from Southwark Events.

Dear All,

I am carrying out consultation on the event application detailed here and invite comments from local residents and stakeholders. Comments received help us to make more informed decisions on this and other applications to hold events in Southwark.

This is the third year running that St Barnabas Dulwich have organised and run their Christmas Eve procession on Calton Avenue. The event and the supporting road closure were well managed last year. Last year, an estimated 1,800 people lined Calton Avenue to see the procession, which this year will include – 2 camels, a brass octet and 40 choristers from the Dulwich Children’s Choir, followed by the public to St Barnabas Church for an open air service.

There will be two camels from Joseph’s Amazing Camels leading the procession again this year. Like last year, members of the public will not be permitted to touch the animals who will be led and supervised by their handling team and security at all times. Again the security team will ensure that the public remain a safe distance from the camels at all times, which is set by their handling team. The rest of the procession will follow from a safe distance behind. At the church, the camels will rest on the grass, in a fenced compound that is only accessed by their team.

Welfare statement by Joseph’s Amazing Camels:
Joseph’s Amazing Camels are committed to the highest standards of welfare. Our camels have a 15 acre field to live in during the day and then they come into their stables at night. They graze on grass during the day with access to fresh water and at night they have hay and a feed to eat. They are washed and groomed regularly and have just had a check-up with the vet who wormed them and gave vitamin boosters. They are much loved pets who also work. Camels have been domesticated for longer than horses and have worked in tandem with man in many aspects. They are very special animals who deserve much respect for their intelligence and lovely natures. We are privileged to have them and be able to share them with so many people who thoroughly enjoy meeting them.

Calton Avenue will be closed as shown in the attached site plan (please click the link below to see the site plan and other relevant documents). The closure will be in place from 2pm until 5pm. The procession itself will begin at 4pm, and will take approximately 20 minutes to get to the church where an outdoor service will be held on the forecourt from 4:30pm.

If you need more information about this event before making comment please reply using the link at the end of this message or call on 020 7525 3422. In order that your comments can be considered before a decision is made, feedback should be submitted in writing via the link at the end of this message.

Reply and view documents using EventApp

If we do not receive a response from you before 14/12/2023 we will assume you have no objection to the event. Please go to the message centre if you wish to respond.


  1. I think this is a great event and a highlight of the Christmas period for the local community.

  2. My name is Nina and I am commenting on behalf of Animal Aid, where I am a campaigns officer. Animal Aid is a campaign group who work nationally on numerous issues where animals are harmed. We are extremely concerned that camels are being used once again in this Christmas Eve parade.

    Experts on camel behaviour have stated these sensitive animals can become stressed in unfamiliar surroundings and during transportation. Even ‘handlers’ very familiar with the animals can find it hard to tell when camels are stressed, ill or injured. When a camel is stressed, this can lead to aggression – potentially putting people in danger.

    Moreover, at an event where there will likely be many children in attendance, the use of live animals suggests to them that it is ‘okay’ to use animals as props – that animals are objects who exist to entertain us. Instead, we should be teaching the next generation to respect animals as individuals, and treat them with kindness.

    There are so many ways to celebrate Christmas that do not cause any harm to an animal. The Christmas Eve parade would be just as magical and enjoyable for everyone without the use of camels, or any other animals. Please make the compassionate decision to go animal-free in your events, and set a kind example for all. Camels, and all animals, should be free to live their lives in peace – not exploited for human amusement.

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