Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fans of St George in Battle of Honour

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Fans of St George in Battle of Honour

Article excerpt

Byline: By Anna Ralph

Patriotism has swept across England in the last few years. Last year saw the flag of St George in the windows of houses and pubs as England's health was celebrated and patriotic songs were sung in the streets - all in the hope of World Cup glory and to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee.

But this year, April 23, the official saint's day of England, is likely to pass largely unmarked. Unlike St Patrick's day and even American Independence day, it seems St George's day has been forgotten.

According to an internet survey by Microsoft Encarta, more people aged 18-24 recognise St George as the name of their local pub than the name of a saint, and only one in three knew of St George's day at all.

And when it comes to our national anthem, it seems a disappointing 79pc of us don't know all the words to God Save the Queen.

Attempts are being made to raise the profile of the nation's patron saint in the hope a strong sense of `Englishness' will return to our green and pleasant land. Think of England and you think of imposing architecture and Medieval castles, the cathedrals of our country towns and the delightful villages and tranquil meadows of the rural shires.

Equally, The Royal Society of St George, originally set up by English emigrants in the US and now a charitable organisation with more than 10,000 members, points to our nation's art, music, poetry and language.

Dr Ivor Wilson, secretary of the society, says it's time more people recognised St George's day. "Football fans and supporters of any sports should support St George, he represents courage and character.

"But unfortunately few people know about him. He has been taken off the school curriculum and children have no understanding of the values of truth and chivalry that he stands for."

The society aims to put that right, but they're not the only ones with patriotism on their mind. The maker of Bombardier English Premium Bitter has launched a campaign to make St George's Day a national holiday and has collected nearly 78,000 signatures in support, (www.bombardier.co.uk, if you want to sign the petition).

Their research insists that four-fifths of people would celebrate St George's Day if the Government made it a national holiday and 66pc would be attracted by the idea of free events such as concerts, carnivals, parades and street parties. …

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