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Thursday, 23 April 2009

Celebrating St George's Day in Dorset

For years patriotic Englishmen have been campaigning for us to make more of St George’s Day.

They grumble the Irish celebrate St Patrick’s Day with time off and enough Guinness to drown a whale, while most Englishmen don’t even know when our dragon-slaying patron saint is celebrated. (Today, since you ask...) This England magazine reckons seven out of 10 youths haven’t a clue when St George’s Day is, while 40 per cent don’t know why he is the patron saint.

However, Dorset will lead the way in celebrating St George’s Day, with plenty planned today and over the weekend.

In Wimborne residents will celebrate by flying flags from the town’s buildings, including the famed Saxon church of St Cuthburga. Mayor Robin Cook will don his robes and lead a procession around the town with the Wimborne militia.

They will be selling roses on their way, with proceeds going to charity. “Then in the evening there will be a St George’s Day concert with the Bournemouth Male Voice Choir in the Minster,” says Chris Brown, Wimborne’s town crier. “It’s very important to celebrate St George’s Day, it should be a good day.”

Celebrations will also be taking place in Christchurch from 2pm when mayor David Flagg will make a toast from the town parlour before helping councillors hand out English beer and apple juice to passers by.

The celebrations won’t end today either, because on Saturday the quintessentially English village of Child Okeford near Blandford will be holding a street party to mark St George’s Day.

Mummers and morris dancers will be among those accompanying a model dragon in a procession down the High Street, before slaying it in front of stall holders in a nod to St George. The festivities will take place from 1.45pm.

Bournemouth Scouts will be holding their annual St George’s Day parade through the town. The mayor, Stephen Chappell, will be on a podium at the Pavillion from 2.30pm, taking the salute from the 1,000-strong procession as they pass, before heading to a church service at Richmond Hill United Reforned Church at 3.15pm.

Source: Bournemouth Daily Echo Thursday 23rd April 2009

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