Thursday was St George’s Day and this year, it coincided with the new tradition of applauding our brave carers on the frontline of the fight against the virus.
A group of friends in Eastbourne suggested a rather lovely twist to this Thursday night’s vigil to include a celebration of England’s patron saint and to reach out to all in our town, of every nationality, as we face this crisis together. A riot of England’s red and white with a rainbow backdrop. Perfect!
With Nick & I having moved out in a hurry to allow my parents to self-isolate safely, finding the colours to wear or digging out the World Cup jubilee bunting wasn’t a prospect and as I write, I’ve only been able to find red lipstick! We stepped out nonetheless and it was rather wonderful that it was a fundraiser for the Friends of the DGH and St Wilfrids.
The Welsh, Irish and Scottish all seem much more enthused by national celebration than England. I have always thought this a great shame although being equally proud of being British, I’m happy to embrace all! Indeed my Scottish mother found out just a few years ago that she had an Irish grandmother and my Scottish father’s name was Evans. I can thus claim allegiance to Welsh cakes, Guinness and haggis, as well as Yorkshire pudding!
St George is, of course, synonymous with the dragon he is alleged to have slain. But the fact is, there is absolutely nothing English about him at all. He was of Greek origin and lived in Roman times and was beheaded because he refused to renounce his Christian faith. England cannot even claim him as their own personal saint either because Ethiopia, Georgia and Catalonia have him as their patron too. So, this symbol of England has international resonance and that seems very fitting right now.
Looking wistfully at my dairy again, I see our annual St George’s day parade listed and another community event fallen to very necessary social distancing of this present time. I’ve always really enjoyed seeing the seafront lined with a riot of colours from our youngest Beavers through to our 6ft Explorer Scouts. (2017's parade pictured above) It will come round again!
This St George’s Day, members of the Scout family were encouraged to wear their uniform and after the round of applause, to renew their promise to serve Queen and community, and on that, a Happy Birthday to Her Majesty The Queen!