Celebrating St George

“god bless good King George,” said Man Friday to Crusoe.

Of course he was referring to King George III, not our patron saint who, incidentally, is also the patron saint to other countries throughout the Mediterranean. With the sparse press coverage and lack of activity do our young people know when St George’s Day is? Is it in the school curriculum or is it another piece of our lost heritage?

In the 1950s and 60s when I was a member of the 1st Batley Boy Scouts we had a gargantuan parade on St George’s Day, with over a thousand people representing many clubs, institutes and societies.

Being the 1st troop, we led the march. On one occasion I had the privilege of being the St George flag bearer leading the retinue from Batley to Birstall Parish and back after the service.

Nowadays the modicum of people attending is hardly noticed.

In contrast in March there was an ebullience of our Irish people who proudly entertained St Patrick’s Day; Guinness slogans and large hats were abundant.

So why are the indigenous folk and those of Wales and Scotland — whose patron saints are St David and St Andrew — falling silent? My wife, who is a Scot also wonders why.

I asked one publican why St George was not truly celebrated. The reply was it would lead to violence? Is this the sad world we are now living in, or are there still many who believe such statements have no substance within our society.

As it was said: “I was born British but, by the grace of God, I am an Englishman”.


Whitcliffe Road