Tamworth is continuing to lead the way when it comes to flying the flag of St George and celebrating England’s patron saint in style.
There has been much talk on a national level in recent years about the growing significance of St George’s Day and how the event has been overlooked for too long. Tamworth, however, has been leading the way for almost a decade with its spectacular annual celebration, complete with medieval knights, jousts, archery, dragons and much more.
The ever-popular event now attracts thousands of visitors to the town, from both near and far. News of its success has also been spreading to other parts of the country, especially since it was held up in Parliament last March as a shining example of how to celebrate England’s patron saint.
At the time, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said, “The Tamworth St George’s Day festival is renowned throughout the country, if the not the world, and I hope that many councils across the country will be looking at how Tamworth uses St George’s Day to highlight its incredible heritage assets.”
With plans for this year’s free extravaganza on April 25th in full swing, Deputy Leader of the council, Cllr Robert Pritchard, is also urging other councils to follow suit by waving the flag of St George.
Cllr Pritchard said, “Tamworth is extremely proud to celebrate St George’s Day and our event is a family fun day everyone can enjoy. The day features jousting, medieval camps, reenactors, children’s activities and, this year, the promotion of our local military’s four-legged mascot
“The event is also a great boost to the local economy as it helps bring customers into the local shops and restaurants. I would encourage every council to do this because it is a great service for local residents and a huge boost for local businesses.”
Plans for this St George’s Day spectacular in the castle and Castle Grounds again include a whole host of medieval-themed fun activities and displays for the whole family to enjoy. These include the grand joust, plays, a historical encampment, workshops, demonstrations and the return of a breathtaking five-metre long animatronic dragon.
The Mayor of Tamworth, Cllr Richard Kingstone, is also running his own separate initiative in the build up to the big day to enable schools to proudly fly the St George and Union Jack flags. During the past few weeks, he has delivered flags and poles to several schools and eventually wants each school in the borough to receive its own flagpole and flags and many have been paid for by local groups and businesses.
Cllr Kingstone said, “We need to be proud of our heritage and not be afraid to celebrate who we are. It is vital our young people learn about English and British values within our education system and by donating flags and poles to all our schools, this project will hopefully contribute to just that.”
In 2013, UK think tank British Futures found the majority of Brits wanted to celebrate St George’s Day on a bigger scale but were waiting for someone to take the lead. Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron said the patron saint’s day had been overlooked for too long and that the country should be celebrating what it means to be English.
Tamworth has been marking St George’s Day with its huge family festivities since 2008.