Poll: What do you feel about St George’s Day?
- Credit: Archant
English eccentricity was to the fore this morning at an unlikely north Norfolk cliff-top flag ceremony to mark St George's Day.
A handful of people gathered to watch a man dressed in a red tailcoat, white bowtie, gloves, and very shiny shoes stand above the North Sea at Overstrand and raise the flag of St George on the village flag pole.
John Driscoll, Overstrand's official flag master, then boomed out words used by fellow members of the Royal Society of St George, whose patron is the Queen:
'Today I saw the flag of England, fluttering from a mast,
It waved in recognition, to the glories of the past,
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It beckoned to the future, and seemed to say aloud,
If you should be an Englishman, look up my son, be proud.
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Let hope still be your anvil, and courage be your forge
And come what may, let men still say,
Cry 'God for Elizabeth, England and St George'
Among those watching and applauding was Overstrand Parish Council chairman Eric Vickers who said he felt 'exhilarated and honoured' to be part of the ceremony.
Mr Driscoll, 55, a member of the English Toastmasters' Association, supports the society of St George's campaign to make April 23 - which is also the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth - a public holiday in England.
He said: 'There is a feeling that it's not quite 'PC' to be patriotic any more and that there's something a bit sinister about it but I think it's really lovely to be able to mark St George's Day. It's about being proud of our heritage and proud to be English.'
Mr Driscoll said he had been in Ireland on St Patrick's Day and had been made an 'honorary Irishman' for the day.
'It made me think 'Why can't we do this?' They had floats in the streets, music and dancing, and a lot of fun.
'If we had a St George's Day holiday we could have events on the village green and acknowledge our heritage - especially for the children. It would be a chance to get the flags and bunting out.'
The flag will be lowered tomorrow morning.