St George's Day crusader takes cup to cities

LORNA MARSH In days gone by it was passed around feasts and celebrations as a symbol of friendship. Now the medieval loving cup has been given a new lease of life and is due to embark on its biggest journey yet - a national tour starting in Norwich as part of the crusade to celebrate St George's Day.

LORNA MARSH

In days gone by it was passed around feasts and celebrations as a symbol of friendship.

Now the medieval loving cup has been given a new lease of life and is due to embark on its biggest journey yet - a national tour starting in Norwich as part of the crusade to celebrate St George's Day.

It is all the brainchild of Lowestoft man Bruno Peek who has already successfully managed a number of countrywide celebrations, including the Queen's golden jubilee and Millennium events.

Mr Peek has commissioned a £30,000 silver cup which will tour all 50 cities in England, before arriving in London on St George's Day' where it will be paraded and used at the Whitehall celebration banquet.

The three-month journey will begin at City Hall in Norwich on Monday, and at each destination the cup will be officially greeted.

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English apple juice will replace the traditional sack wine used in the loving cup ceremony so that all ages can take part, and it will be drunk from by people representing all walks of life to symbolise the nation being brought together in one common celebration.

Lord Mayor of Norwich Felicity Hartley said: "I am delighted that our city will be joining in this unique event."

The cup is a central feature in the first planned national celebrations for St George's Day, which it is hoped will give extra impetus to the bid to mark it with a bank holiday while also raising cash for charity.

Mr Peek said: "We all lead such busy lives that little of our time is devoted to recognising and appreciating the place in which we live. That's why St George's Day is so important."

The Association for International Cancer Research, Royal National Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (RNID) and the Women's Royal Voluntary Service have been chosen to benefit from the fundraising celebrations.

Mr Peek wants people of all ages and from different backgrounds and cultures organize their own events at home and work or in their local pub, school and community. And at 10.45pm on April 23, they will be asked to stop what they are doing and toast England and

St George.

National and regional competitions involve big cash prizes, including the search to find a modern day St George and Rose of England.