Flag raised on weekend devoted to St George

Raising of the flag ceremony for St George's Day Festival at Charlie's Mast, Lytham
Raising of the flag ceremony for St George's Day Festival at Charlie's Mast, Lytham

The eighth annual St George’s Festival in Lytham is set to be the biggest and best yet – with a target of £75,000 in sight for the charities the event supports.

Raising the flag of St George at Charlie’s Mast on Lytham Green yesterday marked the traditional opening of the Festival and a packed programme of events over four days got under way early today with a breakfast debate on the EU referendum issue at Lowther Pavilion.

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage and Sajjid Karim, a Conservative MEP for the North West, joined panels of Lancashire businesspeople in debating Britain’s membership of the European Union ahead of the referendum on June 23.

The afternoon hosts a tea dance and lunch, while St Annes Old Links is the venue for a golf day and in the evening, there is a comedy night at the Grand Marquee in The Green, with acts including Stewart Francis and Paul Chowdhry.

A limited number of student tickets are available for the comedy gig for a discount price of £15, available in advance from the Lowther Pavilion box office by phone or online.

For others, tickets cost £25 in advance and £27 on the night.

Friday is all about ‘The Lunch’. Returning to the Grand Marquee on the Green, guests gather for a welcome drink followed by some classic jazz before sitting down to a delicious five-course lunch.

A charity auction will be followed by a rousing singalong with flag waving to English anthems, then dancing.

Saturday sees the town come together and everybody embracing the English spirit for the now traditional parade through the streets of Lytham, including brass bands, circus acts and vintage cars, while there will be prizes for the best floats, walking groups and best dressed individuals.

The day will be rounded off with a black tie gala dinner in the Grand Marquee starting with a rendition of ‘The Beating of the Retreat’ by the Band of the Royal Armoured Corps, before a five-course meal, live music and an auction.

Sunday sees a family fun day on The Green, which has fairground rides, craft stands, classic cars and live music from 11.30am to 4pm.

Beneficiaries of the Festival this year are ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, Trinity Hospice and Brian House and the Love Lowther campaign to refurbish Lytham’s theatre.

Sponsors include VetPlus, Pei-Delta, Tangerine Holdings, Cuadrilla and the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Festival chairman Bob Gallagher said: “We are really excited by this year’s line up which sees new additions to what have become firm favourite events.”

More details at www.stgeorgesdayfestival.com