By George! £100,000 is proud aim of festival

St George's Festival parade in Lytham
St George's Festival parade in Lytham

Proclaim your pride in England – and help us raise £100,000 for charity!

That’s the call from the organisers of the ninth annual St George’s Day Festival, who are eager to build on the record £82,000 generated by this year’s event with a spectacular array of new and 
traditional favourite features.

Preparations are already under way for the five-day celebration of England’s patron saint, to be held next April – and new St George’s Festival committee chairman Tim Lince promises it will be the biggest and best yet, with an extended programme of family features.

As part of a drive to encourage even great community involvement, the Festival will include for the first time a school and community choir competition, staged in the Festival’s theatre marquee on The Green.

The aim is to give the audience the opportunity to join a panel of professional judges in deciding the Choir of the Year and choirs of all ages, music styles and backgrounds from all over Fylde and beyond are being encouraged to take part.

Each choir will sing three songs in the knockout competition, with the audience having the casting vote in the final.

A busking festival will also make its debut, while alongside the regular ingredients such as the Saturday morning parade through the town centre streets, family fun day, Friday lunch, Saturday evening black tie ball, all following the raising of the St George’s flag at Charlie’s Mast on The Green on the Festival’s opening morning, other new features will include a Friday evening family barbecue and a Saturday afternoon celebration of all things English.

The latter, entitled ‘England’s Finest’, will feature maypole dancing, steam engines and vintage vehicles, along with food and produce stalls, the Army motorcycle display team, marching military bands and a parade of dragons.

Tim said: “The St George’s Day Festival is a wonderful event unique to Lytham and we really want to build on what has achieved in the eight years so far.

“We have set our sights not only on increasing the charitable giving, but in making the 2017 Festival the most spectacular yet, with something for everyone.

“The £82,000 raised for charity last year was a brilliant total and it would be really good if we can reach £100,000.

“The aim is to move towards even great community involvement over the duration of the Festival with some exciting new features. The support from the public so far has been excellent and is the ideal platyform and we look to make the Festival even more spectacular and memorable.”

The 2017 Festival will run from April 19 to 23 and ABF, the Soldiers Charity, Trinity Hospice and the Love Lowther refurbishment appeal will again be the beneficiaries.

The event was staged for the first time in 2009 with the triple aim of helping to raise awareness and campaign for an official St George’s Day holiday; raising money for charity; and

helping the local economy by bringing people to the town and putting the Fylde Coast on the national map.

Founder David Haythornthwaite says: “It all started in 2008 when a group of us were in New York and saw over 200,000 people celebrating St Patricks Day there. Whilst thoroughly enjoyable, this event made us reflect on the fact that as Englishmen we did nothing to celebrate our own incredibly rich heritage. That night the idea of St George’s Day Festival was born, with the first festival being held at Lytham Hall in 2009.

“Thanks to the phenomenal public support the festival has grown from humble beginnings, and now has pride of place on Lytham Green with over 14 separate events and over £82,000 raised for charities this year alone.”

Phil Naylor. regional director of ABF The Soldiers Charity, which the Fetival has supported from the outset, said: “The success of the event is built on great leadership, enthusiastic supporters, quality events and an excellent atmosphere. It is very clear just how much everyone enjoys themselves and the popularity of the Festival has grown year on year.”

Tickets for all events are on sale now and can be purchased through www.stgeorgesdayfestival.com or in person, by phone or via the internet from the Lowther Pavilion box office, while choir entry forms are available to download at www.stgeorgesdayfestival.com/take-part