By George! It’s a prime attraction of which we can all be proud.
Fylde’s tourism leader has spoken of her pride at the continuing and growing success of the Lytham St George’s Festival as it celebrates a decade of delights.
The Festival’s 10th year started with the traditional raising of the flag of St George on Lytham Green on Monday and a wide array of events – many of them sold out – will culminate with the annual procession round town tomorrow at 11am.
Coun Cheryl Little (inset), chairman of Fylde Council’s tourism and leisure committee, said: “The Festival is a wonderful event and a shining example to the rest of the country of how to celebrate England’s patron saint,
“It is marvellous that it has been going 10 years now and it just gets bigger and better.
“Along with our regular events later in the year such as the Lytham Festival and the 1940s Weekend, the St George’s Festival plays a crucial part in attracting people to Fylde and helping to boost the local economy.
“It also raises lots of money for charity as well as giving local people the chance to participate in a wide a variety of events. It is the Festival which keeps on giving and long may it continue.”
The St George’s Festival was introduced in 2008 by Lytham businessman David Haythornthwaite to celebrate England’s patron saint and promote his belief that St George’s Day should be a bank holiday.
A key element of the Festival has been fund-raising for charity and after a record £101,000 was generated last year. A target of £135,000 has been set this time around.
ABF The Soldier’s Charity has been an annual beneficiary while the other recipients last year and this are Trinity Hospice and the Love Lowther theatre refurbishment appeal.
Phillip Naylor of ABF said: “We have seen the festival grow year on year and with it, so too have the donations to ABF.
“It has been a pleasure and an honour to be part of the festival and we very much look forward to many more years of success.”
Michelle Lonican, community and corporate team leader at Trinity Hospice, said: “Fundraising is a constant challenge for us at Trinity, where we receive just a fraction of the costs we need from the Government each year.
“That’s why involvement in community events like the St George’s Day Festival is so important; without the generosity of these supporters, Trinity Hospice and Brian House could not keep their doors open.”
Festival chairman Tim Lince was delighted with the turnout for the raising of the St George’s fag on Monday and choir competition held in the Festival marquee on the Green on Tuesday, while a business breakfast yesterday, the Festival golf tournament and the event’s inaugural ladies’ night all sold out in advance.
Tim said: “This 10th anniversary Festival is shaping up to smash all previous records for participation and Fylde coast residents are in for a real treat for the rest of the week.
“We have the Comedy Night this evening, the Festival lunch on Friday and the traditional morning parade through town and black tie ball on Saturday along with two days of England’s Finest festivities on the Green.
“Steam Engines, a funfair, a circus school, ferret racing, cavalry charges, vintage cars and motor cycles, a craft fair and parachutists leaping from the sky will all feature and we are looking forward to seeing lots of people there.”
Saturday’s parade starts at Lowther Gardens at 11am while the England’s Finest Fair is on the Green from 1pm to 4.30pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
Details of all events at www.stgeorgesdayfestival.com