St George’s flag raised in Rochdale
Date published: 23 April 2019
The Saint George cross being raised
The Saint George cross is flying high above Rochdale after being raised outside Rochdale Town Hall on Tuesday morning (23 April).
A special service was announced by a town crier in front of the Mayor and Mayoress, Mohammed and Naaira Zaman, councillors, the Carers Choir, Town Centre Chaplain Revd Margaret Smith, Multi-Faith Rochdale, veterans and members of the public.
The St George’s flag flies outside Rochdale Town Hall all the time but is raised on St George's Day by the Mayor of Rochdale during the public ceremony.
The flag raising was preceded by a speech from the Mayor, plus a brief history of England’s patron saint given by Revd Margaret Smith.
Saint George is celebrated the world over, having been born into a rich Christian family in Turkey before joining the Roman army.
According to legend, Saint George slew a dragon which had been terrorising a village.
Revd Margaret said: “In actual fact, the truth is that George joined the Roman army but Diocletian (the Emperor of Rome) was against the Christians and tried his best to persuade George to turn to the Roman faith. George declined and released the emperor’s slaves and servants but as a result, he was beheaded.
“It was Edward III in England who recognised the bravery of George and made him the saint in England. Edward also started the church which is St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle – the Queen’s favourite place to go to worship.
“St George is the symbol of standing up for truth, fighting for justice and supporting fairness and we are here to remember that.”
Former Mayor Robin Parker gave a reading of his poem ‘St George and the Bard’ before prayers.
As the Mayor raised the flag, attendees sang the National Anthem before singing Ann Jones’ ‘My Prayer is Peace Unbounded’.
Refreshments were served in the town hall along with a special Saint George’s Day cake.
A free book stall was also on display to celebrate World Book Night, which takes place on St George’s Day every year.
Mayor Mohammed Zaman said: “Saint George’s Day brings the community together to explore the goodness, kindness, peace and prosperity in supporting and appreciating one another. It is a day of celebrating achievements and feasting.
“It was great to see so many people turn up this morning and show that humanity is very important to us. We need to share our good values, knowledge and experience and keep up the concept of one community together here in Rochdale.
“A huge thank you goes to the town hall staff and organisers of the flag raising event.”
Parades for Saint George's Day will be happening across the borough and in Whitworth on Sunday 28 April, due to the Sunday closest to the holiday falling on Easter Sunday (21 April).
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