Thousands wave the flag for St George at annual celebration

Tuesday, 28th April 2015

TAMWORTH'S annual St George’s Day extravaganza continues to be a hit with the crowds, with the 2015 event pulling in around 8,000 people.

Thousands of visitors from near and far packed the Castle and Castle Grounds on Saturday, April 25th for an entire day of medieval-themed fun and games for the whole family.

Activities on offer throughout the celebration of all things English included a Saxon encampment, knights, fire breathers, displays, walkabout characters, have-a-go archery and children’s workshops.

During the day, 250 youngsters designed their own flags, 250 made Saxon bracelets and more than 100 knight pictures were coloured in as part of the activities led by Tamworth’s Community Together CIC, which raised £250 to support its work in the area.

Also back by popular demand this year was Sir Aurelious Jones and his breathtaking five-metre long animatronic dragon. The family favourites came to Tamworth fresh from their appearance on ITV’s Paul O’Grady show two days previously.

One of the main highlights of the event was again the Grand Medieval Joust which saw St George taking to his horse in a battle of skill and strength against opponents from France, Greece and Austria. Crowds lined the jousting arena for the two performances to watch the contest play out.

This year’s festivities also had the extra special honour of being chosen as the setting for a prestigious ceremony during which Staffordshire Regiment’s four-legged mascot, Watchman V, was rewarded for his hard work.

Regimental representatives, military officials and civic dignitaries gathered in front of the assembled crowds as Watchman V, led by his handler Greg Hedges, was officially promoted to the rank of Sergeant by Mrs Jane Dudson, consort of Staffordshire’s Lord Lieutenant.

Danielle Pritchard, Curator of Staffordshire Regiment Museum, said: “Wow, what a fantastic day in Tamworth. It’s a well deserved award in recognition of all the hard work carried out by Sgt Watchman V and his handler, Greg Hedges, to promote the Staffordshire Regiment, her veterans and now also the Mercian Regiment.

“We’d also like to thank all those who travelled to see the event to offer support and to cheer Watchman on. It was incredible to see so many faces there. Thank you also to Tamworth Borough Council for allowing us to be part of yet another fantastic St George’s Day celebration.”

Organised by the council’s Arts & Events team, the St George’s Day spectacular is one of the main highlights in the town’s events calendar and this year was no exception.

Visitors came from all over, including Birmingham, Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent and even Sunderland, to enjoy the non-stop entertainment on offer.

During the day and afterwards people took to social media to express their thoughts on the event. On Facebook, Sarah Blaine wrote: “We had a fantastic time, thank you!” Frances Poole added: “Huge congratulations TBC, a great celebration,” while Susanne Davies commented: “It was fabulous, we are a town to be proud of.”

Visitors from outside the area also took the time to comment, including Rugeley resident Rebecca Siers, who said: “We have come to this event for the past four years, excellent job,” and Lyse Edwards from Lichfield who tweeted: ‘Thanks for a brilliant St George’s Day celebration. Not been before but we all loved it!’