The countdown to a town-wide celebration of Bury St Edmunds and its noble patriarch is officially underway.

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An idea was hatched 18 months ago to properly honour the original patron saint of England and toast the town that evolved around his shrine.

Having quickly won the support of thousands, the three-day celebration was formally launched at the statute of St Edmund this weekend.

James Sheen, who founded ‘We Love Bury St Edmunds’ in December 2015, enlisted the support of local dignitaries, the town’s MP and ‘Eurovision royalty’ for the launch.

Mr Sheen, who loves the Eurovision Song Contest as much as his town – and took the St Edmund of Suffolk flag along to this year’s final in Kiev – invited Luxembourg’s 1973 winning entrant, Anne-Marie David, to join in the ‘photo bombing’ launch event.

%image(15374824, type="article-full", alt="Families enjoying the "Photobomb the King" event. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT")

“My mission is to get the whole town flying the flag on November 18, 19 and 20,” he said.

“This special town grew up around St Edmund being martyred and the great flows of pilgrims that came in the Middle Ages.

“If you ask someone in the town what happens on April 23, they’re likely to say St George’s Day – but then ask what happens on November 20 and they’ll probably say ‘your birthday?’ or when their MOT’s due.

“We don’t do enough to celebrate St Edmund’s Day – but I’m hoping to gather various individual events over three days.”

%image(15374825, type="article-full", alt="Celebrating St Edmund. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT")

Events are set to include a lecture by historian, author and Bury St Edmunds native, Francis Young; the Crafty Foxes appearing at Denny Bros art supply store; and restaurateur Maria Broadbent leading a ‘Great Bury Bake Off’.

Talks are also in swing for French singer Anne-Marie David and her composing partner to create a specially commissioned piece of music inspired by St Edmund.

Along with Mr Sheen and the Eurovision winner, the launch was attended by mayor Terry Clements and Mrs Vivienne Clements, deputy mayor Margaret Marks, town council chairman Andrew Speed, members of the Sea Cadets – who will be involved with events in the Abbey Gardens in November – and MP Jo Churchill.

Visit to stay up-to-date with plans.

%image(15374826, type="article-full", alt="Mayor of St Edmundsbury Terry Clements with a campaign caracature by artist Jason Macaruba-Smith. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT")