Support growing for St Edmund campaign
SUPPORT is escalating for a campaign to get East Anglia's home-grown St Edmund reinstated as the patron saint of England.The campaign, launched yesterday by BBC Radio Suffolk and the EADT, has already captured the nation's imagination and today you can sign up to support our petition to return St Edmund to his rightful place as the nation's patron saint.
SUPPORT is escalating for a campaign to get East Anglia's home-grown St Edmund reinstated as the patron saint of England.
The campaign, launched yesterday by BBC Radio Suffolk and the EADT, has already captured the nation's imagination and today you can sign up to support our petition to return St Edmund to his rightful place as the nation's patron saint.
Growing numbers of people have told how they want to oust St George - thought to have been a Roman tribune in the near east who never set foot on English soil - and replace him with St Edmund, who was the country's patron saint until being usurped by the dragon slaying St George in about 1100.
But we need your help to make the We're Backing St Edmund campaign a success - and earn the nation a pre-Christmas bank holiday.
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BBC Radio Suffolk and the EADT will be taking the petition to Downing Street on St Edmunds Day on November 20.
And the campaign to get St Edmund, the King of the Anglo Saxon realm of East Anglia between 855AD and 869AD, will be discussed in the House of Commons as well - thanks to Bury St Edmunds' MP David Ruffley, who plans to raise a debate in Parliament.
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Mr Ruffley said: “I'm going to be reading the petition to the speaker and the members of parliament in the House of Commons.
“I believe, as a Cambridge University historian, that the true and first patron saint of England is not St George but St Edmund.
“About four decades before St George we had our own martyr - St Edmund.
“If we can get a really big petition from right across East Anglia, I'm sure it will get the fur flying.”
The mayor of St Edmundsbury, Frank Warby, said: “I am absolutely 100% behind this campaign. “There is a lot of history between St Edmund and Suffolk and it stretches as far as Southwold.
“Realistically he should be put back in his rightful place as the patron saint. I am backing St Edmund.”
Mr Warby added that he would welcome a symbol of St Edmund being added to the English flag, the St George Cross.
But West Suffolk MP Richard Spring said he did not believe St George would lose his place as the patron saint of England.
He said: “I think St Edmund is a great figure of history, tied up with Suffolk and of course Bury St Edmunds but I think the place of St George in our history is secure.”
Tim Yeo, MP for South Suffolk, however, said he thought the campaign had merit adding: “I think it is a jolly interesting idea. St Edmund is someone we in Suffolk have particular pride in.
“My understanding is that St Edmund has a more English connection than St George and, if that is the case, then I say why not.
“I'm quite attached to the flag of St George and I wouldn't want to upset that. It would be good to have a debate about St George and St Edmund and may the best saint win.”
Jeremy Pembroke, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said: "We are proud of Suffolk and are proud of the people that make our county great. St Edmund certainly fits this bill, and like Suffolk, deserves much greater national recognition."