Once more, for Emsworth and St George!

MARCH The 47th Royal Artillery parade through Emsworth last year.    Picture: Steve Reid (101294-52)
MARCH The 47th Royal Artillery parade through Emsworth last year. Picture: Steve Reid (101294-52)

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IT’S time to dust off those flags and paint the town red and white once again.

People in Emsworth are gearing up for their own unique celebration of St George’s Day – a party that has now become one of the biggest in the country.

FLAGS Onlookers at last year's parade

FLAGS Onlookers at last year's parade

For the last two years more than 2,000 people have lined the streets to see a grand military parade and celebrate everything English.

This year will be no different – apart from the fact that the military parade will be held on April 21, two days before our national day due to the Easter break.

A new spectacle this year will be the St George’s flagpole, which will ensure the English flag is flying high and proud over the town square.

The town’s war memorial – which is in fact a bus shelter – will also be rededicated after undergoing a loving restoration.

The memorial has a new sign that depicts the crowns of the Army, Royal Navy and RAF.

During a week of events, the highlight is once again set to be the parade from soldiers of the 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, based at Thorney Island, on the April 21. The commanding officer and the Mayor of Havant will take the salute.

Veterans of the Korean War of 60 years ago will also be travelling from across the south to receive the Imjin flower to recognise their bravery.

Organiser Brendan Gibb-Gray said Emsworth people wanted to celebrate the national day and recognise the town’s military roots.

He said: ‘We have got our neighbours in the military on the island. They have often been forgotten.

‘We also have long associations with the RAF, the army and the navy.

‘We thought it would be appropriate to celebrate St George’s Day at the same time as showing our appreciation to the armed services who do a job on our behalf. It’s acting as good neighbours.’

Businesses in Emsworth are now getting together their colourful displays for a window dressing competition. After last year’s theme of the dragon, this year, perhaps unsurprisingly, the theme is red and white.