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20 November 2013, 07:25
Happy St Edmunds Day: How would you have liked an extra day off today?
A campaign led by pub retailer and brewer Greene King seeks to do just that. The ‘Edmund for England’ campaign, aims to reinstate England’s first patron saint St Edmund. St Edmund was patron saint of England from 869 AD but was replaced by the dragon slaying St George in 1350 AD.
According to legend St Edmund held off Viking invaders and is reported to be buried in Bury St Edmunds.
The debate also looks set to increase the nation’s knowledge of its patron saints after a survey revealed that 82 per cent of adults in the UK did not know that St Edmund was the nation’s first patron saint.
The same YouGov survey found that 25 per cent of those polled would like to see an extra bank holiday in November to celebrate the ancient King of East Anglia and 13 per cent of those asked thought that St Edmund should be recognised as our patron saint.
The campaign is well under way, with the e-petition already having gained 2,184 of the 100,000 signatures required to put the debate to parliament.
Speaking about the campaign ‘St Edmund for England’, Mark Blytham, strategy and communications director at Greene King said:
“This is a fun yet serious attempt to reinstate England’s former patron saint and encourage the nation to celebrate on 20 November.”
In celebration for St Edmunds Day and to raise the campaigns profile, Greene King are opening a new brew house at their site in Bury today, dubbed the St Edmunds Brew House.
Chris Houlton, Managing Director for Greene King’s Brewing and Brands division said:
“We’ve been encouraging customers to recommend he becomes our patron saint again because clearly he is very special within Bury St Edmunds and we think he can be very special across the rest of the UK.”
Support for the change has also come from local MP David Ruffley, Suffolk County Council, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, St Edmundsbury Cathedral and The Bury Society.
To get involved in the debate for England’s patron saint visit Edmund for England and follow the link to sign the e-petition or tweet @TheSaintEdmund.