Story: Oliver Smith
There are more than 50 million people in this country. They are of multiple nationalities, come from various backgrounds, and practice different beliefs and family traditions. They do, however, share one important factor in common, that of England being their home. St. George’s Day is the one day of the year when the whole nation can unite in celebration of this country’s past, present and future. Aside from this it is, most importantly, a celebration of the people who live in this land.
On Monday 23rd April, the staff and children at St. Catherine’s celebrated St. George’s Day with a programme designed by Mrs Lynne Biggs, the Year 1 teacher. Mrs Biggs spoke to me about the inspiration behind the programme. She explained that in the past year, the school has celebrated the feast days of St. Patrick, St. Andrew and St. David, with the purpose of educating children of all heritages about the history, origins and traditions of the United Kingdom. She told me that the children are empowered to learn about other cultures, whatever their heritage.
Across the country people marked St. George’s Day as ‘our’ day, a celebration of England, for all who live here. Children at St. Catherine’s cast off their navy blue school uniform and wore red and white instead. They spent the morning in class, studying English history and culture and then came together in the hall for a performance by the splendid Vulcan Varieties. This music hall company, resplendent in period costume, sang some of the songs from their repertoire, including ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ and ‘Joshua’, first performed over 100 years ago. They were accompanied by talented, musical brothers Messrs Ted and Jim Wainwright on piano and violin; the audience was captivated.
After lunch the Year 6 children performed an English country dance for the gathered crowd, which they had been taught by the school’s dance teacher, Miss Louise Kenworthy. The children spent the rest of the afternoon playing cricket, croquet and badminton, and enjoyed afternoon tea of cucumber sandwiches and lemonade. They stayed after school for a disco, organised by the school’s Parent Forum, of which the proceeds will be used to help further improve the outdoor play areas at school.
The Vulcan Varieties will be performing at the Lantern Theatre in October. For further details please contact Christine on 2421728.