The companys staff will each wear a red rose on St Georges Day, which this
year falls on Easter Sunday, 23 April.
It is hoped the idea will catch on with increasing effect year by year until St
Georges Day carries as much significance for the English as St Patricks Day
for the Irish, St Davids for the Welsh and St Andrews for Scots.
Coventry has more reason than most for doing so. Legends from the Middle Ages say the
patron saint of England was born in Coventry and in theatre productions as late as 1875 he
was closely linked to the Lady Godiva story.
Roger Bache, of the City Centre Company, which promotes and manages the city centre,
"The English do not seem as keen as the other UK nations to celebrate their patron
saint, but we hope to change that, in Coventry at least.
"The shamrock and emerald green apparel is much in evidence on St Patricks
Day, the Welsh display daffodils on St Davids Day, while the Scots are never slow to
celebrate the festival of St Andrew.
"The rose is synonymous with England so we thought it would be a good idea to
encourage people to celebrate St George by wearing red roses in their buttonholes. We hope
this will become something people will do annually in Coventry.
"Of course we shall continue to encourage people to celebrate St Patrick, St David
and St Andrew as well."
The roses for the City Centre Company staff are being supplied by Jim McEvoy from his
flower stall next to the Precinct fountain.
"A lot of people have forgotten about St Georges Day," he says.
"It needs to be revived. Other countries keep their traditions going. In fact the
English, Scots and Welsh help the Irish to celebrate St Patricks Day!"
There will be no Sunday trading on Easter Day, but the City Centre Company staff will
wear their red roses in the days leading up to it.
Traditionally St George rode in front of Lady Godiva in the citys annual carnival
processions. He was reputed to have been born in Caludon Castle and there was a chapel
dedicated to him in one of the medieval gate entrances to the walled city.
There is even a 15th century wood carving of St George fighting the
legendary dragon in safekeeping in the citys Herbert Art Gallery.
The first person to place him in Coventry was Richard Johnson, 16th century
author who penned The Famous History of the Seven Champions of Christendom. He
wrote that St George was born in a local castle.
Edward III, who had family connections with city, is also thought to have played some
part in deciding the origins of the mythical patron saint.
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