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Founded on St George's Day, 23rd April 2008
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ST GEORGE'S FESTIVAL WEEKEND 2009
Photographs courtesy of Alex Nelson & Richard Turner
(place your cursor on a photograph to read a description)

Mr K evin Jobson, Chairman Northumbria Branch RSStG & Mrs Ursula Jobson preparing to greet the guests (48Kb)Northumbria Branch of The Royal Society of St George was founded on 23rd April 2008, and a year on celebrated the Festival of St George 2009 in several ways.

On Wednesday 22 April 2009, some of our members attended a concert at the City Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne, to celebrate St George's Day and Englishness in song and music. The evening was most enjoyable and our members took the opportunity to raise the profile of Northumbria Branch by distributing information leaflets to the theatre-goers.

Early the next morning, St George's Day 23rd April 2009, our Chairman gave a live interview on a local radio programme to promote Mr Alex Nelson posing as 'The Honest Lawyer' (24Kb)celebrating St George's Day, England and our Englishness, and the value of having St George's Day made an official holiday in England.

We held our 2nd Annual St George's Festival Dinner, at 7.30 pm, Friday 24th April 2009, at 'The Honest Lawyer Hotel', Croxdale, Durham. Mr Alex Nelson, Events Secretary, (photographed left) arranged a superb formal dinner for twenty-two members of the Society and other guests, in the hotel's Burnigill Room.

Northumbria Branch Chairman, Mr Kevin Jobson and his wife Ursula, greeted members and guests as they arrived with Ursula handing each of the ladies a red rose. The evening commenced with 'Grace' being said by Mr A J R Worton followed by dinner. The menu comprised of Mushroom & Rosemary Soup, traditional Roast Beef with seasonal vegetables, or a Vegetarian Option, with Brandy Snap Basket & Fresh Fruit for dessert, and 'After Dinner Mints', coffee & tea to follow. The table settings were magnificent and the service first class.

The Toast to 'Our Patron & Sovereign Lady, Her Majesty The Queen', was then proposed by her representative, Mr Malcolm Pratt MBE, Deputy Lord Lieutenant for County Durham, who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs Beryl Pratt.

The Chairman, Mr Jobson, making his point (86Kb)A short intermission was followed by the Chairman, Mr K W Jobson, addressing the distinguished guests and welcoming them to the festival dinner. Mr Jobson gave a short discourse about our Patron Saint, St George, and his relevance to other countries which have also adopted him as their Patron Saint. Some fourteen greeting cards received from other Branches of the Society, both in the UK and abroad, were read out. Mr Jobson gave a brief resume of Northumbria Branch's progress during the past year. Social activities included a day out last summer, and also a visit earlier this month by Mr Jobson and Mr Worton, to the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain rehearsing at Durham University for an orchestral performance at The Sage, Gateshead, to make a cheque donation to them on behalf of the Society's Charitable Trust.

Mr Jobson gave an update on membership and the value of raising our profile in the area and expressed th(l-r): Tony Worton, Mrs Beryl Pratt, Mr Malcolm Pratt MBE DL, Mr Kevin Jobson, Speaking: Mr Bill Holden, President RC of Chester-le-Street, Mrs Ursula Jobson (78Kb)e opinion that the live radio interview and the distribution of the leaflets had resulted in attracting new members to join Northumbria Branch (See photograph left).

The Chairman concluded by thanking all Branch members, particularly Branch Council members, Richard Turner, Tony Worton, Alex Nelson and also member Eric Pyke, and their ladies, for their hard work and support during the last year. Mr Jobson then proposed the Toast to 'The Royal Society of St George'.

Mr Bill Holden, President of The Rotary Club of Chester-le-Street, replied on behalf of the guests and gave an amusing pre-amble on the history of St George, before proposing a Toast to 'Northumbria Branch Officers'. (See photograph right).

The Vice-Chairman, Mr Richard Turner, gave an excellent reading of English verse entitled 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brook, which was appreciated by all present.

(l-r):  Mrs Alwyn, Mr Peter Alwyn, (standing) Dr Derek Hall MB, Mrs Rogers, Mr Rogers (38Kb))
The Toast to 'Those Who Died in Defence of England', proposed by Dr Derek Hall MB, Trustee, National Gulf War Veterans & Families Association', was both moving and thought provoking. (See photograph left).

Mr Alex Nelson next proposed the Toast to 'England', this Blessed Plot, this Realm, this England, this Dear, Dear Land'. Before proposing this toast, Mr Nelson addressed the guests eloquently, about English eccentricity, which was most amusing and an object lesson in how good English should be spoken!

The Chairman of the National Association of Retired Police Officers, Gateshead Branch, Mr Eric Pyke, rose to propose the Toast to 'Absent Friends', calling to everyone's mind those members, family and friends who were missing from our company due to ill health, business, holidays or other reasons and he wished them all well.

During the evening entertainment was provided by a 'Northumbrian Piper', who caused great amusement by turning up in full highland dress and playing the Scottish bagpipes! There was, however, more amusement when the Piper, Mr Cameron Noble, proved to be an Englishman of great prowess with the bagpipes. He entertained us admirably, firstly with a knowledgeable explanation on the manufacture of the bagpipes and then by a medley of English music. He was roundly applauded for his music and the entertainment he provided.

The evening was brought to a close by Mr Nelson leading the gathering in a fine rendition of the National Anthem, 'God Save The Queen'. An excellent relaxed evening considered by all to have been a resounding success.

Thanks are due to the Management and Staff at 'The Honest Lawyer Hotel' for a fine dinner and service throughout.

On Sunday, 26th April 2009, the Chairman and other members, accompanied by their wives, attended the Sunday morning service at The Royal Ancient & Monastic Parish Church of St Paul, Jarrow, as part of the celebration of the Festival of St George. This was by the kind invitation of two of our members, Mr & Mrs James Guy, who are Verger and Church Warden respectively, and also the Vicar, Rev Jenny Lancaster. The Church dates from 681 AD and is not to be missed for its historic interest by anyone visiting the area. The service was wonderful and we were all made most welcome by the local Parishioners, indeed the Chairman, Mr Jobson, was honoured to be asked to do the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles. The service was followed by a group photograph in The Chancel, then tea/coffee before taking our departure. We all appreciated the friendliness and welcome shown to us by the local Parishioners, the Rev Jenny Lancaster and Mrs & Mrs Guy.

To summarise our St George's Festival weekend - we all felt it was a great success.

For Northumbria Branch activities planned for the rest of 2009, please visit the 'Events' page.

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