Do A Good Deed For St George's Day

PUBLISHED: 11:38 20 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 04 May 2010

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LEGEND has it that St George fought a dragon to save a princess. So what good deed will you do to celebrate England s Patron Saint? Following a public debate started by Cambridgeshire County Council, the authority received a flurry of calls and emails sug

LEGEND has it that St George fought a dragon to save a princess. So what good deed will you do to celebrate England's Patron Saint?

Following a public debate started by Cambridgeshire County Council, the authority received a flurry of calls and emails suggesting ways St George's Day could be celebrated.

In amongst ideas for parades, giant tea parties and examples of local dancing - one email suggested doing a good deed to help someone out as an example of how the English help each other out in times of need.

So council chiefs are encouraging its staff, councillors and members of the public to carry out an act of kindness on April 23. It could be helping a local charity, giving up time to support a voluntary project or simply making someone a cup of tea.

Cllr Tony Orgee, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "We received a lot of good ideas following our appeal about the best way to celebrate St George's Day. But I have to say the suggestion that we all do a good deed for the day shone out above all the others.

"It is such a simple idea and I would like to think it reflects all that being English stands for. Despite our reputation for stiff upper lips and reserve, I think we all in our hearts know we would help people where we can. So the county council is going to encourage all its staff and members to do a good deed. It doesn't have to be a massive act but we know the impact lots of people can make even with a small commitment to really make a difference and possibly change a community.

"In the past there has been a great reluctance, almost embarrassment about celebrating our patron saint's day - in marked contrast to the Irish, Welsh or Scottish. We would like to think the idea of doing a good deed could catch on around the whole of the country. This would give the nation a great opportunity to stand up and celebrate St George and all that we are proud off."

St George Fact file

THE legend of St George has captured the imagination of countries across the world with 11 nations as diverse as Russia, Ethiopia and Greece all sharing him as a Patron Saint with England.

WHILE he is associated most with rescuing a princess from the clutches of a dragon, the real story as far as historians can tell is far more harrowing.

GEORGE was born to a Christian noble family during the late third century around 275 AD

GEORGE'S father was called Geronzio who was held in high esteem by the Emperor Diocletian before he died when George was just 14

GEORGE presented himself to Diocletian to join the army and was welcomed with open arms

AFTER working his way up to the rank of Tribunus - he was stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedeia (the imperial city of the time)

IN the year AD 302, an edict was issued that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods.

AS a Christian soldier in the Roman army, George stood up to the Emperor Diocletian when asked to reannounce his faith - an act of defiance which put him on a collision course with the Emperor.

DIOCLETIAN tried to convert George, offering gifts such as land and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Pagan gods but George refused them all and left the Emperor with no other option but to order his death

BEFORE the execution George gave his wealth to the poor.

AFTER various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303 AD.

HIS body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians came to honour him as a martyr.

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