Posted by Admin on 14 March 2006, 12:00 am


Last year we started with “Unfortunately an awful lot of English children couldn’t tell you when their National Day is!” But after the success of the St George’s Day celebration in 2005 things are changing!

St George’s Day is on 23rd April and this year it falls on a Sunday.
So this year the St George’s Day Celebrations start on Saturday 22nd!

The town of Cowes has revived the ancient tradition of celebrating our National day for the Island. Despite last year’s being on the wettest day of the year, we had a wonderful day and everybody wanted to carry it on. So many people who took part, helping, having pitches and coming for the fun, have begged that it should be an annual event that just has to happen!

So, once again, and on a much larger scale this year we shall promote the importance of England’s National Day, in particular to the Island’s children. We are not alone. Other groups around the country are getting on the bandwagon but the Island is right in there amongst the leaders of the movement. (Even the government is for it now!) Don’t forget, St George’s Day goes far back in our history and it is also the day that William Shakespeare was born in 1564 and he died on the same day in 1616. We also celebrate the Queen’s eightieth birthday this year!

With the support of the community, the Rotary Club of Cowes is putting on a weekend of tremendous fun and games based in Northwood Park. On the evening of Friday 21st April there will be a Gala Concert in the Maurice Laing Centre at Cowes Yacht Haven. This World-class concert features solo Trumpet player Crispian Steele-Perkins playing a programme of suitably English music with the renowned Sinfonietta Orchestra. Entrance by ticket only; to book contact Island Concerts Tel: 01983 294816.

The events in the Park kick off on Saturday 22nd April with a massive Classic Car Rally. Fabulous British cars representing many owners’ clubs from the Island and the mainland are attending. This may be one of the biggest such rallies of the year, up to a hundred cars are expected. There will be good food and drink at the Spit-roast and St George’s Bar, with Calbourne Classics Ice Cream and plenty of others.

An innovation this year is ‘The Great Teddy Bear Parachute Extravaganza’- what is that? Come and see – it involves a very lofty bit of machinery!

On Sunday the 23rd April there will be the grand procession from East Cowes Town Hall to Northwood Park via the Floating Bridge setting out at 11.00 am. Be sure to turn out and wave them on. Even more dragons this year!

St George’s Day proper is opened by the Chairman of the Isle of Wight Council at 12.30. After the judging of the Fancy Dress Competition another busy programme unfolds with dancing of many kinds and tons to do. A small sample: Music by the Wight Diamonds Band, Maypole and Country Dancing by Island Junior Schools, Morris Dancing by Bakers Dozen, North West Morris Dancing by Wight Bells, the Oyster Morris Girls, Wolfguard Viking re-enactment group, Start of Tug – of – War knockout tournament for the Rotary Challenge shield and prizes donated by Ventnor Brewery, Randini Children’s Magic and Punch & Judy Show, Veils of Ishtar Eastern dancing etc., etc.!

The Great Teddy Bear Parachute Extravaganza goes on, as do the refreshments. There is even a special ale brewed for the day by Ventnor Brewery! St. George’s Ale has got to be worth trying!

By kind permission of the Trustees, Northwood House itself will be open over the weekend for a great Art Exhibition by the Island and Cowes Art Societies. Simultaneously Island Senior Schools are staging an exhibition of their work with a Challenge Shield awarded for the best school. If you have never been to see inside the house this could be your chance to see the wonderful restored interior and where the new County Registry Office is.

You can also find out about what Rotary is and does. Island Rotary Club members will have a display of how Rotary helps in relief work such as for the victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka as well as many other major projects around the world and in our own community.

The Rotary Club of Cowes is grateful for the valuable involvement of sponsors who include Awards for All, Community Champions, Cowes Business Association, Cowes Town Council, Island Volunteers, Isle of Wight Charitable Trust, The Isle of Wight Council, Red Funnel and many others who have provided support and encouragement.


A free programme is being published and distributed in early April.

For more details of the event get in touch with

The Rotary Club of Cowes

Tel: 01983 293531

and look at their website:

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