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Taste of the continent at Norwich St George’s Day book festival

PUBLISHED: 22:41 24 April 2011

St. George's Day book festival at St. Gregory's Centre for the Arts in Norwich.; Felix Knight reading in the centre.

St. George's Day book festival at St. Gregory's Centre for the Arts in Norwich.; Felix Knight reading in the centre.

Archant 2011

Barcelona met Norwich at the weekend as a literary festival was held to recognise England’s patron saint.

Anthony Sweeney, a volunteer at St Gregory’s Centre for the Arts in Pottergate, Norwich, organised the inaugural G-Day after being inspired by similar events in the Spanish city.

As part of the day, held on Saturday, there were book readings and signings, stalls selling discounted books, red roses on sale, children’s activities, story telling and youngsters were recognised for their creative writing.

Mr Sweeney, who started volunteering at St Gregory’s a year ago, said: “I lived in Barcelona for a couple of years and there have been events like this going for 80 years. I came back here and there was nothing so I decided to put it on here. We want to do it every year.”

About 350 people attended the event, which ran from 10.30am to 5pm.

Authors who attended included novelist Rachel Hore, who wrote bestseller The Memory Garden and highly-acclaimed The Glass Painter’s Daughter, writer and critic DJ Taylor and North Walsham’s Nicholas Groves.

Also on the day, youngsters who had taken part in a writing competition, which was launched as part of this year’s Dragon Festival, were presented with their prizes.

The winners were Max Knight, seven, who goes to Preston Primary School, Brooke Primary School pupil Georgina Mullen, 11, and Rebecca Welsh, 11, who goes to North Walsham Junior School.

Jude Sayer, vice-chair of the Norwich branch of Royal Society of St George, said: “The competition asked children to re-write the story of St George in whichever period they wanted.

“We had a fantastic response – we had a cyber George and some role reversals, poor old George had a terrible time.”

Elsewhere, a St George’s Day Spring Ball was held at the Wensum Valley Golf Club on Saturday night.

And Spixworth will be overrun with saints and dragons as well as eggs and bunnies today as part of a special double Easter celebration.

Youngsters will be taking part in a St George’s Day Extravaganza at the village hall in Crostwick Lane between 11am and 3pm.

Spixworth Parish Church has organised the all-ages family event and invited scores of other community groups to celebrate with them.

Children are being urged to attend the event dressed as St George, a dragon, or a princess and take part in the fancy dress competition on the day.

Other activities include crafts for kids, circus skills, a puppet workshop and an Easter egg hunt.

Meanwhile, church leaders have said that St George’s Day should be celebrated next week as saints days ought not to be celebrated during holy week.

Are you holding a community event in the area where you live? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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