[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 April, 2005, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Shopkeeper in St George's Day row
Phil Moffat outside his shop
Phil Moffat says he is proud to celebrate St George's Day
A shopkeeper has been ordered to remove his flags celebrating St George by council officials who say they breach health and safety rules.

Phil Moffat has been told the 20 flags hoisted from lampposts near his shop in Tuebrook, Liverpool, are dangerous.

Mr Moffat, whose shop is named Churchill's, says he will defy the ban.

Meanwhile, a Norwich publican has vowed to keep campaigning to make St George's Day, 23 April, a bank holiday despite losing his bid for an extended licence.

It has really come to something when a proud Englishman can't raise a few flags to celebrate St George's Day
Phil Moffat

Tony Bennett, 48, has spoken of his frustration after he failed to persuade magistrates to extend his licence for a St George's Day event at the Otter pub in Drayton, near Norwich.

On Friday Mr Bennett will join fellow campaigners in presenting a petition to Downing Street asking for the day to be made a national holiday.

Fellow patriot Mr Moffat, who has flown the flags from the same lamp-posts for the last five years, was ordered to remove them or face a 1,000 bill from Liverpool City Council.

He said: "It has really come to something when a proud Englishman can't raise a few flags to celebrate St George's Day.

"They have never caused any safety problems, and it seems to me that someone in the council is flexing their powers of political correctness.

"After all, Irish tricolours were flying from lampposts along Scotland Road and Vauxhall Road during St Patrick's Day."

'Clear danger'

But a council spokesman said: "We are not trying to be spoilsports.

"There is a clear danger to Mr Moffat himself and an obvious road safety hazard. The flags could distract drivers, fall off and hit cars or pedestrians and it could encourage others to follow suit."

In Norwich, magistrates told Mr Bennett they could not grant the licence for an extra hour until midnight because he had organised the event and therefore stood to profit from it.

'Double standards'

After the hearing Mr Bennett said he was "gutted".

He said: "Two years ago I applied for a similar licence to celebrate Chinese new year and I didn't have to jump through any hoops to get that.

"The Irish celebrate St Patrick's Day, and they get extensions across the country, so why should St George's Day be different?"

Mr Bennett was joined outside the hearing by a host of supporters including some dressed as knights and armed with St George's Day flags and banners.

Meanwhile, a survey of more than 1,000 adults in England found that 55% would like St George's Day to be a bank holiday.

Those that would like to see St George's Day celebrated as a national occasion should organise their own party
Gary Lasham
thebannerpeople.com

While some 70% thought St George's Day should be celebrated, only 35% of those surveyed for online banner-making company thebannerpeople.com knew on what date it fell.

The company said the hospitality industry was losing the chance to make millions of pounds.

Managing director Gary Lasham said English people spent money on St Patrick's Day but appeared "frustrated" at the lack of occasion around St George's Day.

But he said: "The biggest losers are those in the hospitality industry who lose a fortune every year as the English fail to mark 23 April.

"Those that would like to see St George's Day celebrated as a national occasion should organise their own party."


RELATED BBC LINKS:

RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific