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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 06:34 GMT 07:34 UK
St George battle goes on the web
Tony Bennett on his dragon motorbike
Tony Bennett has had 1,000 messages supporting his St George campaign
A Norfolk landlord is launching a website as part of his campaign to make St George's Day a national holiday.

Last month Tony Bennett, 47, was given permission to open the Otter pub in Drayton for an extra hour on 23 April.

But magistrates agreed only because the pub would raise money for charity - not because the day is special in law.

He has since had around 1,000 messages of support from around the world and a website in support of his campaign will go live to mark the day on Friday.

Mr Bennett believes St George should have the same status as St Patrick's Day and American Independence Day.

We are making a whole weekend event of it - we are going to make this bigger than St Patrick's Day
Tony Bennett
He said as well as the launch of the website, celebrations at the Otter to commemorate England's patron saint will now last throughout the weekend, and will include a medieval banquet and a visit from a George Medal holder.

"We are making a whole weekend event of it - we are going to make this bigger than St Patrick's Day," he said.

"That is the whole idea, to make everyone aware of St George's Day.

"If everyone turns up that has said they will, I am expecting thousands.

"We should be in for a good weekend."

He said petitions were being signed in pubs throughout the country in support of making the day a national holiday and he was "hopeful" Westminster would take notice.

"The campaign is beginning to take off. If you travel the country now you will see pubs celebrating that never did things for St George's Day before - even EastEnders has taken it up.

"The Queen Vic is having a celebration for St George's Day."


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