16th July 2020
There is a song in one of the Disney films which goes (roughly): “I’m busy doing nothing, working the whole day through, trying to find lots of things not to do….” It has gone through my head so many times in the last four months, in that irritating way that earworms do – even more irritating as it is not completely relevant, but almost so.
I’m busy finding things to do, as I am sure we all are. I have turned out cupboards, re-arranged rooms, gardened more than I have for years and almost beaten my filing. But it’s tough going. There is no real sense of achievement in this monochrome world, it doesn’t seem to really matter what you have achieved today, as it will all be the same tomorrow.
And then, sitting here at my desk, I have just seen two little butterflies, chasing each other over my rose garden, and I remember that each and every cloud has somewhere, sometimes very hard to find, a silver lining. There have been blessings: the clear blue skies and the sound of birdsong, that wonderful spring, the strange but uplifting ways in which we have encouraged ourselves and each other, the chats with friends and loved ones in various contrived but none the less precious ways, and now the joy of being able to see them, with perhaps even the occasional bubble-enabled hug.
Coupled of course with a great deal of sadness, fear and loneliness, and astonishment at how badly some people can behave in a time of crisis that affects everyone and which should be a time when we all pull together.
Do you know the book ‘We’re all going on a Bear Hunt’, by Michael Rosen? If you do, you will know that the prevailing theme throughout the book of dealing with challenges and obstacles is: We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Uh oh! We’ve got to go through it!
We can’t change this strange life we are living now, there is no way round it, we have to go through it. And with each other’s help, we will.
Very best wishes
Chairman, Royal Society of St George
CHAIRMAN'S LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER, THE RIGHT HONOURABLE BORIS JOHNSON
13th June 2020
The Right Honourable Boris Johnson MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org and by post
Dear Prime Minister
We deplore the level of discrimination and inequality in this world, not only racial but religious and sexist, which is deeply destructive of humanity and rightly promotes a great deal of anger. However, we are very concerned at the current impetus to remove evidence of people of influence in order to make reparation for our past misdoings.
There can be no doubt that, in the past, we, and every country in the world, have done things that we would not do now, but seeking to eradicate our history does not make amends, it simply destroys our country.
It may be the Churchill, Baden-Powell, Gladstone, and many others have events in their family history that are less than glorious, but that should not be allowed to detract from the debt that we owe them for what they did for their country and the Commonwealth. It is unnecessary for me to point out that, without Churchill, we would almost certainly not have won the war against tyranny, oppression and discrimination. Without Baden-Powell, hundreds of thousands of children would not have the life enhancing and character building focus that they do. Should their enormous contribution to the country (and the wider world) that we live in now be wiped out – and, if it is, and with it so much of our past and our history, who are we?
It must surely be better to use our history, both good and bad, to educate and inform both our own and future generations. We cannot learn from the mistakes of the past by removing them as, by doing so, we pretend that they didn’t happen. We have to acknowledge that even our heroes have flaws, otherwise how can our children aspire to be heroes themselves? Are we seriously suggesting that people can only do good in their country if their family history is completely without blame?
Would the Government consider reviewing aspects of the national curriculum to ensure that our young people learn in a balanced way that, despite their imperfections, people can make a significant contribution to the good of society and that, whilst we shouldn’t judge everything by today’s standards it is up to them to create the history of tomorrow by contributing to a society where everyone is treated as equal and has equal opportunity?
In conclusion, I wish to point out that, although this country is of course not without fault, we are also capable of recognising our mistakes and of making meaningful reparation. The Government used £20 million to fund the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. At that time, this was equivalent to approximately 40% of the Government’s total annual expenditure. This surely says a lot about our ability to face our wrong doings and make amends in an appropriate way.
Joanna M. Cadman
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN - JUNE 2020
I have been reading Alan Bennett’s collection of diary entries, published in 2017, titled Keeping On Keeping On, and it strikes me that this is a very apt title for where we are at the moment in this seemingly never ending saga of lockdown. Just keeping on –keeping on making meals from strange things in the store cupboard because we are now so bored with what we have been eating for weeks, gardening in never to be seen before tidy gardens (certainly in my case), walking, standing in queues – but, most of all, keeping on missing friends and family, a social life, and – most importantly– missing a hug!
I hope you are well, and that those you love are too. My youngest son is incarcerated in a studio flat in London, but he survives, as we all do, and one day this will come to an end and we will all emerge into the sunlight again. Except by then it will probably be pouring with rain! We have been so blessed with this weather in April and May. Of course, we now desperately need rain, but hasn’t the sunshine and warmth been an absolute blessing. It is easier to be cheerful in good weather, under a blue sky. Can you imagine how we would feel if this had all started last November, and we had been confined to isolation during that long, grey, wet winter?
Of course, we have no Society events planned at the moment, and won’t even try to plan anything until the situation is clearer. I am very much hoping that we will be able to hold our Standards Service at the lovely church of St George in Hanover Square in November, and that this will be part of a return to a new normality, and it is a little difficult to see that it will be possible to arrange anything before then – but we can live in hope!
In the meantime, I am thinking of you and send you my very best wishes, until we meet again.
Joanna M. Cadman
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN - MAY 2020
Dear Member of the Royal Society of St George
I wanted to reach out to you at this exceedingly difficult time to let you know how much you are in my thoughts and in those of all my Council.
I can only hope that you are well, and that you have the support of friends and family, or the amazing voluntary groups that have sprung up, to get you through this. Or, if you are one of the hundreds of thousands that are out there doing what they can, whether it is as part of our incredible NHS, holding an essential job, or looking after friends and neighbours and vulnerable people, that you are keeping safe and well.
We are a team, the Royal Society of St. George, as well as a very important part of the fabric of our country. And this is the time when we can step up and look out for each other. It is going to have to be remote care, as we can’t travel, we can’t visit, we are mostly confined to our own homes. But there is the telephone, and I know from experience how valuable a friendly voice and a chance to chat is to many people. If you are self-isolating and would welcome a chat from time to time, please let us know. I and
all my members of Council would be very pleased to be a ‘telephone buddy’ to someone on their
own – we have a lot in common, after all!
It would be great if our branches could also keep in contact with their members in this way – you may of course already be doing this and, if you are, thank you so much for the part you are playing in keeping us all sane.
Our chaplain Roddy Leece, who is the Rector of St George’s Church at Hanover Square, has asked me to assure everyone who would welcome prayers for their departed loved ones that their names would be recorded in a book of remembrance and prayed for on the anniversary and during our Annual Parade Service. This would not be just for now, just during this dreadful pandemic, but for anyone you have loved and lost at any time. Please just let us know.
This will end, we will meet again. In the meantime, my very best wishes to you all.
Joanna M. Cadman
The Royal Society of St George – founded in 1894
Recent political events in the United Kingdom have turned the spotlight on the question of English identity. Political debate and media pundits might lead you to believe that the English have only just woken up to their patriotic passions. Let us assure you, this is definitely not the case...
For more than 125 years, the Royal Society of St George has been England’s premier patriotic organisation, promoting and celebrating the English way of life. With thousands of members, more than 60 branches in England and over 30 around the world, the Society organises a wide variety of social and fund raising events, from marking significant moments in our history to enjoying English food and drink.
Our Patron: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Victoria was the Society’s first Royal Patron and we have since enjoyed the Patronage of every reigning monarch. In 1963 the Queen bestowed a notable honour by granting the Society its own Royal Charter.
The St George’s Cross flag has been the national flag of England since the 1300s and the Society campaigns for it to be flown prominently around the country. In recent years it has been great to see the flag flying at major sporting events but Society members want to see it more widely in everyday life – flying from public buildings, churches, educational establishments and even private residences. It happens in many countries around the world, so why not in England?
Celebrate St George’s Day
England’s neighbours celebrate their national days with fervour – at home, around the world, and among their communities living in England. So why is St George’s Day – April 23rd – such a low key event? One of the Society’s long-running campaigns is to have St. George’s Day declared a public holiday and to encourage celebrations to be held in every village, town and city in the country.
Many of our branches hold various events around April 23rd.
Events throughout the year
The Society and branches organise many varied events but fixtures on the annual calendar include:
- Cenotaph Wreath Laying in Whitehall on the Saturday closest to St. George’s Day, followed by laying a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey
- Battle of Waterloo luncheon or dinner in June.
- Battle of Britain luncheon in September.
- Trafalgar Day dinner in October.
Many branches meet monthly for a lunch or dinner while some hold weekly meetings.
On the south coast a branch, assisted local town councils organise an annual Veterans & Armed Forces Day event, while at the other end of the country the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta was commemorated with a medieval feast in the Undercroft of Durham Cathedral. Over in the west country members visited an Iron Age settlement and organised a Last Night of The Proms . In London, where there are three branches, recent meeting places have included The Tower of London and The Lord Mayor of Westminster’s parlour.
Supporting English Charities
Charitable support is fundamental to the Society and, across the Society, takes many forms.
The majority of our branches are extremely active in their support of numerous worthy causes, either through fund raising events or direct community support activities.
The Society’s Charitable Trust has, as its main aim, the support of young people in their endeavours to develop themselves and to support their communities.
Key Dates in 2020
Mar 9th - Commonwealth Day
Apr 18th - Annual Cadet Parade & Wreath Laying at the Cenotaph and service at Westminster Abbey, followed by lunch at the Cellarium CANCELLED
Apr 21st - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 94th Birthday
Apr 23rd - St. George's Day
May 8th - VE Day 75th Anniversary
May 23rd - Dunkirk 80th Anniversary Commemoration - 1940's Dinner Dance, Bristol, more details to follow soon CANCELLED
Jun 6th - D-Day 76th Anniversary
Jun 13th - Trooping the Colour
Jun 27th - Founder's Church Service, St Andrew's Wraysbury, the burial place of our founder Howard Ruff CANCELLED
Aug 15th - VJ Day 75th Anniversary
Sept 2nd - 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II
Sept 5th - AGM - To be held by Zoom
Sept 18th - Battle of Britain Lunch, 80th Anniversary Commemorations, RAF Club CANCELLED
Nov 1st - Annual Church Service, St. George's Church, Hanover Square, Mayfair, London
Nov 11th - Armistice Day
We are an inclusive Society, open to all people who love England and Englishness and who support our aims and objectives. You can find full details on this website