St Edmund petition delivered to PM

Tuesday, 21 November, 2006

ST EDMUND'S day was a typically English affair yesterday for a truly English saint.

The rain poured and the trains broke down, but a petition calling for St Edmund's reinstatement as the nation's patron saint was delivered to 10 Downing Street with aplomb.

The EADT and St Edmund champion Mark Murphy, from BBC Radio Suffolk, along with Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley, made their way to the Capital to deliver a petition in support of the ancient saint.

Mr Ruffley said: 'It has been a great pleasure and an honour to be involved in the St Edmund campaign.

'He is a uniquely English saint who unlike St George is part of a long and unbroken history and tradition in East Anglia.

'Having spoken to radio stations from Sheffield and Cambridgeshire about St Edmund - I could detect a slight envy of Suffolk - it is a wonderful place for which I am always happy to campaign for.'

Over recent weeks the EADT has campaigned to have St Edmund returned as the national saint over St George - a more recent and foreign saint.

Yesterday's delivery of some 2,500 signatures in support of the return of St Edmund is the culmination of the campaign.

Some 1,000 years after St Edmund was martyred by the Danes his spirit still inspired numerous ventures, plans, broadcasts and a beer.

Framlingham trader Bill Bulstrode has created a St Edmund flag which the ardent campaigners could fly.

There was even a small version of the flag put into the stack of signatures presented to the Prime Minister and maybe it will adorn his office.

There was also a St Edmund ale tucked inside - similar to that drunk by the Saxon king perhaps for courage before facing the Danish.

But it doesn't stop there for the campaign trail. On Thursday at 6pm My Ruffley will be proudly announcing the petition to restore St Edmund as the patron saint of England in the House of Commons.

And rail operator One is still putting a train on an East Anglian track into royal order so it can be named after St Edmund.

One of the boldest campaigners for the Saxon king - radio personality Mark Murphy- thanked Mr Ruffley for his help.

He said 'It has been a fabulous day and a great climax to what has been a fantastic campaign. Who would have thought we would have been standing in 10 Downing Street on St Edmunds day?

'We've seen a flag created in his honour, an ale thanks to Greene King and a St Edmund sausage.

'And if nothing else comes of our petition then we will have at least raised the profile of Suffolk and St Edmund.

'Tourists will hopefully want to learn more about this great man and come see the land of his birth and the countryside where he performed his deeds for themselves.'