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Not flying the flag for St George's Day

George Hotel publican Tom Dixon with barmaids Corinna Andeson, left, and Tracey Powell
George Hotel publican Tom Dixon with barmaids Corinna Andeson, left, and Tracey Powell

Only a small number of Ashford High Street businesses put up displays for St George’s Day.

Just four out of 100 businesses counted in Ashford High Street put up exterior posters, flags and bunting on St George’s Day.

And some traders say there is more public response and business generated during St Patrick’s Day.

The George Hotel was part of the minority, with a string of exterior flags and it also had balloons in its bar.

Publican Tom Dixon said: "I made the effort because I am a patriotic bloke.

"I cannot comment on why other businesses don’t do it. I don’t think it’s to do with political correctness because I think there is actually more being done than two or three years ago."

The CMDL Dance and Schoolwear shop decorated its windows with flags.

Manager Catherine McVeigh said: "We celebrate all the days, also St Patrick’s, St David’s and St Andrew’s.

"We should all support St George’s Day as he is our patron saint. We do not celebrate our heritage enough - we should be proud. Yet plenty of pubs and clubs celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

"I don’t think political correctness is causing this, I think 10 years ago fewer businesses celebrated."

Clinton Cards displayed giant flag posters in its windows and had an internal display of St George souvenirs and cards, including one showing Winston Churchill.

Manager Trent Marshall said: "It is strange that this country does not get behind its patron saint. It’s not like St Patrick’s Day when they really go for it."

The fourth place with an exterior display, a door poster, was the Man of Kent pub.

The County Hotel had no exterior display but an interior poster encouraging celebrations for the day.

Duty manager Phil Barrett said: "We used to make a big thing out of it, and we have used flags in the past two years but sales have been disappointing for St George’s Day.

"People do not seem to care. I can’t think of a reason why, it’s possibly apathy."

The Kids Stuff toy shop had no displays and manager Camilla Godden said: "We have trouble getting St George’s Day cards from the manufacturers and there is not enough demand for them.

"Yet our St Patrick’s Day cards sell out."

Ashford Civic Centre also did not put up a St George flag for April 23

But the borough council says it continually flies three flags, the Union Jack, the EU and the borough crest.

Spokesman Deal Spurrell said: "There was no conscious decision not to put up the St George’s flage, not many businesses do.

"Nationalism seems to have been lost except at sporting event such as the World Cup when the flags do come out."

Company boss Tim Allard, who gave his staff a day off, said: "It is par for the course. St George’s Day passes with very little comment.

"I don’t know why, it could be apathy. We never have celebrated St George’s Day because we’re quite a reserved nation."

Mr Allard, chairman of Ashford cavity insulation specialists Lion Insulation, had told his 40-strong workforce they could all stay at home.

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