HIS legend is centuries old but Southampton is set to breathe new life into celebrating St George’s Day.

For the first time in the city the patron saint of England will be the focus of his own festival as part of a series of events to celebrate the national day.

Final preparations are now under way for Southampton’s first-ever St George’s Day festival on April 23 which will see 16 short films about community groups screened.

The 90-second films will highlight the work of volunteers working in local organisations across Southampton, and the festival will also feature singing and spoken word performances as well as Shakespearean dramatic speeches to mark the Bard’s birthday.

Flag ceremony The event will start at 7pm at The City College’s Hub, and has been organised by Itchen MP John Denham, city council communities chief Satvir Kaur, Southampton Festivals and Southampton Voluntary Services.

It will be preceded by a special flag-raising ceremony at St Mary’s Church at 6.30pm.

Free tickets are available at sotonstgeorge.eventbrite.co.uk.

The Grand Cafe in Southampton will host a celebratory event featuring a tribute act to legendary comic Norman Wisdom on April 23 at 12.15pm.

It will also feature a three-course meal. To book your ticket, which costs £25, call 023 8033 9303.

On the same day from 11am to 2pm, Weston Court will host an event with a raffle and games, which will raise money for Wessex Cancer Trust and ETC.

Inspiring Hampshire yachtsman Geoff Holt MBE and yachtsman Mike Golding OBE will be the guests of honour at a breakfast event in aid of the Rose Road Association.

The event will run from 7.15am to 8.40am at The Hilton Hotel in Chilworth.

Events are also being planned for a number of days across the city.

On Saturday, April 26 The Tudor House will feature a host of medieval-themed events including archery and the chance to make a junk dragon puppet, while old town tours will run throughout the day.

On April 27 the Southampton City District Scouts will parade through the city centre, starting from the Cenotaph at 2pm.

Elsewhere in Hampshire, Scouts from across the county will take part in parades. Scouts in Fareham will host their own parade from the Market Quay car park at 6.30pm on April 23.

And Scouts in Eastleigh will hold their own parade, starting at 10.30am at Norwood School and running through to the Leigh Road recreation ground on April 27.

Villagers in Bishop’s Waltham will be celebrating all things English at a St George’s Day Dinner. The event will start at 7pm on April 26 at Jubilee Hall. For more information call Vanessa Emmerson on 01489 895079.

In Winchester, the parade starting at the Colebrook Street car park will start at 1.15pm on April 27.