IT was a call to the city to celebrate part of its history – and Southampton has responded.

For the first time in its history the City of Southampton will play host to the first ever St George’s Day festival.

Across the city the bunting is being strewn across tea parties, school events and concerts, all in a bid to celebrate the patron saint of England – St George.

The drive to champion the day has been led by city MP John Denham in partnership with the city council and the SVS organisation which supports a number of community and charity groups in the city.

They have been urging the public to either host or take part in a number of events all aimed at celebrating the national saint’s special day.

Celebrations start early with breakfast events being staged. The Hilton at Chilworth will host an event for the Rose Road Association attended by record-breaking yachtsman Geoff Holt whilst throughout the day the Parklife cafe in St James’ Park is celebrating “good English food”.

Schools are also doing their bit for the patriotic cause with uniform being swapped for swords and shields at Hiltingbury Infant School in Chandler’s Ford as pupils have been encouraged to dress up as either the saint himself, a dragon or a princess.

Oasis Academy Mayfield will also be leaving the uniform at home in favour of all things red and white.

Competitions will also be held at lunchtime including a red and white themed cake sale and even a dragon roaring competition.

A quintessential English tea party will also be staged at a host of venues across the city by organisations including Southampton Sight at their Bassett Avenue venue and the friends of Polygon School in the city centre.

Wessex Cancer Trust will also be doing their bit with a food sale at Weston Court whilst bulb planting will be happening at the Holyrood Estate and a themed walks and talks event is also being organised by the Sholing Valleys Study Centre.

The Grand Cafe in Southampton will host a celebratory event featuring a tribute act to legendary comic Norman Wisdom.

The day will culminate with the main festival at The Hub theatre at City College Southampton which will see an informal evening of celebration featuring classical, choral, folk and pop and world music, modern and Asian dance, and a touch of Shakespeare to mark his birthday.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, pictured left, said she was delighted with the response: “This is a launch event so we really are hoping the city really supports. Southampton is such a diverse place with a variety of community groups.

“The English identity does not have to be from a certain culture, community or colour, we are celebrating everything about it and what that means to people in the city.”