ST GEORGE was firmly cemented into the hearts and minds of Darreners as a huge celebration in his honour took place.

Darwen town centre was filled with England flags on Saturday as hundreds of people took part in the festivities.

The patron saint of England is celebrated each year on April 23 and there was a host of activities to take part in, ahead of tomorrow.

Dads, lads, daughters and mums got their hands on replica weapons from the First World War and other army equipment from years gone by, thanks to the Veterans Living History Museum.

Lancashire Hawks and Owls brought birds of prey for everyone to hold and have pictures taken with.

The story of St George and a ‘knight-making’ ceremony took place in Darwen town centre, including a fire-breathing dragon.

Family favourite Punch and Judy made scores of youngsters laugh and other activities included face painting.

John Armston, 58, from Darwen, with his grandson, Jake, three, said the pair had a great time.

He said: “I think it’s important to celebrate St George’s Day because it’s a day we can celebrate our history and everything we have achieved.

“I think the day can often be mistakenly seen as a celebration for something more negative but we need to look beyond that and see it’s about England and everyone who lives here.”

St George was a soldier of Greek origin who was immortalised in a myth for slaying a dragon.

He was declared the protector of the royal family in the 14th century, becoming England’s patron saint.

The mercury shot up to 24 degrees in Darwen on Saturday which helped attract even more families to the event, organiser Sam Taylor said.

She said: “It’s been a really positive day. This is the third time I have run this event and it has been growing each time.

“I think any event which can bring the community together is important.

“St George is the patron saint of England and we should celebrate him.

“All the stalls have been fantastic and have brought something really good to the day. Mike Falcon who does the Punch and Judy was brilliant and put a lot of work into his show.”

St George’s Day-themed events are planned for across East Lancashire tomorrow, including at Clitheroe Castle.