BOLTON gained its own branch of the Royal Society of St George in exactly the manner of which the noble knight would have approved — with banners, armour and an ancient charter ceremony.

The venue may have been the more modern setting of an IT company, but its base in St George’s Square was equally apt.

The setting up of a local branch of the organisation that dates back to the 13th century was a long-held dream of Eventura’s managing director Chris Houghton.

Ever since he started his own business 12 years ago, Mr Houghton has celebrated St George’s Day by giving his staff the day off — and he even writes it into their contracts.

He said: “St George’s Day is all about English identity and looking at the best of us, rather than the worst.”

The new group — which is non-political and totally inclusive — is about pride in England and also about philanthropy.

There are several dozen branches around the country, including Blackburn and Manchester.

There are also RSSG branches in Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.

The charter to inaugurate the latest branch was presented by the society’s national vice-chairman, Joanna Cadman, to Mr Houghton as chairman.

Paul Birbeck from Eventura is vice-chairman and Stuart Stead from accountants Cowgill Holloway LLP is treasurer.

Mr Houghton added: “The idea is to not only celebrate St George’s Day but to raise money for local community projects.

“These would not be big projects, but the kind involving relatively small sums that still make a big difference.”

He hopes that, among fundraising events, there would be a St George’s Day dinner in Bolton aimed at local businesses.

The branch will not be fully up and running until after an AGM in June, but Mr Houghton is also looking for a local venue to be the RSSG’s base for its quarterly meetings.

A Bolton RSSG website is being built and Mr Houghton would like to hear from anyone interested in joining the branch by emailing him at

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