By George, we're in England, says vicar

A vicar is preparing to fly the flag for England's patron saint this weekend - and scotch any suggestions that his parish lies north of the Border.

A vicar is preparing to fly the flag for England's patron saint this weekend - and scotch any suggestions that his parish lies north of the Border.

Berwick's Rev Alan Hughes says he's fed up with the historic Northumberland market town being mistakenly referred to as Scottish.

And as he gears up to celebrate St George's Day with a service on Sunday, the former soldier has exposed a barrage of blunders by everyone from tourism chiefs to national newspapers.

"It might have been besieged more times than Jerusalem, but Berwick has been in English hands since 1482," said the Rev Hughes, who ministers England's northern-most parish.

"It's inhabitants have been receiving some intriguing messages lately, though. Banners around a Berwick supermarket fuel forecourt proclaiming `The cheapest petrol in Scotland' could be reasoned away by imagining that they had tapped into a Borders pipeline, but not the `Pensioners Guide to Scotland' sent to my wife.

"We then received a top hotel chain's 2007 holiday guide, which divides England and Scotland into regions.

"Their map redraws the Scottish border some 10 miles south of the River Tweed near to Holy Island."

And that's not all that's rankled the reverend.

"A national newspaper carried a two-page colour centrefold with a getaway map for the Easter weekend, which redrew the English-Scottish border between Carlisle and Newcastle," he said. "Not one feature was shown north of Newcastle - no Holy Island, no Alnwick Gardens, no Berwick-upon-Tweed, not even the River Tweed."

And it hasn't been any easier with the elections just around the corner, he added.

"We also had a smart glossy colour leaflet from One Scotland, on how we Berwickers can vote in elections for the Scottish Parliament on May 3," he said.

But the final straw ironically arrived in the shape of a Christian pilgrimage.

"A group is organising a prayer walk through every major town in Scotland during April and May," said Rev Hughes.

"Guess what? Yes, Berwick features in its list of Scottish towns to be visited and prayed over."

Rev Hughes will be holding the St George's Day service tomorrow (SUNDAY) at 10am, all welcome, at Berwick Parish Church at Wallace Green - with both the flags of St George and St Andrew, patron saint of Scotland, flying.

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