'Stop Taking the Chris' - April Fools Day story made important point about bank holidays - The Worcester Observer

'Stop Taking the Chris' - April Fools Day story made important point about bank holidays

Worcester Editorial 1st Apr, 2024 Updated: 1st Apr, 2024   0

OUR April Fools Day story was a ‘lame’ attempt this year, but it did make a serious point about the number of bank holidays we have in England, compared to the rest of Europe (and even the rest of the UK).

We always like to keep our annual stories topical and as this year April 1 fell on a bank holiday Monday we felt it important to highlight this issue.

We hope you enjoyed our ‘Stop Taking the Chris’ ruse about calls for St Christopher’s Day to become a bank holiday.

And, just in case you missed it, you can read this morning’s story below.

Campaign group calls for England to have more bank holidays ‘like the rest of Europe’

AS WE start the third public holiday of the year, a campaign group is calling on the Government to give people in England another bank holiday.

The Midlands-based ‘Stop Taking the Chris’ (STTC) group wants England to have a bank holiday on July 25 – the feast day of St Christopher – the patron saint of travellers.

It comes as statistics show the UK is among the countries in Europe with the lowest number of public holidays.

Currently, Britain has just eight bank holidays throughout the year – New Year’s Day, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (Easter), May Day, the Whitsun May bank holiday (at the end of May), the August bank holiday (this year on August 26) Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Germany and Ireland have 10, France has 11, Sweden and Norway have 12, Austria, Poland and Portugal have 13 each and Denmark has 14. Iceland has 16.

The ‘Stop Taking the Chris’ group thinks England’s hard-working population deserves ‘more of a break’ and wants to see more bank holidays put on the calendar.

Some people have suggested St George’s Day – the patron saint of England – should be a holiday on April 23. But, many say, that is too close to Easter and the day could be better-placed elsewhere.

Boosting summer tourism

The first bank holiday STTC is suggesting – as reflected in its name – is St Christopher’s Day (July 25). The idea would be – as St Christopher is the patron saint of travellers – that people use the day to get out and about in the English countryside or to seaside towns.

STCC says it could help boost tourism and local businesses in the areas people choose to visit.

Also, July 25 is at the height of British summertime so, although it cannot be guaranteed, it would be hoped the weather would be fine or at least ‘not too bad’ to go exploring.

A bank holiday in July would also be far enough between others – the late May bank holiday and the late August one. And people taking their summer breaks at that time would use one less day annual leave for their holiday.

What the group says….

Raif Pool is the spokesperson for STCC – he is originally from Germany but has made England his home.

He said: “In Germany, they respect the workers by giving them 10 public holidays and I think England should do the same.

“People work just as hard over here as they do there so deserve the same rights.

“St Christopher is the ideal saint to be celebrated – holidays are all about getting out and exploring and it would be fitting for people to do their own travelling on his feast day.

“With everyone working so hard these days just to keep a roof over their head and pay the bills, they deserve some more leisure time to have a break.

“But the St Christopher’s Day bank holiday is just the start. If we are successful with this,we will be pushing to get England’s and the rest of the UK’s bank holidays into double figures like Germany’s and those taken by the French.

“If this situation – of just eight bank holidays – happened in France, they would be rioting on the streets – I sometimes think the English are too polite.”

Raif added another announcement would be made at midday today (Monday) relating to the campaign.

It is anticipated that a petition will be launched for the extra bank holiday.

Petitions with 10,000 signatures get a response from the government and those with 100,000 are considered for debate in Parliament.

UK bank holidays

The various countries in the UK have different bank holidays.

Wales has the exact same bank holidays as England.

In Scotland, people have January 2 off as well as New Year’s Day. They have August 5 (this year)as their summer bank holiday and also have a bank holiday for St Andrew’s Day (the patron saint of Scotland – this year on December 2). With the other days (similar to England) that is nine in total.

In Northern Ireland, there is the St Patrick’s Day bank holiday – this year on March 19 – and The Battle of the Boyne on July 12. With the other days (similar to England) that is 10 in total.


Who was St Christopher?

St Christopher has always been considered the patron saint of travellers.

Some people wear ‘St Christopher’ pendants on necklaces if they are going travelling or on a trip while motorists sometimes keep an image of him in their car or cab in a bid to keep them safe.

It is said St Christopher protected travellers during his life and, in one recount, he carried a child across a river who turned out to be Christ.

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