Welsh Branch dinner to celebrate St David’s day
Dinner held on the 27th February 2021 via zoom. We were joined by Colonel Commandant Col Kevin Davies and Association General Secretary Sue McAteer together with friends from the Millbank Branch. Celebrations taking part in various locations around the UK including Scotland, London and various parts of Wales.
The dinner was held to celebrate St David the Patron Saint of Wales.
St David was born around about 520 AD on the Pembrokeshire cliffs near Capel Non during a fierce storm. He is the only British saint to be born in the country that he is a patron of.
As a young man, he became a monk educated in a monastery, life was very strict the brothers worked hard at cultivating the land, ploughing the fields by hand, beekeeping and providing food and lodgings for travellers, whilst following a simple austere life. He was a teetotal, vegetarian who lived on a modest diet of bread, vegetables, herbs and water.
St David was a renowned preacher and according to legend, he was also a miracle maker. Legend has it that St David suggested that Welsh soldiers during a battle against the Saxon soldiers wear a leek on their helmets to distinguish them from the invaders who wore similar uniforms. The leek features on the uniforms of the Welsh regiments to this day.
In the 16th century Richard Johnson wrote a poem about St David being a champion of Wales a knight in armour and how St David inspired the welsh saying:
“To arms! I say brave followers; I will be the first to give death the onset; and for my colours or ensign do I wear upon my burgonet, you see a green leek beset with gold, which shall, if we win victory, hereafter be an honour unto wales; and on this day, being the first of March, be it for ever worn by Welshmen in remembrance hereof”.
This story of champions was extremely popular and kept alive the name of St David and the symbolism of the leek.
Suggested table decorations included Dragons who were not to be fed during dinner. Various suggestions for food and drink sent out to all attendees. Pre-dinner drinks were late due to the Welsh Rugby match, well what would you expect this is Wales after all.
This was followed by leek eating and beer drinking. Being part of a dinner experience via zoom was a new experience for most of us, however, it really enjoyable with lots of laughter at the leek eating. Chatting about the different courses that people had chosen. Music by a Welsh choir played during the breaks.
The Loyal Toast –was undertaken sitting down. It is interesting to understand that St David’s day is the only time the Royal Welch Fusiliers toast, as in 1797 King George declared that loyal toasts be dispensed with as the loyalty of the Royal Welch is never in doubt. Hence, they do not stand.
A short speech on the history of St David, Patron Saint of Wales was read out followed by the Welsh National Anthem.
During the evening there were lots of anecdotes and remembrances conversed together with lots of laughter. Topics were varied and ranged far and wide. It was lovely to see people enjoying themselves via technology. The dinner followed by lots of talking carried on until late in the night.
All in all, it was a successful event and I for one look forward to the next one. A big thank you to everyone involved in organising the event.
Lt Col (Retd) Valmai Davies TD