Diamond Jubilee Flower Festival

The Background

During the summer of 2011 St Mary’s Parochial Church Council (PCC) and the Westwell Restoration Fundraising Committee were looking for ideas as to how to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of HM the Queen, and to raise money for essential repairs to the church.   It was decided that both of these aims could be met by holding a Flower Festival over the Jubilee weekend in June 2012.
A committee was set up to organise the Flower Festival and included representatives from the PCC, Fundraising Committee, church flower arrangers and the community.
The Flower Festival Committee met for the first time in the autumn of 2011 and brainstormed a number of ideas, agreeing that the theme should be ‘Significant events during over the last 60 years of Her Majesty’s reign’. These would include Treetops, where HRH Princess Elizabeth was informed of her Accession; the ascent of Everest; the Coronation; the Windsor Castle Fire; the Millennium celebrations;  the 1966 World Cup, and other themes.
The Committee wrote to local businesses and individuals, seeking sponsorship for the Festival. Their generous response meant that the costs of staging the Festival would be covered.   In addition, Michael and Carolyn Thorneloe said that they hoped to organise a Concert during the Festival to raise funds for the restoration appeal, and the Thorne Trio offered to play at the concert without charge.
Many other members of the community came forward to offer their services, including offers to make a copy of the Archbishop’s cope for the Coronation arrangement, and models of Mt Everest and Windsor Castle.
Views of the Church interior before the Flower Festival

Getting Ready!
Many meetings later, and the weekend of the Festival was fast approaching. The flowers and the gifted arrangers were in the Church, and the props were in place...........
A vast array of flower arrangers worked non-stop over 2 days to produce the displays, as shown in the following pictures.


While all this was going on in the Church, numerous home bakers produced cakes for sale during the Festival.



And with an army of flower arrangers and buckets and buckets full of gorgeous flowers, there was a lot of clearing up to do!

The Displays
With grateful thanks to Val Butcher and Pauline Tweedy for the use of their wonderful pictures.

Porch (Jean Sheepwash and Jackie Law)

Font (Helen Stuart-Smith -- Antique Christening gown lent by Joan Richards & used in the Richards' family for 5 generations)

Millennium Celebrations (Alyson Greaves)

Treetops (Jackie and Nick Sandford, June Jones, Mim Oliver and the G7 teen children)
Red pedestal, orange window, and our first glimpse of Windsor Castle
(Joan Richards, Lynne Jones, and Mary-Anne and Kip Pitt)
The Windsor Castle Fire (Mary-Anne and Kip Pitt)

Memorial (Pat Richardson)

Racing Colours (Pam Burdge)

Everest (Heather Absalom, Alyson Greaves and Joan Richards)

Piano (Barbara Spens)

Kneelers (Viv Hunt, Jacqui Xavier-Rhoades and Zara Evans)

Country Pursuits (Heather Absalom, Alyson Greaves and Joan Richards)

Coronation Embroidery (Margery Thomas)

The Queen's Coronation dress, as made by Norman Hartnell, of white satin embroidered with the emblems of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth:   

Pale pink Tudor rose - England
Shamrock – Ireland
Thistle – Scotland
Leek - Wales
Yellow Wattle - Australia
Maple leaf - Canada
Lotus flower - Ceylon and India
Fern - New Zealand
Wheat - Pakistan
Protea - South Africa
English Oak was included in other embroidery in Westminster Abbey

The Purple Robe of Estate was embroidered with wheat ears and olive branches, using silk from a silk farm in Lullingstone, Kent.
The anointing has the deepest significance during the ceremony and the Queen’s dress was covered by a simple white linen robe for this. The recipe for the Anointing Oil contains oils of orange, roses, cinnamon, musk and ambergris. Usually a batch is made to last a few Coronations. In May 1941, a bomb hit the Deanery destroying the phial containing the anointing oil so a new batch had to be made up. The pharmacy that had mixed the last anointing oil had gone out of business but the recipe was found and the oil made.  
 The short motet O Taste and See  by Ralph Vaughan Williams was commissioned to be sung during the anointing.
These arrangements also pay homage to Constance Spry (1886-1960) who was commissioned to arrange the flowers at Westminster Abbey and along the processional route from Buckingham Palace
As a florist, social reformer, teacher and best-selling author, CONSTANCE SPRY democratised home-making in mid-20th century Britain by teaching millions of people that – with a little imagination – they could beautify their homes with flowers plucked from hedgerows and scraps of wasteland and usesuch unassuming materials as berries, vegetable leaves, twigs, ferns and weeds displayed in a motley assortment of containers from gravy boats and bird cages, to tureen lids and baking trays. Her arrangements were often loose and fluid
Constance Spry collected old roses at her home, Winkfield Place, and was in part responsible for their return to popularity in this country. It was through Constance Spry that David Austin became aware of their allure and history, and his first introduction, in 1961, was named after her.
Margery Thomas.
Crown Jewels (Alyson Greaves and June Jones)

Left to right:  the orb, St Edward's Crown (the velvet and ermine are made from flowers), the sceptre, State Diadem and (front) ceremonial sword (courtesy of Denzil Wood)

Coronation and the Archbishop (Iris Freemantle and Joan Richards)

The cope was handmade by Iris Freemantle, who made a pattern taken from pictures of that worn by the Arcbishop of Canterbury at the Coronation.  It is entirely handstitched, and the crosses and roses are handpainted on the fabric. The cope is to be presented to the Rector of the G7 Benefice. 
Candle Holders (Penny Knatchbull and Jane Richards)

World Cup (Rosemary and David Harding: Geoff Hurst was made by children of years 3 and 4 at Monkton Primary School, with the help of Mrs Smith)
Olympics (Anna Rawlins)

Windows (Lynne Jones)

Visitors and Acknowledgements

Visitors to the Flower Festival came from neighbouring parishes and points north, south, east and west. They signed the Visitors’ Book and all involved were thrilled to see the comments: ‘Amazing’, ‘Best Festival ever’, ‘Congratulations’ and many, many more.
The Committee plans to send an album of photographs of the displays to HM the Queen, and the cope is to be used by the Rector of the G7 Benefice (Rev Sheila Cox).

Final figures are not yet available, but it is thought that at least £3500 has been raised for the Restoration appeal.  

Our sincere thanks must go to:

The Committee: Joan Richards, Alyson Greaves, Jackie Sandford, June Jones, Carolyn Thorneloe and Sue Wood

The Sponsors: BTF Partnership, Charing Surgery, Classic Lettings, Country Funerals, Eastwell manor, Godinton House, Hobbs Parker, Medash Signs, Oakover Plants, Perfect Day Marquees, Perry Court Farm, South East Flowers, Tarmac, Thorneloe & Co, Westwell Wines, The Woolpack Inn (Tutt Hill), John and Farah Baldwin, Emma Boughton, Val and Derek Butcher, Iris Freemantle, Charlotte Greaves, Bill and Sue Hotchkiss, Arthur Hollis, Malcolm Horton, Alun Hughes, Laurie Humphreys, Mike and Liz Jamieson, June Jones, John Kemp, Sarah Mattocks,  Carolyn and Michael Thorneloe, and.friends who wished to remain anonymous.

The Flower Arrangers: Heather Absalom, Pam Burdge, Zara Evans, Iris Freemantle, Alyson Greaves, Rosemary and David Harding, Viv Hunt, Lynne Jones, June Jones, Penny Knatchbull, Jackie Law, Monkton Primary School, Mim Oliver and the G7 teen children, Mary-Anne and Kip Pitt, Anna Rawlins, Jane Richards, Joan Richards, Pat Richardson, Jackie and Nick Sandford, Jean Sheepwash, Barbara Spens, Helen Stuart-Smith, Margery Thomas and Jacqui Xavier-Rhoades.
The Thorne Trio: Alex Callanan, Esther Sheridan and Mary Thorneloe.

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