Months of planning resulted in a spectacular 3 day flower festival in St Mary and St Giles Church to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen's 90th birthday. It took 2 days for the flower arrangers to get all the displays in place. Some of the children from St Mary and St Giles school came to help too - they made paper flowers in red, white and blue.
There were 22 themed displays, plus some arrangements sponsored in memory of people. A programme with explanatory notes about each display (with a plan of the church) was given out to everyone who came to enjoy the flowers and the artistry of the arrangers.
The Parish Singers, Band and Music for All @ SMSG sponsored one of the displays. We decided on a musical theme as it was going on the Organ noticeboard in one of the window seat alcoves. So Lesley Salter printed out the sheet music (from our band arrangement) of God Save the Queen and I found information about the various versions of words and the countries for which it is the National or Royal anthem for the display.
We wanted to represent the organ pipes in the display too, so Ellie covered the polystyrene blocks (previously used by Jacob's grandmother in their flower festival display a few years ago) with black paper and spray painted some plastic tubes of different lengths with gold paint, to imitate the golden front pipes of the Willis organ.
The tubes were mounted in the black blocks and put on either side of the display.
Meanwhile the flower arrangers, lead by Sue Starr and Lesley Corcoran created two fabulous arrangements using black and white flowers and large leaves, with a smaller arrangement between the two blocks of 'pipes'. In the tops of the pipes they placed black paper roses and white gypsophila. The white and black theme was for the keys on a piano or organ keyboard.
During the 3 days of the festival background music was occasionally provided on piano, organ and clarinet by various people who play those instruments.
On Saturday morning I visited the festival to take photos while the light was good. David and Shirley Scrutton were providing the background music - Shirley at the piano, sometimes accompanying David on his clarinet, sometimes playing piano solos. And David played his first public performance on the Willis pipe organ! Learning to play the organ was one of David's motivations for helping lead the fundraising for 10 years. He has practiced the piano at home but needed to learn pedals so for some weeks Jacob has been giving him lessons.
During the Saturday afternoon of the flower festival John Neal came to play the organ for a while. Throughout the 3 days refreshments were provided in the parish hall, which was also decorated with flowers. There was a raffle too, with some rather good prizes.
More photos of the flower festival with David and Shirley providing the background music can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78058413@N06/albums/72157669631747356
Words and photos by Anna Page