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Why 2,000 flowers appeared on the side of a Somerset church Bath City News

Many towns and villages will be looking to put their own stamp on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations this year, but one village, between Minehead and Taunton, has already made its mark rather beautifully.

Last weekend, a team of Stogumber villagers and firefighters successfully draped the 20-metre-long screen over their church steeple in a fantastic display of community cooperation.

The display itself consists of over 2,000 individual flowers or emblems arranged in a rainbow pattern and sewn onto a mesh base sheet. Work began last July, with the team having their first meeting in a pub.

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Wendy Symes, florist by trade and ‘founder’ of the village initiative, said she first came up with the idea after seeing Barley Flower Tower in Hertfordshire, and felt the Stogumber village could do something similar to celebrate the Jubilee in a rather unique way. .

“I shared it on Facebook within the village and offered to do something similar for the Queen’s Jubilee and everyone just said ‘yes yes yes – we need to do this!'”

After noting the village’s eagerness, a group began meeting once a month to begin planning the design and ensure the correct protocol was being followed. Ms Symes went to take the measurements of the church steeple last winter with her son, and says since then she was mainly concerned with ‘wondering if it might fit’.

Stogumber villagers and volunteers help put the exhibit together (Image: Tim King)

“All I could think of was ‘will you be okay? ‘Is it going to hang?’ Because a lot of work has been done – there are women who haven’t stopped knitting since July [last year].”

“It’s also great for the village. Although last year we had more freedom with restrictions, people were still cautious and there were a lot of things that didn’t or couldn’t happen. happen. So it’s a good thing for some of these ladies to do in their spare time, and it certainly kept us all busy!”

It was a long process to see the project come to fruition. Ms Symes said that by Christmas they had hoped to be at the ten meter mark, halfway to completion, but to her horror found that “we only had about three meters sewn at that time – I just thought “oh my God, are we ever going to get there? »

The flowers submitted were kept in mushroom trays in accordance with the color request, and in February a group of volunteers took it upon themselves to start stitching the designs on their own.

“There was a sense of relief then because we could actually stick to the schedule, because the weeks go by so quickly.”

Wendy Symes (middle) with a selection of volunteers who have helped create the Stogumber Floral Cascade over the past ten months (Image: Tim King)

‘When we’ve finished it and it’s hung, and you know all the work that’s been done – it’s really moving,’ says Ms Symes, ‘all the worry, the sleepless nights we’ve spent on it – and it’s there, finally! It was quite a journey.

“It was really very emotional to see it there and to see it, because even if you see it on the table or on the floor, you never know what it will look like when hung.”

The effect is really quite breathtaking, and the floral cascade is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s in store for Jubilee weekend. Stogumber is planning a ‘flower festival’, where there will be more floral and craft displays relating to specific aspects of the Queen’s 70-year reign, as well as a ‘six-foot Queen’s Guard outside the church”.

“We’re going to do a coronation dress with flowers, and we’ll also have a design reflecting the four nations in the porch, and also one for the Queen’s sake for the corgi dogs – with a Fortnum picnic basket and Mason,” said Ms Symes, “also a nod to the Queen’s favorite football team – West Ham.

“It’s a bit of history – we’ve had a fantastic queen for the past 70 years, and hopefully this stunt, the event; we can watch all the footage and know we’re watching our part in it. the story of the event.”

It was a real community effort, with young and old involved in the process. There are still a few small designs to add to the display as the village hopes to complete the majority of the work by this weekend, including a Union Jack and an ‘E II R 70’ display.

The stunt will be in place all summer and will raise funds for the Mind and Childrens Hospice South West charities.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-14 23:00:00

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