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Festival shows the power of flowers

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A flower festival held to mark the 900th anniversary of Southwell Minster attracted thousands of visitors.

About 300 people worked around the clock from Wednesday morning to prepare the exhibits for Friday’s opening.

The flowers, worth thousands of pounds, were displayed by flower arrangers from clubs across the Midlands.

The exhibits featured blooms from the Netherlands, Israel, South America and South Africa.

Southwell Minster was awash with colour throughout the event, over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Each arrangement added to the colourful displays, whether they were traditional or contemporary designs.

Help was on hand to put the flowers in position from RAF cadets led by Flight-lieutenant Fred Harrison of the Nottinghamshire Cadet Force.

The four-day festival, which ended on Monday, took two years to plan.

The overall design was organised by the chairman and chief executive of the north Midlands area of the National Association of Flower Arranging Societies, Mrs Marilyn Williams, and her executive committee.

The chairman of the festival organising committee, Mrs Jenny Mellors, said she was delighted with the number of visitors.

Mrs Mellors, of Church Street, Southwell, said she had received complimentary comments from people impressed with the various displays.

“It attracted people from all over the place and it is amazing how many gentlemen I have seen,” said Mrs Mellors.

“We have seen a tremendous cross-section.

“A lot of people say what a wonderful building, doesn’t it make the flowers look good — or the other way round.

“We have been very pleased with the reaction.

“The weather was kind, which brought people out, and the flowers lasted because it wasn’t too hot.”

The event also featured displays and talks. On Monday the focus was on families with children.

There was a quiz for youngsters to complete as they looked around, and they could create their own flower arrangement for their parents.

Among the clubs that contributed were Newark and District Flower Lovers’ Club, which provided arrangements for the north porch door entrance with a needlework theme.

Mrs Pat Kitchen (62) of Salisbury Road, Newark, who helped to create the displays, said it was a modern arrangement that had taken about six days to prepare.

She said she was impressed with the other floral designs.

“It is beautiful — absolutely fantastic,” she said.

Among Southwell Flower Club’s pieces was an arrangement depicting the four apostles, which was on the high altar.

The club president, Mrs Patricia Wallace, of Cockett Lane, Farnsfield, said nine members put together their displays.

Mrs Wallace, a founder member of the club, said they had been practising for weeks and put the display together on Wednesday and Thursday.

Mrs Wallace said the event showed that flower arranging had moved on and although she was a traditional arranger she enjoyed creating contemporary displays.

“There are traditional arrangements and there are an awful lot more creative ones,” she said.

Visitor Dr Susan Tempest (44) of Powell Court, Farnsfield, said: “The diversity of the different displays is impressive.”

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