Church flower festival flourishes again after two 'lost' years

Some of Harpford's flower arrangers outside St Gregory's Church

Some of Harpford's flower arrangers outside St Gregory's Church. They are holding items relevant to the festival's theme or representing the other attractions on offer - the plant stall and refreshments - Credit: Harpford PCC

Harpford Church’s Flower Festival makes a comeback next month after a two-year Covid gap. 

The festival at St Gregory’s Church, with the theme 'The Cycle of Life', runs from Friday, July 15 until Sunday 17 and admission is free, but donations in aid of the church funds will be welcomed. There will be a plant stall and tombola in the church grounds, with refreshments, light lunches and cream teas available in Harpford village hall, just across the lane from the church. 

There is also a pebble painting competition for children under 12. They're invited to paint designs with a nature theme and bring them to the festival where their creations will be displayed on the pews, with the winners announced on Sunday evening. 

Before the festival opens, there is a preview evening on Thursday, July 14, with wine and canapes. Tickets are £7 per person or £12 for two, with all proceeds going to the church funds. 

Lorraine Frost from the parish church committee said: “We felt this event will be a good way for the community to get together socially again in a beautiful setting after the periods of lockdown, etc.” 

Fundraising for the St Gregory’s Church is particularly important this year, after two years when the festival could not take place.

Lorraine said: “The church is Grade II listed and proud to have a set of six bells in the 15th century tower, which create a fabulous peal thanks to our expert team of bell ringers. There is a plaque inside the church listing vicars that have served the parish of St. Gregory's since 1209 including 'Augustus Toplady', the author of the hymn Rock of Ages, who was vicar in 1766. 

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“As the church is close to the river Otter and Harpford Woods we have many walking groups that stop off at St. Gregory's, usually enjoying the peaceful setting in our memorial gardens or inside the church itself.” 

The flower festival will be open from 10am until 5pm on each of the three days, and will end with a Songs of Praise style service on the Sunday at 6.30pm. To reserve tickets for the preview evening, call Jane Bartlett on 01395 568718 or email bjbartlett3@gmail.com