Renovated church set to hold flower festival

A church near Sleaford is to hold a flower festival to celebrate its extensive history and showcase the results of a major restoration project.

No Caption ABCDE EMN-210614-132303001
No Caption ABCDE EMN-210614-132303001

St John the Baptist Church, in Great Hale, is due to hold the event on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27, from 10am to 5pm each day.

The theme for the festival is Kings and Queens; the flowers on show will represent periods in the church’s history, from Æthelred the Unready, more than a 1,000 years ago, to Queen Elizabeth II

“All the Kings and Queens we have chosen for flower arrangements have some significance to Great Hale Church,” said churchwarden Elaine Huckle.

The event will also spotlight recent restoration work at the church, paid for by grant money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and numerous others.

Visitors will find: a new Ancaster stone floor in the Nave; new chairs, made of oak with seagrass seats; new curtains; and a new kitchen, where the flooring has also been replaced with Ancaster stone.

The restoration project led to the discovery of bones dating from between the 11th and 19th centuries, which in turn, led to the re-opening of the churchyard after 130 years for their reburial. A skeleton, dating from between the 11th and 13th century, was also found, and left in situ.

The Saturday of the festival will feature a barbecue at noon in aid of the 1st Heckington Brownies and an historic costume parade through the village at 2.45pm (fancy dress is encouraged, with a prize on offer for the best costume). The Sunday will feature a thanksgiving service at 6pm.

Over the weekend, there will be: strawberry teas, light refreshments, stalls, a Kings and Queens boutique, crafts, plants, games and more.

One other feature will be a letter and a photograph of the late Duke of Edinburgh sent to the church by The Queen, after Elaine wrote to Her Majesty about the festival and restoration. The letter expresses The Queen’s good wishes for the festival and interest in the restoration, Elaine said.

“We are thrilled by the support of Her Majesty,” she added.

Proceeds from the festival – which will comply with Covid-19 regulations – will go to church funds.