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Aylsham church festival remembers WW1

poppies 3902014 - Aylsham Parish Church’s annual Flower Festival will remember the tragic loss of life in World War 1 this bank holiday weekend. Tony Rothe reports.

The theme of the festival is “Reflections on War & Peace” and it runs from 10am to 5pm daily from May 23 to 26, as part of the wider Aylsham Festival.
Over 60 young men from Aylsham lost their lives during the Great War of 1914 – 1918.  The two War Memorials, one inside and one outside the Church, record their names.  In this, the centenary of the start of the Great War, those individuals are remembered in this Flower Festival.  Each of the talented arrangers has researched a specific aspect of WW1, to create stunning displays reflecting on conflict or peace.
Aylsham Parish Church’s Flower Festival promises to be an emotional showcase for the talents of the local community, as many of the arrangers will be sharing personal stories or memorabilia.  Flowers, displays, memorabilia, music and an interactive children’s trail will help create a beautiful and poignant tribute to those who have been affected, or who are still affected by conflicts around the world.
Flowers will fill the 14th century church, and displays include; women in war; WW1 Trenches; farming and animals; famous men; war graves; reconciliation; organisations supporting veterans and a garden of Remembrance created by Woodgate Nursery, a local garden centre. 
The atmosphere will be enhanced by a selection of music, also reflecting on the theme of War & Peace, played by local pianists and organists.  An interactive trail will help children explore not only the history of the Church, but also some of the key people whose endeavours during WW1 have helped shape our world today.
Local primary school children have created Peace Doves and Poppies that will be displayed in the church, and they will be attending the opening day of the festival.
Throughout the event there are opportunities reflection, as visitors walk around the Church, enjoy the peace of the Churchyard, or just enjoy listening to music. The “Lyons Corner House” Tea Rooms will be serving fair-trade tea and coffee along with a selection of home baked cakes.
The Festival will be opened at an invitation-only preview evening by the Right Rev’d Jonathan Meyrick, Bishop of Lynn, and broadcaster and writer John McCarthy.  The Bishop and Mr McCarthy will be “in conversation” later that evening in the Church at an event sponsored by Hansels Solicitors, as part of the wider Aylsham Festival which is taking place over the same weekend. 
Two special Sunday Services are also planned for May 25.  The 10.15am All Age Service will include the creation of origami peace doves and at 4pm Aylsham Church Choir will be signing Choral Evensong.
Aylsham flower fest 390Revd Andrew Beane, Vicar of Aylsham said “I have been staggered by the interest that has been created through the Flower Festival about how WW1 has touched each of our lives and in ways we perhaps never considered.  I am sure that the festival will create a place for reflection, taking us from the horror of war to the hope of peace, as we remember those who died in conflicts over the years and those still today affected by war, especially from post-traumatic stress.”
Entry to the festival is free but people are invited to purchase a programme or leave a donation.
For more information about John McCarthy discussion, see the previous story on Network Norfolk, but please note that the interviewer is now the Bishop of Lynn. Tickets for this event are available from http://www.aylshamfestival.ticketsource.co.uk/
This event coincides with a launch of a 4-day Christian radio station covering Aylsham and surrounding towns and villages. Read about this here.
For more information about the festival visit www.facebook.com/aylshamparishchurch or www.aylshamparishchurch.co.uk
The Poppies image (top) is courtesy Lynne Kirton and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

Also pictured (above) is a scene from a previous flower festival at the church.


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