Gallic flair breaks records at Great Bircham’s French fair

Visitors enjoying the fair that offered something French on a variety of stalls both in the church and outside

Visitors enjoying the fair that offered something French on a variety of stalls both in the church and outside

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The Queen came to the aid of St Mary’s Church, Bircham, where the fourth annual French Fair was held at the weekend.

The monarch supported the event, which officials are claiming was the best yet, with the gift of an enamelled pillbox as a prize in the raffle.

Amanda Rowe (left) and Paula Green from Hector's Barn, in Dersingham, sold everything French at the fair

Amanda Rowe (left) and Paula Green from Hector's Barn, in Dersingham, sold everything French at the fair

The fair promoted everything Gallic from fresh-baked baguettes and wine to a game of boules.

“It feels very French,” said Daniel Cabanis, who took over the village shop eight months ago and has done his own bit to introduce residents to the culinary tastes of his country. “I’m very impressed with this fair.”

“It’s bigger and better than ever before,” said the Rev. Peter Cook, adding that both local businesses and the village in general had rallied around to help make the event a success.

“What is so special is that there is great community involvement and I’d like to thank them all for their support.”

Bryan Shaw with the enamelled pillbox donated to the fair by the Queen

Bryan Shaw with the enamelled pillbox donated to the fair by the Queen

Church warden and treasurer Mike Lancefield added: “We made around £3,800 which is fantastic for such a little village. It’s our best total ever.”

The fair is only one strand of a drive to raise money for repairs to the church.

Mr Lancefield said: “It’s been neglected for 50 years and during the Second World War it was repaired with modern materials which are out of keeping with this 13th century church.

“We have a rolling programme of vital repairs using traditional materials. Acid rain is eating away the stonework and the leaded windows and we are currently ‘waterproofing’ the building by putting in a completely new drainage system.”

Rev Peter Cook and Daniel Cabanis sample a French wine to a tune from accordionist Jake Warrington

Rev Peter Cook and Daniel Cabanis sample a French wine to a tune from accordionist Jake Warrington

The total cost of the work is £250,000 and will take many years to complete.

 

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