Flitcham flower festival starts on Friday

Some of the members of the Flitcham Flower Festival organising team, from left - Val and Paul Blackmur, Robert Walden and Eileen Jarvis with a poacher's fishing rod, brandy warmer, saw sharpening holder, mole catcher, slipper ale warmer, sugar beet hook and a poacher's ferret net  MLNF17PB09319
Some of the members of the Flitcham Flower Festival organising team, from left - Val and Paul Blackmur, Robert Walden and Eileen Jarvis with a poacher's fishing rod, brandy warmer, saw sharpening holder, mole catcher, slipper ale warmer, sugar beet hook and a poacher's ferret net MLNF17PB09319

When a small group of Flitcham enthusiasts decide to fund-raise for a worthy cause there are no half measures.

The latest campaign by a small group of residents, led by Val Blackmur, is to raise money for St Mary’s, their parish church.

To do that they are holding a four-day Flower Festival this weekend from Friday until Monday.

Thirty flower arrangements, many with visual clues to the names of twenty-seven famous sporting personalities, will fill the church with colour and fragrance.

In addition there will be an extensive display of scores of bygones and implements used in the home, in shops and on farms from the 1700’s onwards.

These include a man trap, banned in the eighteenth century, poacher’s equipment, including a collapsible fishing rod, and a travelling iron heated by methylated spirits which doubled as a cooker.

Many of the items on display can also been seen in copies of advertisements collated from newspapers and magazines of the time or come with their original instruction leaflet.

There will be prizes for those who name most of the sporting personalities or correctly identify most of a selection on thirty of the most unusual implements on display.

Organising the event meant the group had to book the church for a whole fortnight to enable them to both prepare the festival and clear up afterwards.

The display of old implements provided one of the most difficult problems to solve. What to put on show and what to leave out was owner Paul Blackmur’s problem.

“I’ve been collecting for twenty-five or thirty years. I’ve probably got between three and four hundred items,” he said.

“I’ve always been interested in knowing how things work and I want to see if I can solve the mystery.” But despite extensive research some implements have defeated all his efforts. He pointed to one long rod with moveable parts: “I’ve had five years and I still don’t know what it is.”

Apart from implements for spearing eels, mole and rabbit traps he will have on display a pole trap.

“It’s a trap that was used by gamekeepers for birds - raptors and the like - which was put on top of a long pole.”

Most of the items come from scouring markets, junk stalls and at auctions but after such a long time he has no idea what his collection is worth.

The culmination last year of a previous fund-raising drive saw members of this group raise nearly £30,000 for the Norfolk Hospice at Hillington. This time the aim is far more modest.

“We’d like to make around £2,000 but we are hoping for more,” said Mrs Blackmur.