Church remembers battle anniversary with flowers

Ford Flower Festival team.
Ford Flower Festival team.

A north Northumberland church is saying it with flowers, with a festival to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden.

Over Easter, visitors to St Michael and All Angels Church at Ford will be treated to stunning floral displays reflecting the themes of peace, healing and reconciliation.

More than 30 people from the church and the local community are already hard at work planning the festival, with the help of the president of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies’ Gillian Platt, who creates arrangements for national events.

Flowers will cover the church from the porch to the altar, including designs depicting the English flag and Scottish saltire, the gate to the battlefield trail, the Flodden monument and the story of the battle.

Local historian Clive Hallam-Baker will provide some replica weapons and maps of the battlefield to set the scene.

The theme of healing is one that is particularly important to the organisers and a series of watercolour paintings of medicinal plants by local artist Alyson Reynolds will also be on display.

Heather Pentland, a member of the flower festival team, said: “The entire festival from planning through to the distribution of posters has only been made possible with the help of a huge team of people who have all worked together on the project.

“We are very grateful for the support we have had from arrangers, friends, helpers and very generous sponsors.”

With parts of the church dating back to the 13th century, St Michael and All Angels is a particularly appropriate setting and it’s possible that some of the troops may have visited it before battle.

Organisers were keen to involve as much of the local community as possible. There will be a display created by pupils at Ford School and the Heatherslaw Mill, which pre-dates 1513, will provide local materials including corn to be arranged by church members. The battlefield site is now part of the Joicey family estate and Lady Joicey will be providing the display under the Lord Joicey Memorial window.

Inside the church, people can enjoy the peace of the Easter Garden created by church member Jimmy Mole, who will also arrange the main altar display.

This will be the first of a series of eight flower festivals taking place between March and September across the area of the Flodden 1513 Ecomuseum, a living museum which links these community events with 12 key sites, including the battlefield itself.

The festival will be open on Saturday, March 30, from 10am-5pm; Sunday, March 31, noon-5pm; Monday, April 1, 10am-5pm, and Tuesday, April 2, 10am-5pm.

Entry is free but donations are welcome.

Refreshments will be available.