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PICTURES: Hartington Poppy Queen and flower festival

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: May 28, 2014

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Another wet bank holiday weekend did nothing to stop the people of Hartington making the most of their poppy queen celebration and flower festival. Gareth Butterfield finds out more.

A SPOT of rain isn't enough to stop villagers in Hartington enjoying themselves.

A series of torrential downpours is a bit closer to the mark, but at Saturday's poppy queen celebration the show went on regardless.

At one point the entire Warslow Silver Band, who have been in the village helping with celebrations and a concert, were forced to move into the village hall to dodge the deluge – but thankfully people followed and the music continued.

The crowning of the poppy queen has been brought forward this year to take it away from the village's wakes week celebrations and Alice Wager was crowned, taking over from Katie Broadley.

The event, which is organised by the Hartington Royal British Legion also featured a wheelbarrow race, stalls and dancing round a maypole – which also had to be brought indoors.

A scarecrow competition was another highlight of the community event, which was won by Kathleen Bassett, from Digmer Farm, with one fashioned into the shape of a farmer milking a cow using an old-fashioned milking unit.

She said: "It was nice to win but, sadly, the rain did spoil the festival a bit.

"The poppy queen naming had to be moved inside because of the downpours.

"The children enjoyed it and we still had a lot of fun but it was a real shame that it chucked it down so much."

Former villager Mick Partridge, who took on the role of town crier for the day, said: "It's always a good turnout for these sorts of things, that's how the village is.

"Obviously the weather did keep a few away but it went very well, considering how bad the weather was at times."

From Friday, the annual flower festival at St Giles' Church got under way, again moved to make the most of the bank holiday weekend.

Organiser Sarah Lacey led a small team who set up a series of floral displays based on the commemoration of 1914.

This year the country is holding a series of events to mark the start of the First World War but Hartington Flower Festival focused on all aspects of life in 1914, paying tribute to everything from the volunteer forces, the Suffragettes, the Red Cross and even notable people who were born at the time.

Mrs Lacey said: "The theme was 1914 remembered and I didn't want it to be all about the war, but I wanted it to commemorate it.

"One display, based on the 54 Thankful Villages, reduced some people to tears.

"And the thanks and tributes that people left in the visitors' book has almost reduced me to tears.

"They all seem to feel we did a very good job this year.

"The weather's not been nice so I don't think we've made as much money for the church but we have obviously given a lot of people a lot of pleasure."

The flower festival finished yesterday and a national commemoration of the First World War is due to take place on Monday, August 4.

Also in store for the village at the end of summer is the traditional events of the well dressings and Oddfellows March. The well dressings take place on Sunday, September 7, and the march is on Saturday, September 13.

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