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Powerful messages from ‘A Flower Festival of Remembrance’

Chaos and Beauty: The Falklands; an exhibit by Lorna Field, Marion Malcolmson and Margaret Drew, of East Riding Flower Club

“Beauty From Chaos: A Flower Festival of Remembrance” is an exhibition organised jointly by the East Riding branch of the SSAFA (the Armed Forces charity) and St Mary’s Church, Beverley, and was officially opened on Wednesday night (August 8th) by the Lord-Lieutenant of the East Riding, Mrs Susan Cunliffe-Lister.

It opens to the public today (Thursday August 9th) and runs until Sunday August 12th, coinciding with a parade and civic service in St Mary’s with the Mayor of Beverley, Cllr Bryan Pearson.

Beverley Flower Club member Anne Welton, of Hessle, with her floral tribute to a SSAFA nurse on duty

St Mary’s provides the magnificent backdrop to a total of 52 displays, designed by Mo Duffill and Anne Cherry, who are professional floral designers and teachers. There have worked with members of flower clubs in the North East area of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies, which included Beverley Flower Club, the East Riding Flower Club and many more, to interpret the human effects of conflicts the world over on our armed forces, and those connected with them, using flowers, foliage and artefacts.

The festival is designed to be viewed by following a set route. Visitors are urged to: “Stand at the inner entrance and admire the red, white and blue theme down through the main aisles to the main altar. Following the route left, admire the stunning wreaths and flowers at the Memorial Door, take in the local shipyard connection during WWII … Look at the chaos and damage caused by the Blitz and admire the figure of an airman in a local airfield.”

Elsewhere, there are representations of the Women’s Land Army, Dig For Victory, the “Make Do and Mend” campaign, plus the chaos and beauty of designs depicting more modern struggles in Afghanistan, The Falklands and Ireland.

The design commemorating the formation of the Royal Air Force

The 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I and the formation of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy are also depicted in floral displays and down the South Nave aisle, a florally-inspired bed with a SSAFA nurse on duty grabs your attention.

The festival is open from 10am to 4pm each day and tickets cost £8 for adults, £5 concessions and £1 for accompanied children, five and over. They are available on the door or from Beverley Tourist Information, with all proceeds shared between St Mary’s and the SSAFA, which supports servicemen, ex-servicemen and their families.

Michael Menzies-Baird, chairman of the East Yorkshire branch of the SSAFA, said: “We hope with your help that our flower festival will make us all very proud to commemorate 100 years since the end of WWI and the formation of the RAF and it will celebrate all our military personnel, past and present, through this most wonderful festival.”

Stunning displays commemorating all aspects of armed conflict

Poignant display: Memories in a Meadow