Record-breaking Steyning Flower Festival declared best yet

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Photo by Derek Martin DM1985609a
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Photo by Derek Martin DM1985609a

Steyning Flower Festival, with its A Night at the Movies theme, was the best yet, according to the thousands of visitors who went along to St Andrew and St Cuthman Church over the bank holiday weekend.

There were 38 arrangements, put together by the church flower ladies, Steyning Flower Club and various other organisations, plus other attractions, including a recycling-inspired display of flowers made from discarded plastic and the poppy-festooned war memorial, organised by schools.

More pictures: Stunning arrangements at Steyning Flower Festival represented films past and present

Bill Thomson, from Friends of Steyning Parish Church, said: “The verdict of visitors was that it was the best flower festival as it was so different.

“The festival exceeded all expectations, helped no doubt by the superb weather, and attracted record crowds.”

The Friends organised the festival and created a guided route around the church so everyone could see all the arrangements.

Each display was based on an individual film, from Laurel and Hardy in the silent era up to the present time, plus the pillars were decorated with film strips, showing images of stars through the ages of film.

On Saturday, there was a performance by three choirs, directed by Zoe Peate, and Sunday proved equally popular with visitors, with 2,100 people attending.

To end Monday, the final day, church organist and musical director Brian Sawyer gave a recital featuring a range of movie music, including organ pieces used in films.

A plant sale was held at Penfold Hall, opposite, during the festival and local craftspeople had work on sale, alongside exhibitions of flower-related art by Steyning Art Society and photographs by Steyning Camera Club.

Visitors said the atmosphere in the hall was ‘fun and happy’.

Bill added: “The hard work then started getting the church back to normal. Such a shame the displays had to be taken down after such a short time but the warm weather meant they would not have survived for much longer.

“All in all it, was a great community project. People who had never arranged flowers before made such imaginative displays and, with the support of the flower ladies, produced such stunning arrangements.

“The generous donations by visitors, after the VIP preview entry was free, will ensure the historic Norman church can be maintained and improved to benefit the whole community in Steyning.”