Thousands flock to flower festival at Walpole St Peter’s Church

Sisters June Collison and Rita Day at the Walpole Saint Peter Flower Festival. Picture: Ian Burt

Sisters June Collison and Rita Day at the Walpole Saint Peter Flower Festival. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Thousands have been flocking to the Cathedral of the Fens for one of Norfolk’s biggest and oldest church flower festivals.

Around 60 helpers have filled Walpole St Peter’s Church with a riot of colour for the annual event.

After a packed festival service yesterday morning, crowds enjoyed a brass band, teas and an array of stalls selling everything from jigsaw puzzles to cucumber plants.

Rector the Revd Neil Badcock took over at the imposing church a year ago, after a stint at Blakeney and Cley.

“We had the festival service this morning and we were really packed,” he said. “Yesterday was good, we had a constant stream of people all day long. People come in coaches, we had one coach from Hethersett, they come from all over.

“I’m amazed at the quality of the flower displays, they’re just extraordinary. It’s at a time of year when flowers are at their best.

“We’ve got displays by the scouts, the guides, the local school - it’s quite a community thing.”

Walpole St Peter’s Church is one of the largest churches in Norfolk. Parts of the building date back to the 14th Century, when work began to replace an earlier church which was destroyed in a flood.

The church, which has five stars in guidebook England’s Best 1,000 Churches, is one of Prince Charles’s favourites. The Prince sometimes brings guests to see it when he holds house parties at nearby Sandringham.

In 1963, parishioners decided to stage a flower festival, to raise funds towards its upkeep. The event has evolved into a five day blaze of colour, in which the building’s interior is filled with displays, lit by the light which cascades through the towering windows of the nave.

This year’s flower festival continues tomorrow and on Tuesday and Wednesday (9am - 6pm). Entry is free.

The church is signposted off the A17 and A47. A one-way system is in operation through the vilage to guide visitors to the flower festival car park.

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