PHOTO GALLERY: More than 3,000 people expected to visit Sheringham Flower Festival this week

Cakes, computers and a sprinkling of community spirit have gone into creating an annual flower festival filled with breath-taking floral arrangements.

Hundreds of beautiful blossoms have been gathered to create a quirky display which will attracted more than 3,000 this week to the north Norfolk seaside town Sheringham.

Arranged using the theme 'reaching out', people from all over the country are expected to descend to event, which has been held for more than 40 years.

Continuing to bloom in size and popularity, last year's event raised nearly �13,000 for church funds and charity.

Town mayor Doug Smith officially open the flower festival at St Andrew's Methodist Church, Cromer Road, yesterday (Thursday).

'I've been coming for many years,' he said.

'And it's interesting because out of all our festivals it is the quietest but it is the best attended. It's good like the carnival and it brings thousands of people together.'

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This year the festival features 35 individually designed arrangements and will be on display daily until Sunday. Each one is designed around a new theme each year and this year's theme - reaching out - was creatively interpreted from arrangements praising the efforts of others to highlighting modern technology and the plight of homeless people.

Also, to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, a charitable donation will be given to one of the charities she is patron of and this will be voted for by the visitors.

Rosa West, secretary of the church and the festival committee, said the event was a group effort and attracted 'bus loads' of people every year.

'We've had good support from the members of Holt, Sheringham, Cromer, Fakenham and Norwich flower groups, to name a few,' she said.

'The arrangers have excelled themselves this year. There is so much work done in the background as well and I am grateful to everyone who has helped.'

Miss West believed that the success of the festival was down to good organisation and exceptional arrangements.

Live organ music will also be performed in the church throughout the festival and there are also a selection of stalls including plants, jigsaws, books, crafts, jewellery and gifts as well as a raffle, quizzes, light lunches, cream teas and cakes for sale.

The opening times of the festival are today and Saturday, 10am-6pm, and Sunday, noon-6pm. Entry is free and there are wheelchair and disabled toilet facilities.

? donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk

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