Fordingbridge hall to be transformed into 1914 village

Getting the set ready for the 1914 Remembered - Portrait of a Village festival in Fordingbridge

Getting the set ready for the 1914 Remembered - Portrait of a Village festival in Fordingbridge

First published in New Forest News by , Head of News

A HALL in Fordingbridge is about to undergo an amazing transformation into a 1914 village for a one-off festival.

Everyone is invited along to St Mary’s Church hall to see the results of months of work by a group of artistic volunteers, who will unveil the fictional village of Fordwick from July 5-8.

The 1914 Remembered - Portrait of a Village is replacing the church’s traditional and hugely popular patronal festival for a year.

Usually members of the flower club held at the hall arrange a carpet of flowers, and people come from miles away to see the spectacle, raising between £8,000 and £9,000 every year.

But this year parishioner Janet Newman had the bold idea of creating a life-size village from just before war broke out, to mark the centenary of the First World War.

For the last few months people have been busy making the village two evenings a week and all day on Saturdays and on July 4, people will be treated to their first glimpse of a bygone age.

The village will feature cottages, tea rooms, a sweet shop where you can buy old-fashioned sweets, a railway station, a hardware shop, pub, village church, village green and exhibitions.

If this were not enough, there are the committee’s wonderful refreshments to enjoy, with lunches and cakes, and entertainment.

There will be a display of vintage vehicles and stalls, as well as country dancing by Fordingbridge Junior School pupils and music by the Bridges Brass Training Band.

There will be music in the church by the Laudamus Choir, Fordingbridge Handbell Ringers, and Robert West and friends on the village green.

Tower tours will be held throughout the days, and admission and car parking will be free.

Festival secretary Helen Tague said: “A tremendous amount of people turn up from far and wide - we are always amazed how far they come to see the floral carpet.

“This year will be something else, and we’re hoping to raise a lot of money for keeping the church up together, and the hall open for all the groups that use it.”

A preview evening will be held on Friday, July 4 from 7.30-9.30pm. There will be a pianist, wine and canapés. Tickets £10 from Jane Calver on 01425 656189.

There will also be an Old Tyme Music Hall event on the Saturday evening, costing £7.50.

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