The organiser of a popular flower festival is retiring after a remarkable 30 years.
Rosemary Gainsbury has been at the helm of Guestling Flower Festival for the last three decades, but is stepping down after this year’s event, to be held at St. Laurence Parish Church next weekend.
The flower festival’s publicity officer, Sarah Lewis, has recognised Rosemary’s contribution and called for this year’s festival to be the biggest and best yet as a thank you for all of Rosemary’s work.
Sarah said: “Without Rosemary’s hard work, dedication, selflessness and creative vision over the last 30 years, the flower festivals simply would not have taken place. We owe Rosemary a huge debt of gratitude for all the hard work she has put in to make the festivals such a success, that are enjoyed by local people and visitors alike.
“I’d say there aren’t many people out there who have done something and stuck at it for 30 years. What Rosemary has done is truly remarkable and we owe her so much.”
Every year, Rosemary picks a theme for the festival and comes up with a number of suggested titles for people to use for their arrangements.
She then arranges the displays inside the church, and is always on hand to offer advice to those taking part.
Picking out her favourite theme from the past 30 years, she said: “Childhood memories was a good one. There were so many wonderful pieces that year.
“At the 2016 festival, I had already come up with the theme for 2017, thanks to my daughter Hazel. I couldn’t do all this without her help.”
Rosemary, who used to work as a florist, was involved with the flower festival even before becoming the organiser, and says she will still contribute floral arrangements to future events after her retirement. This year’s Guestling Flower Festival will take place from Friday, August 17 to Sunday, August 19. It will be open from 10am until 5pm on each of the three days, and there will be refreshments available, as well as produce and book stalls. There will also be a tombola and Songs of Praise at 6pm on the Sunday. The event is the church’s main fundraiser, and all proceeds go to the church restoration fund.
This year’s theme is Observer’s Books, which were a series of small, pocket-sized books, published from 1937 to 2003, that covered a variety of topics including hobbies, art, history and wildlife.
Sarah added: “There really is something for everyone at the flower festival. The sights and smells are so wonderful.
“I’d love to see this year’s event be the biggest yet, with the most visitors and most money raised, as a ‘thank you’ to Rosemary for all she’s done.”
The church’s vicar, Reverend Robert Mulford, also says the church owes Rosemary a ‘huge debt of gratitude’.
Call 01424 812254 for details.