Flower festival set to be a happy weekend

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All are welcome to St Mary’s church, Sullington, for the Sullington Flower and Craft Festival which will take place from Friday June 24 to Sunday June 26 between 10am – 6pm daily.

So many hours of baking cakes, nurturing seeds, arranging displays, sweeping floors and pouring tea must be a sign of a treat in store.

There will be plenty of interesting rural stalls in the tithe barn including plants, pottery, furniture, cakes and conservation, and this is the only time in the entire year to find all the skills and crafts of the Chanctonbury Craftsmen on show and on sale in one place.

This ancient farmstead and church are described as ‘iconic’ and richly represent our Sussex downland heritage. The buildings reveal construction from every century - 11th-21st: an unprecedented resource which directly narrates the evolution and cultural history of local farming.

Reassuringly the church encompasses all with the oldest, Saxon, building work and some of the most modern in the ‘Millennium’ internal glass porch. Since the last festival in 2014, the award-winning repair of Sullington tithe barn has been followed up by repair of the barn next to the church as part of the ‘Saving Sullington’s Heritage’ project.

This barn dates from 1550 with later additions and is a beautiful oak timber framed barn which has never before been open to the public.

‘Saving Sullington’s Heritage’ is supported by the national lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and when repaired there will be an exhibition on the development of a Downland farm over the last 1000 years and the Kittle family hope to open a café. It is expected that the exhibition will be launched at this year’s flower festival. The exhibition space is designed to be flexible and the church will be able to use it for events and after service coffee and cakes.

Derek Spencer, Rector, says: “Everyone is welcome to this beautiful Church, nestled under the South Downs, to experience for yourself the creative skills of a community and amazing colours of the Lord’s language of flowers. It’s a reminder of the colour, vibrancy and life we can all bring to the world through having been created in the image of God. The scope and lovely atmosphere of the event is a testament to the friendliness of the people of Sullington church and what can be achieved when united in a cause. The flower festival is the single most important fundraiser in the life of this church over £30,000 pa to the Diocese. All are very welcome to this happy weekend.”