Watch a stunning war tribute at West Chiltington

A stunning floral tribute to those who died in the First World War was held at a church in West Chiltington at the weekend.

The flower festival at St Mary’s Church also commemorated the formation of the RAF.

The West Chiltington floral tribute

The West Chiltington floral tribute

Andrea Carlson-Hedges said: “There was a lovely atmosphere of friendship, joy and faithfulness pervading this event during the three days that it was open.

“Visitors and parishioners of this pretty ancient church said over and over again that they had not seen this church ever look so beautiful.

“The mastery of the art of floral arrangements achieved by the ten floral artists was so amazing that visitors gasped as they entered St Mary’s.”

The colour theme of the rainbow, with the meanings associated with each colour, led visitors from the church garden through the ancient entrance porch to all the interesting features of the building.

Carefully placed around the arrangements were the tragic stories of some of the young men who died as a result of the Great War.

Treasured items lent by members of the church and village demonstrated trench art and medals.

There was a silver baton belonging to a soldier who regularly played The Last Post at the Menin Gate each evening, a wallet with the bullet hole that pierced the heart of one young recruit, and a letter of consolation sent to the wife of another were intermingled with dramatic floral tributes.

A colourful display commemorating the centenary of the formation of the RAF was arranged over the pulpit with a wonderful set of RAF wings made from leaves and petals.

A wicker angel with white flowers in her skirt lit up the area which is usually the children’s corner of the church.

A dramatic cascade of knitted and crocheted poppies was artistically draped from a fabulous arrangement at the high window.

The Trinity was the tallest arrangement with a white dove descending as the Holy Spirit.

The font was decorated to look like a natural wild garden and was used by Reverend David Coleman to baptise an infant during the Sunday family service.

The event was sponsored by Nyetimber Vineyards who held two sessions of wine tastings daily, with takings going to the church.

Visitors were also treated to craft stalls by local artisans, a display of original art works by villagers, cakes and ploughman lunches.

Sunday evening rounded off the event with a choral Evensong led by The Sanctuary Singers who assisted the church choir.

It was arranged and directed by organist Tony Hancock and led by the new Rector David Coleman who thanked all who had made the weekend so successful.