Flower festival commemorates Edith Cavell
The weekend of October 7 and 8 will see the biennial Cavell flower festival in Swardeston, 4 miles southwest of Norwich, including guided walks around the village this Norfolk heroine grew up in.
Edith Cavell grew up in the village till she was 16. She visited her family frequently over the ensuing years until the retirement of her father who was the vicar of Swardeston for 46 years to 1909. She pioneered professional nurse training in Brussels from 1907. As war broke out in summer 1914 she returned to Brussels from her holiday in Norwich and from November 1914 - August 1915 helped over 200 British and French soldiers, often wounded, make their way to safety in Holland. After a military trial, she was executed by firing squad on October 12 1915. She must be one of Norfolk’s most famous women and her laying down of her life as a follower of Christ is still a powerful example for our generation.
The Festival at St Mary's Church in Swardeston is open on October 7 and 8 from 11-5 each day. Admission and parking are free.
St Mary’s church will be full of flowers (more than 30 stunning arrangements) – this year’s theme is A Walk Down Memory Lane (music from the 1940s-50s).
The village hall will be full of stalls – including produce, handmade crafts, books and bric-a-brac.
Inviting refreshments, lunches and teas will be on offer in the Old Rectory garden.
The church will be full of music throughout - jazz, organ, harp, piano, song and instrumental duets… with a visit on Sunday 12-1 from Stookey Blue ceilidh band.
Cavell memorabilia will be on display in the Cavell Room and the old Cavell Sunday School room. This year they include three exciting new finds:
Edith Cavell’s piano, a 1903 watercolour by her and a newly discovered opera of 1920-2 in Italian, with a mystery to it. The US author Terri Arthur will talk at 2.15 each day and sign copies of her books on Edith.
At noon and 3pm both days (weather permitting!) there will a guided walk (45 minutes) around the village as it was in 1880 when Edith was 15 with local figure Ezra Parr.
All proceeds from the event will go towards church funds.
Bring your family and friends for a great time out. Miss this weekend and you’ll have a two year wait till the 2019 Festival!
In addition, on Saturday October 7th there will be a brief commemorative service at Edith’s graveside outside the East end of Norwich Cathedral.
More detail on www.edithcavell.org.uk, and on Facebook
Pictured above: Edith Cavell aged around 30 as she started to train as a nurse.
The new memorial stone to Edith Cavell dedicated in 2016 at Norwich Cathedral