Details revealed for 50th anniversary of Cookham Festival

A golden celebration of the Cookham Festival will see a unique floral display and an impressive feat of bell ringing to mark the event's 50th anniversary.

About 40 volunteers are helping arrange the flower exhibits, which will be themed around the village’s heritage, community and the history of the biennial event.

There will also be a peal of bells, which is at least 5,000 ‘changes’ – different sequences of how the bells are rung – just as there was for the first festival in 1967.

They are key attractions for the festival, which runs from Wednesday, May 10 - Sunday, May 21 and will take place across the village.

Bernadette Clark, 64, of the High Street, is involved with setting up the floral exhibition at Holy Trinity Church, in Church Gate, Cookham, which takes place between Saturday, May 13 and Monday, May 15.

“I think it shows a community working together,” she said.

“That’s what’s so special about Cookham.

“I’ve lived here thirty years. It’s a very special place.

“I don’t know that you find that in lots of villages these days.”

Some exhibits will be themed around famous figures from Cookham’s past, including Stanley Spencer and William Venables, who would become Lord Mayor of London.

Others will be themed around the works of Shakespeare, including the Hollow Crown, a production which was first put on at the festival in 1977.

The pillars and stained windows inside will be decorated with the exhibits, with every bit of the historic church covered in various flowers.

Schools and other churches around the area will also contribute to the exhibition.

On Saturday, May 13, festival-goers will also be treated to the impressive sounds of Holy Trinity’s ten bells being rung in a peal.

Marcia Dieppe, the ringmaster at Holy Trinity since 2007, has brought in ten ringers, including three from Cookham, who will complete the mammoth and high-endurance three-hour task.

“It is a stamina thing,” the 67-year-old said.

She said it was a way for the church to ring in a ‘special occasion’ and while she felt some peals are but on around the country for no big reason, ‘at Cookham, we like to do them for specific occasions’.

A host of events will take place throughout the ten days.

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