(to be published in Flamstead Church & Village News)
You may have seen Vikki Orvice’s piece about the first Flamstead Book Festival elsewhere in this issue. She has described the events of the day and some of the nice comments we have received from the authors. Here, we want to add that none of it would have been possible without all the fantastic help and support we received from around the village.
Thanks to the great team of helpers on the day and beforehand: to Greg in charge of setting up and breaking down, Miranda and her team of caterers, the FOSL trustees, all the stewards, the dads who moved the furniture in the Village Hall, the gang who put the church back to rights at the end, Caroline for the use of Grapevine, Alex for the photographs, and to anyone else we have omitted to mention.
Thanks also to the local businesses and organisations who supported the event: in particular the Coffee Dog for being the venue for the Box Office, Majestic Trees for the loan of the projector, Flamstead Village School for chairs, to Flamstead Methodist Church, St John’s Markyate, the Wish Tree Charity and the Scarecrow Festival for the loan of other essential items, and not forgetting John Green and the Village Hall committee for providing the venues.
A particular thank you is due to all those who attended the event: the parents who brought their children in the morning, the kids themselves for participating so enthusiastically, and to everybody who came in the afternoon and asked all those intelligent questions so remarked upon by the authors. It could only happen in Flamstead!
We also had many visitors from outside the village; we know of people from Markyate, Redbourn, Harpenden, Hemel, Watford, St Albans, London, Buckinghamshire, Kent, and even from Seattle, USA! Admittedly this particular young man did not travel here especially – he is an exchange student in London – but he did venture out into the English countryside to see his favourite author, Jonathan Stroud, and ended up having a long conversation with him.
When we first decided to put on a book festival, we had three objectives: to put on a good show that people enjoyed, to generate enthusiasm for books, and to raise funds for FOSL – the Friends of St Leonard’s.
Well, thanks to your participation, we have raised well over £1,000. Many authors and visitors commented upon the fantastic location and the beauty of the setting. Perhaps they were not fully aware of the death watch beetle in the timbers and the damp threatening the unique mediaeval wall paintings. We badly need funds to counter these: to preserve the church building and its surroundings – so they can continue to be a central part of village life for the next generation and for those to come.
As for our first two objctives and whether we should run it again, please take a couple of minutes to send us some feedback, either via the short questionnaire on the website www.flamsteadbookfestival.com or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all those who have done so already.
Mary & Mark Jenkin