Hartington Wells celebrate World War Land Girls

Preparations are well underway for one of the last well dressing festivals in Derbyshire this year.

A visitor from New Zealand is amongst volunteers in Hartington preparing for the village’s annual well dressing festival.

Pat Ellis (née Rowarth) who grew up in the village and is visiting from Auckland, is working alongside other volunteers, students and staff at Hartington Church of England Primary School and the Village Hall to get two well dressing displays ready for the festival, to begin on Saturday 12th September.

The Land Girls from both World Wars, are being commemorated in the main well displayed at the village pump. Students at the school are creating a display celebrating vegetables and home-grown produce, which will be exhibited beside the war memorial.

The Women’s Land Army was created in the World Wars as women were sought to work in agricultural as men were called up. Women who worked for the Land Army were known as Land Girls.

The festival coincides with Chesterfield’s as they are the two last well dressings of the year in Derbyshire.

Celebrations begin on Saturday with the crowning of the incoming Poppy Queen, Amy Freeman, a past student at the village school, alongside her attendants, Isaac Blackwell and Evie Allen, two current pupils. The wells will be blessed in a ceremony starting at 2.30pm, with members of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, the village Vicar and music from Warslow Silver Band. There will also be a scarecrow competition, with a theme of children’s book characters, traditional games, stalls and the annual duck race on the village pond.

Well dressing designer and one of main volunteer organisers of the event, Lucy Annat said: “Over the last 3 years we’ve had a wartime theme for our wells dressings and this year’s Land Girls idea ties in nicely with the 100 year anniversary of the Women’s Institute as WI members were involved with the Women’s Land Army. “We have had visitors bobbing into the Village Hall to see the dressings taking shape, including a couple from Belgium, and everyone has been very interested to find out more about the way we create them.

“We use petals, shrubbery, leaves and nuts to decorate our well dressing displays and the children’s display of an ‘edible garden’ is a fantastic idea as students have been growing their own produce throughout the year, seeing plants and flowers and eating the vegetables they have grown too.”

The Hartington Wakes and Sports Country Show is set to take place on Sunday 13th September and visitors are welcome throughout the week to see the beautiful wells dressings on display before they’re taken down the following Saturday (19th).

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