Highlights of the Festival

Categories: Press releases

Highlights of the Festival – for Romsey Advertiser, 25 July 14

(To accompany montage of photos)

Ronsey Festival closed on Sunday with the presentation of the Festival flag back to Chairman Dick Hewett at the end of the Closing Service in the Abbey URC Church. It had been a very successful 16 days of events.

Chairman Dick Hewett summarised his own personal highlights of the Festival earlier in the service, after having attended or called in on nearly all the events during the Festival.

“There were so many great events that it is impossible to mention them all”, said Mr Hewett, “and I can only include a small sample here.

“The first highlight for me was seeing the stunning images on fabric at the War Horse Exhibition at Ranvilles Farm.

“Then the Opening Service on the first Sunday focused on youth, and included some of the poems written by local schoolchildren for the Poetry for Pleasure competition. My own favourite, which subsequently won First Prize in the Year 6 competition, was “Skiddaw”, by Nathaniel Lester from Romsey Abbey Primary School.  It brought back memories of my father when he lived in Keswick under the shadow of that great mountain.

“The open air concert at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, featuring the Michelmersh Silver Band, was a delight, whilst in contrast there was great calm and peace in The Art Of Prayer in the Abbey URC each morning.

“The Transition Town workshop featured children and adults using waste materials to produce a sculpture which is now displayed over the River Test in the War Memorial Park, and it gave me great pleasure to declare it “installed” there on the last day of the Festival.

“The stunning performances by Jenna Gover and Anna Ter Haar, Con Musica, the Delmege Quartet, and Rachel Maxey in the first week’s lunchtime recitals showed the depth of talent produced by our community.

“Naz gave thirteen Gourmet Experiencers a fascinating culinary exposition producing Vegetable samosas, Onion bhajis and Chicken Bhuna at his Indian (or should I say Bangladeshi) Restaurant.

“A good sum was raised for Jane Scarth House thanks to a packed Abbey for the Schools Concert.

“In East Dean, I particularly enjoyed the flower display, the highlight for me as a cricketer being the cricket display, a bounty of flowers accompanied by cricket pads, bat and ball, and the essential tea cup of a cricket tea.

“The Friends of Romsey Signal Box were overwhelmed by a record number of visitors for the special open day in association with La Ronde.

“The variety of gardens in La Ronde was extraordinary, ranging from the huge grounds and impressive lake of Lake House, to the pocket handkerchief plot at 1 Spring Place, with its lovely view of the Abbey – both beautiful, but totally different in scale.

“Tucked in amongst the more formal events, the relaxed atmosphere of Homefolk at the Old House At Home and the Southern Jazz Guitar Society concert in the Abbey Hotel came as a welcome contrast.

“The talents of Mountbatten School were much on display at the President’s Evening, the Mountbatten Community Choir providing a rousing finale.

“And finally the last two events in the Abbey drew the Festival to a close. The stunning performance of Patrick Hawes’ ‘Song of Songs’ by Winchester Consort was followed on the final afternoon by a thoroughly enjoyable organ recital by David Hewett and Thomas Leech, two ex-Abbey choristers.

“It was wonderful to be welcomed at so m many events and to see so much talent and ability within our local communities.

“Everyone who played any part in putting on the Festival – be it organisers, participants, administrators or those who attended – is to be thanked for making the 2014 Romsey Festival an undoubted success.”


(Submitted by Dick Hewett, Chairman, Romsey Festival, 01794 500523 or 07743 942576; email