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Thursday, July 24, 2014
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AXMINSTER: Record numbers flock to the festival
Tuesday, 24 June 2014
TRIUMPH: Steve Allen Woodwork and Landscaping and Harris Timber Products (HTP) had a shared stand which won David Swarbrick Memorial Trophy For best Outside Trade Stand. Festival chairman Tony Benger (middle) presents the trophy to Steve Allen (fifth from right) and Frankie Pinfold of HTP (third from right). Also photographed are festival committee members Ron Cross, Gaye Baulch, Karen Hussey and Roger Liddiard
Axe Vale Festival oganisers believe last weekend’s showpiece attracted about 14,000 people over the two days, which would be on par with the record set in 2009. The precise figure was not available at the time of going to press, but both days were extremely busy boosted by glorious weather. Speaking only a few hours in on Saturday morning, festival chairman Tony Benger said: “There are queues on the road and it looks like a bumper crowd.” Speaking with only an hour to go of the festival the following day, he reported that the early indication had proved right. He said: “There were queues in both directions on the Saturday. It hasn’t happened for years. Saturday was phenomenal.” His committee sidekick and festival press officer B. J. Lewis was equally enthusiastic. She said: “Two hundred people were queuing to get in at one stage on Saturday morning.” They reported that the Sunday had also been busy, but without the morning rush. Instead visitors arrived in a steady stream throughout the day. Mr Benger added: “Thank you very much to all the exhibitors and their tolerance of the heat – and their good humour and friendships.” He also praised the bands, the visitors and everybody else who played a part, including Rotary Club of Axminster for traffic management. Apart from hundreds of stalls and exhibitions, festival visitors were also occupied by entertainment in the arena, which featured anything from majorette performances to working horses plying their trade. There were performances by Karizma Majorettes and Seaton Majorettes, Western Counties Heavy Horses, TAGB Tae Kwon-Do and The Westward Gundog Society. The stage accommodated sets by anything from rookie to experienced musicians, featuring Jurassic Blue, Shute Community Primary School, New Forest Dixieland band, Coast and Alan West & Steve Black. Festival press officer BJ Lewis reported that Axe Valley Wildlife Park’s animals and the educational facility had been a hit with children and adults alike. She also said that an eight-week-old foal among the grown heavy horses had been a crowd-pleaser. BJ concluded: “The exhibits in the floral marquee were outstanding.” Excluding this year’s show, the event has raised more than £215,000 for Flamingo Pool and more than £141,000 for other worthy causes since it was foumded in 1994. Awards Floral Marquee Best in Show - Garside Cacti, David Swarbrick Memorial Trophy - Harris Timber Products Ltd and Steve Allen Woodwork and Landscaping, Highly Commended - Cannon Care Homes and AGM, Chairman’s Cup -Millwood Plants, Highly Commended - Tadnoll Plants, Craft Cup - Enchanted Hare, Highly Commended – Imagine, Keith Berry Plate - Bread of Devon Ltd, Highly Commended - Good Game, McKinlays Trophy - Helygen Baskets, Highly Commended - Cane Corner, Most Desirable Stand - T J Collectables, Most Unusual Item of Past History – Vicky and Tony Symes, Axe Skip Trophy - The Friends of the Minster, Highly Commended - Guide Dogs for the Blind. Awards in the Floral Marquee: Large Gold and Best in Marquee- Garside Cacti (a grower from Derbyshire who has been coming for many years). Large Gold: Burrow Farm Gardens, Chrysanthemums Direct, Lockyer (Fuchsias). Gold: Kerton Sweet Peas, Tale valley Nursery, Pockocks Roses. Silver Gilt: Barracott Plants, Mandy Plants Silver: Plant Heritage Devon Group, Dulford Nurseries Bronze: Westdale Nurseries, Gardens of Japan. Axminster and District Horticultural Society’s Annual Show: The WI Perpetual Challenge Trophy – Musbury & Whitford WI, The Florence Wells Rosebowl – B Howarth, The Frank Hooper Cup – B Howarth, The Frank Rowe Cup – B Howarth, The Dave Barter Cup – S George, The Sheppard Cup – B Howarth, The Axewey Cup – S Kempsell, The Trenchard Cup – K Ball, The Cawley Bowl – V Knight, The Clound Ninf Florists Trophy – V Knight, The Hooper Cup for Handicrafts – R Sugden, The Jeanne Collard Cup – S Bonny, The Home Produce Cake Stand – M Spencer-Brown, The Senior Youth Cup – Jessica Jordan, The Halder Shield – K Roberts, The members’ Cup – S Kempsell, The Stobo Cup – W Voysey, The Royal National Rose Society Bronze medal – S George, The RHS Banksian Medal – V Knight.
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