We started Rose Fair in 1963 to help raise money for our church - now the need is as urgent as ever says St Peter's, Wisbech

PUBLISHED: 12:51 01 July 2019

Margaret Baily (pictured sitting with her Rose Fair memory book) was one of the founder members, but although she is no longer able to volunteer is extreemly supportive of the people who can.

Margaret Baily (pictured sitting with her Rose Fair memory book) was one of the founder members, but although she is no longer able to volunteer is extreemly supportive of the people who can.

St Peter's Church, Wisbech, is busy preparing for the annual Rose Fair that begins on July 3 and runs through until Saturday July 6.

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This year, it is as if we are stepping back in time because the church is desperately in need of major work.

In 1963, Rose Fair was started to raise £25,000 for restoration, and now the church needs almost a quarter of a million pounds to repair the roof and some masonry, both of which are in a dire state.

This has given us the opportunity to look back at Rose Fairs past, and you will see from the photographs the lady volunteers preparing food for the 1988 event and some of the volunteers from 2018.

The food preparation has always been carried out by the ladies of the church whilst the men are invaluable in setting up stalls, the church hall and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

Previous article from the Wisbech Standard, covering the annual Rose Fair. Picture: ANGIE MANNINGPrevious article from the Wisbech Standard, covering the annual Rose Fair. Picture: ANGIE MANNING

The flower arrangements were as stunning back then as they are now, but don't they look so much more magnificent in colour? We are so fortunate to have so many volunteer flower arrangers, some of whom travel quite a distance to be part of this amazing Festival.

The cutting from the Wisbech Standard newspaper shows the popularity of Rose Fair over a number of years; who would have thought it would still be going as strong today as it was then?

Margaret Bailey (pictured sitting with her Rose Fair memory book) was one of the founder members, but although she is no longer able to volunteer is extremely supportive of the people who can. Indeed we do have some founder members still working hard to produce the food to serve to the public.

From strawberry teas then, to sit down meals now, from clean hands, work surfaces and aprons in the beginning to health and safety, food hygiene regulations and food labelling, in the present day.

Volunteers have been helping with the Rose Fair since 1963 by preparing a range of food for churchgoers whilst arranging flowers for the public to admire. Picture: ANGIE MANNINGVolunteers have been helping with the Rose Fair since 1963 by preparing a range of food for churchgoers whilst arranging flowers for the public to admire. Picture: ANGIE MANNING

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As you can gather all this work is carried out by volunteers who are not quite as young as they once were. Do you think you could help in any way, to keep the tradition of Rose Fair alive for the next generations? If so please contact us via our email stpeterstpaulwisbech@gmail.com

The work to repair the church will commence in the near future, and the mammoth effort to gain the funds for this has been ongoing for some months. A small committee has applied for and gained approval from The Heritage Lottery Funding, which comes with a commitment from all church users to raise money to match fund the grant.

Once again volunteers will be needed to carry out the many events being planned as part of the funding; please let us know if you are able to assist.

Volunteers have been helping with the Rose Fair since 1963 by preparing a range of food for churchgoers whilst arranging flowers for the public to admire. Picture: ANGIE MANNINGVolunteers have been helping with the Rose Fair since 1963 by preparing a range of food for churchgoers whilst arranging flowers for the public to admire. Picture: ANGIE MANNING

The church is visited all year round with people coming from near and far to see the wonderful stained glass windows, architecture and memorials.

If during their visit mother nature calls, they are in a dilemma, so it has been decided to create an area for toilets and a kitchen within the church and at the same time create an area for art exhibitions, and to round this all off to have a system for information points around the church. Quite an undertaking, isn't it?

The profit from Rose Fair always goes to keep the church in good repair for all to enjoy; this year and for the next three years the money raised will be ploughed into the restoration and the extra work needed to bring our church into the 21st century. Your donations will help enormously to assist in this venture, so please give generously.

TESCO ARE RUNNING A PARK AND RIDE DURING THE 4 DAYS OF ROSE FAIR 3RD TO 6TH JULY.

SERVICE 68, WISBECH TESCO BUS WILL RUN APPROXIMATELY EVERY 40 MINUTES.

ADULT RETURN: £3.10 CHILD RETURN: £2.00 FREE TRAVEL FOR CONCESSIONARY BUS PASS HOLDERS

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