Church of England Diocese of Guildford Dunsfold


28 Jun 2021, 9 a.m.
More than a thousand homemade flowers have been draped from a church tower to help raise funds for its renovation and upkeep.

Alison White, 64, from Barley, Hertfordshire, came up with the idea to decorate St Margaret of Antioch church in the village in February.

She said it had helped villagers come together during the "glum" early weeks of the third UK lockdown. Decorations were posted in from the US, Australia and across the UK.

"In February, we still had a long stretch ahead of us and we didn't know for how long we would be isolating and we were all rather glum," Mrs White said.

"So I thought, what can we do together, but not together?"

The retired art and textiles teacher decided making flowers from fabric was the answer, and galvanised the community to knit, sew, and crochet to create the Barley Flower Tower.

"I thought we would get between 300 and 500 flowers but never 1,452," she said.

Over a period of four months, artwork came in from the village, surrounding areas and abroad.

Mrs White said she hoped people would donate to the church "if the work makes you smile" so the building could be "brought up to date".

She said it did not have any toilets or an inside tap, "so if you want a coffee after a service someone has to take the washing-up home".

So far £825 has been raised for the church.

When the flowers that have "cheered a lot of people up and helped give them focus" are taken down in September, its hoped they will have raised £10 each, to have generated £14,520 in total.

"We've got to know people in the village we didn't know before and it has brought us much closer together," Mrs White added.

Reverend Canon Ruth Pyke said: "The generosity of people in putting so much effort into this beautiful creation has been wonderful.

"I hope we will inspire people from the wider community or who pass through the village to stop, admire our hanging and give generously."