Floral spectacle as spring welcomed with Garland Day in Lewes

Garland Day in  Lewes
Garland Day in Lewes

Lewes is a town which likes its processions and on Monday May 4 it was the turn of Garland Day.

Dozens of children presented their colourful garlands in the Castle Gun Garden of Lewes Castle.

A total of 53 children created May garlands and entered them into the annual competitions.

It was judged by the Mayor and Mayoress of Lewes, Mike Turner and his wife Anne and the chair of Lewes District Council Tony Nicholson and his wife Angela.

Event organiser Mary Motley said: “What a glorious day we had. There were many pretty and interesting garlands so they (the judges) found the task challenging.”

The winning group was Alwyn and Wilfred Watson and Joe and Elka Hill, with their dragon garland.

The winning individual was Arthur Motley with a garland fashioned from firey coloured flowers to look like a bonfire torch.

The road closure of Lewes High Street was marshalled by members of Commercial Square Bonfire Society and friends of The Knots of May, as hundreds of onlookers lined the streets to watch the spectacle.

Crowds in the Gun Garden were entertained with dancing by The Knots of May, Ditchling Morris and the children of Black Brook Morris.

The mayoral party, helped by MC Dave Johns, presented the prizes in the precinct and this was followed by more dancing. The day concluded with dancing outside The John Harvey Tavern and then at The Dorset, where the morris dancers were joined by Black Powder Morris.

The historic tradition was started in 1874 by the then mayor of Lewes Mr JF Verrall and was revived by the Knots of May in 1980.

Mr Verrall presented cash prizes for the best creations to encourage a love and knowledge of wild flowers and to channel into a respectable outlet the penny-begging of local children.

And the winners were:

Group: 1st Alwyn and Wilfred Watson and Joe and Elka Hill; 2nd Cleo Petit, Theo and Florence Adams, Alex and Joseph Baker.

Individual: 1st Arthur Motley and 2nd Mia McGhie.

Highly Commended: Anita and Malaika Kidelo and Milly Pepler; Corin and Flora Motley and Rosabelle Hawkins, Laura Maslan, Zana Fleet, Keire Kidman, Evie Gallaher, Ben Simmonds; Minnie and Bess Wood; Sasha McGillivary, Sebastian and Anissa Llewellyn and Eli and Noah Jerome.