This year’s John Clare Society festival will be held in Helpston, near Peterborough from 13–15 July 2018 – the 225th anniversary of his birth.
It begins with the Midsummer Cushions Ceremony at St Botolph’s Church on Friday at 1.30pm, and the results of the children’s poetry competition. The children with winning poems will receive special medals designed by the late Peter Moyse, to hang round their necks and show off to their friends and families.
The Saturday events start with the AGM at 10.15am, to be followed by the Presidential Address. These and the afternoon talk will take place in St Botolph’s Church.
Lunches and teas will be provided at the Village Hall and the Blue Bell, and light lunches in John Clare Cottage. There will be stalls around the village and in Botolph’s Barn, and morris dancing in the village, and an open studio/garden at the back of Helpston House.
The afternoon talk is to be given by Professor Fiona Stafford who has recently produced an excellent book The Long, Long Life of Trees. She also wrote a piece on the sycamore for the last issue of the Society’s Journal. She is a keen Clare enthusiast and good speaker.
The evening concert will be in the Church from 6pm to 7pm, given by the Leicester Grammar School Folk Group. They will perform Clare-related music.
A Clare-related church service will take place on Sunday and our Festival will be concluded with light refreshments in the Church following the service, to which all are welcome.
We would love local people to come along to the Festival. It is for everyone and not just members of the Society. It is also free (apart from the concert, which is ticketed).