Llangollen International Eisteddfod
The Floral Committee
From “a few flowers in jam jars to hide the tent poles’ the floral decoration has become a major attraction in its own right. It started with Marjorie Pierce at the first Eisteddfod, a keen gardener, (and folk dancer); over thirty five years as Chairman, she led her ‘ladies’ from being a minor off shoot of the Grounds Committee to a 50 strong independent floral Committee.
The stage has grown in size dramatically, over the years and so has the challenge to create new and exciting floral decorations each year. The work starts with the cutting and collecting of lorry loads of greenery (Thuja); the superstructures of the displays then have to be erected. filling the containers with water takes days as does the wiring in of the Thuja.
At the last possible moment the flower arrangers feverishly set to work on their designated patches. The fresh flowers come from their own gardens or are collected from generous growers over a wide area; some are bought from donations received. As the weather dictates the colours and varieties that are available, pre-planning is limited, the skill is in their creative improvisation.
Since the start of the Eisteddfod a large proportion of visitors has always been accommodated in the homes of local people. This hospitable tradition has been generously maintained ever since, because local people believe that in supporting it they are making their personal contribution to fostering international friendship. In the early years there were enough kind people living within a small radius of Llangollen, but as the numbers grew it became necessary to house them in outlying districts.
As the forecasted number of visitors keeps on growing, the lament of the “bed hunters” of the Hospitality Committee is heard more desperately every year .... “Where are we going to put them all?” they cry! The Committee has the unenviable task of trying to match visiting group numbers to the number of beds available in a district. However, emergencies arise which disrupt the best laid plans; competitors may withdraw from a competition at the last moment, they may arrive with a larger number than expected, or they may arrive a day early.
Those days in early July when competitors start arriving are filled with tension and excitement. Competitors are ferried from airports and rail centres all over Britain to the International Eisteddfod reception rooms. There they are received with a warm smile and a hot cup of tea served by the ‘Ladies of the Kitchen.’
Sometimes several foreign groups arrive together. They create confusion and chatter in many foreign tongues. It is then that the ladies really show their mettle. Though they are sometimes stretched to their limits of endurance, (they are regularly on duty all night waiting to receive foreign competitors), they always manage to complete arrangements efficiently and dispatch tired arrivals to the safe keeping of their hosts.
‘Hospitality’ is part of the “Spirit of Llangollen”, and we who work on the Committee are proud of our part in preserving and promoting that noble spirit. Moira Humphreys
Reproduced from the book 'Fifty
Glorious Weeks 1947 - 1996'
ISBN 0 9528296 06 - Compiler and Art Editor Robert B. Attenburrow M.B.E
Copyright © Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod. All rights reserved.
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod
Eisteddfod Office, Llangollen, North Wales, UK, LL20 8SW
Telephone:- +44 1978 862000 - Fax:- +44 1978 862002
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