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Ale and hearty Elford’s day will be musical ‘off-the-wall experience’

June 11, 2013

sens garden latest2DON’T expect Pink Floyd but get ready to be amazed by what folk are getting up to behind the 10ft-high brick edifice encircling Elford Hall Gardens.

And make a note in your diaries to set aside 10-or-so hours of your precious time next month for a truly “off-the-wall” experience

For the volunteers who have transformed the once dilapidated seven acre site in the village are staging a Folk and Real Ale Family Day on Saturday, July 6 from 1pm-11.30pm which is guaranteed to whet the appetite, tickle the taste buds and give the ear drums an airing.

The community event – a beer festival with 20 real ales and music from a host of artistes lasting all afternoon and evening – is designed to celebrate the ongoing restoration work by the village’s team of volunteers and all proceeds are going to the upkeep of the Elford Walled Garden. 

The musical acts include GoCrazy Ukulele band, Tamworth Male Voice Choir, Lichfield Lighthouse Company, Wildfire Folk, Lee Gillam and Friends, Alicats Duo, Claret the Band, Alan Davies pro Tempore Folk Jazz, Jane Hill, James Summerfield Acoustic band, the Walled Garden Wailers plus Ras King Bobo 1 – a fire-eating, acrobat and singer from Ghana.

Visitors can stroll around the beautiful gardens and enjoy the craft stalls at the event – taking in a cream tea or three, free games and storytelling for children in the new Giant’s Garden.

There’ll be an all-day barbecue with top quality meat from award-winning Alrewas butcher Peter Coates and a hog roast in the evening.

The Georgian Grade II-listed walled garden has been brought back to life over the past few years thanks to the tireless efforts of a group of volunteers called the Elford Hall Garden Project.

The gardens were once part of the Elford Estate, which was given to the people of Birmingham by the village squire, F Howard Paget, in July 1936, but later fell into disrepair. Elford Hall itself was bulldozed in 1964.

The project to restore the 400-plus yards long, 10ft high wall and surrounding area began in 2007 and was part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2011, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, officially opened ElfordHallGardens.

Last year the volunteers received more royal recognition during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend in June by being awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service  – the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups.

“The volunteers are working incredibly hard at the moment as the project comes to the end of Lottery funding,” said project spokesman Dick Cowley.

He added: “Electric cables have been laid and a sewerage system installed, pathways are being completed and a drive being prepared for tarmacing. The entrance will be transformed as we approach the end of the first stage of the project.”

  • Tickets – at £6 for adults, £3 for under 16s and free to the under fives free – are available from Peels Coffee Shop, Market Street, Tamworth; S & J Music, Bird Street, Lichfield; Whittington Post Office and Elford Stores or by calling Dick Cowley on 01827 383460 or 07986 804289.
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