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July 21, 2008

Over the rainbow

Yesterday was exhausting for all the Abbey team. It marked the first anniversary of the devastating flood that hit our town an our county last year. This year the rain stayed away, although the north wind was cool and occasional clouds did hide the sun from time to time. Work for this began at the beginning of the week with teams from sound engineers and a fireworks display crew preparing our Abbey to be the centre piece for a party to celebrate our recovery and, perhaps more importantly, our rediscovery of the community spirit necessary to overcome the huge problems the flood brought.

The service in the Abbey was a thanksgiving and a remembrance - three people died during the floods and many more had businesses and homes destroyed - yet the town has largely bounced back. It has been no small effort to do so and for many it is still traumatic. Yesterday provided an opportunity to celebrate recovery and to give a party for everyone in the town. The Church was packed for the service and the crowd remained afterward to surround the Abbey in a "Hug" to replace the image of the Abbey surrounded by water with one of it surrounded by people. In the grounds many local organisations set up stalls to advertise their activities and a local funfair provider set up some fabulous inflatable and other rides for the kids.

In the Pageant Meadow to the south of the Abbey a huge enclosure was created and a large covered stage set up. A variety of bands played throughout the day on this, in counterpoint to the Jazz Ensemble playing at the entrance to the Abbey on the north side. The day concluded with a fabulous fireworks display over around and on the Abbey itself, supplemented by a light display and accompanied by music played over the sound system rigged in the tower. Carleton Etherington thundered through the fireworks on the Magnificent Milton to be followed by the Pirates of the Caribbean and several other well known pieces with the Abbey bells bringing the whole to a ringing conclusion.

What a party, not a single problem or incident of disorderly conduct, a wonderful atmosphere and a really grand day out for the town. Everyone involved deserves congratulations and the town deserves a year ahead in which it recovers those last few homes and lays the last few ghosts.

Pictures can be found on the BBC Gloucestershire website. I'm afraid I was too busy to get any myself...

Posted by The Gray Monk at July 21, 2008 07:47 AM

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