THOUGH few have been inside the official residence of the Mayor of Winchester fewer still have seen it like this.
The inner rooms of Abbey House were filled with every kind of rose, lily, and carnation to celebrate the life of King Alfred the Great at a special flower festival fundraiser on Friday (July 25).
Otterbourne Flower and Garden Club, of which the mayor, Cllr Eileen Berry, is a member, created colourful interpretations of the icon’s life – from his days as a scholar to the revered King of Wessex – with a mixture of floral designs.
The group were commissioned by the mayor for her first fundraising event of the year to follow the king’s key moments with a range of specifically designed exhibits such as Alfred the Visionary, Military Warrior and Founder of the Navy and the tale of the burnt cakes.
Co-organiser Carol Bailey said: “The trouble with King Alfred is not a lot of people know too much about it yet a lot of people recall the story of the burnt cakes so we’ve dedicated one display to that part of his life.”
Dark sunflowers, with petals removed, were used to tell the story of how Alfred had burnt some cakes he was asked to watch over, while in hiding from the Vikings, as a result of being so engrossed with his troubles.
Ms Bailey said the theme involved some quite thorough research but said the team of 28 members “recreated his legacy beautifully”.
“It’s about raising money for the mayor’s charities and it’s her inaugural fundraising event,” she added. “We were invited to put on the flower festival and we were delighted to do so. I don’t think we have ever done an exhibition before and to it in a place such as Abbey House is wonderful.
Cllr Berry said: “As a member I knew all too well Otterbourne could do a good job and the theme is right. All the exhibits represent what King Alfred had done.
“This has never been attempted before. Abbey House has never been used in this way and it shows what this lovely place can be used for; things that are visual and we’re blessed with this building.
“Other mayors are often saying to me they think we’re so lucky to have this place. Otterbourne Flower Club has shown it in its best light.”