SANDFORD residents gave an overwhelming thumbs up to the “Right Royal Parish Celebration” to commemorate the Coronation of King Charles.

This was all down to a merry band who had put together a programme of events for the weekend.

Goodwill messages for a successful Sandford Celebration had been received from Mel Stride MP and Elizabeth der’ Langer, Deputy Lord Lieutenant.

School visit – Events started by Parish Council Chairman Brian Fyfe, and Parish Clerk Malcolm Vallance, being welcomed to Sandford School by the Head, Ed Nichols.

Each class was visited with the children wearing their self-made crowns, and enjoying their Coronation Tea dressed in their “best Coronation clothes”. More than 120 packets of Coronation Wildflower seeds were given out for the pupils and staff to take home for planting.

Coronation Ring for the King - On Coronation Day the bellringers at St Swithun’s Church did a Ring for the King, organised by Jim King, and a lovely spread of food was provided by Rita King, assisted by her team of helpers.

Church Service – This saw a good turnout for a Service put together by Rev Janet May who read one of the lessons, and Jean Hope, the other.

Tree planting – After the service everyone walked to the entrance to Creedy View for the Planting of the Coronation tree, a pink cherry tree, by Brian Fyfe, with a plaque, to compliment the white cherry tree planted last year to mark the Platinum Jubilee. After the tree planting everyone adjourned to the Parish Hall for refreshments.

Coronation Walk – Despite a gloomy forecast, more than 50 walkers assembled at the Parish Hall for the Coronation Beating the Bounds and Boundary Walk that headed first to Creedy Bridge, when the recently replaced Boundary Stone No 1 was christened with Sandford Cider.

Then it was up Stonewall Lane to Forches Cross where Stone No 2 was duly Christened.

At this stage the promised rain arrived and the party split after walking the Millennium Green Path, some walking the road towards New Buildings and back to the Parish Hall via West Sandford.

Others made their way back to the Parish Hall where a cup of tea was waiting instead of Beacon Church which had been the original venue for an open-air tea.

Coronation Tea

With a change of venue, the Parish Hall had, in effect, a “pop up” Coronation tea party in a well decorated Hall. An “amazing” spread of food had been provided by Angela Crooke and her merry band of helpers.

Brian Warren acted as Master of Ceremonies and musical entertainment was provided by John and Francisca Richards and the Copplestone Community Choir.

After Grace, read by Church Warden Chris Tucker, everyone was invited to help themselves to tea and refreshments.

A  Coronation cake was cut by Brian Fyfe.

In summing up, Malcolm Vallance, Parish Clerk, said: “In my 40-plus years as Parish Clerk I cannot recall a better Parish Celebration as our 2023 Coronation Celebrations has been.

“All the events were well attended and supported. For the Coronation Tea we only just had enough chairs. Despite the forecast the walk was well attended and will go down in Parish history.

“All I can say is thank you everyone for proving once again Sandford knows how to put on a Proper Parish Celebration worthy of the King!.”