showcasing local businesses, charities, news & events

Two-day family festival to mark licensees’ anniversary hailed success

Families and fun-seekers are being thanked by the hosts of a new two-day festival for helping them celebrate a special anniversary.

Nick and Emma Woodhouse have hailed the event, which marks their first decade at The Fleur de Lys in Lowsonford, a huge success.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

Photos by We Are The Clarkes

Hundreds of people flocked to the ‘Fleur Fest’ which also raised £650 for a local children’s charity, Molly Ollys, on June 29th-30th. It featured a host of entertainment and activities throughout the weekend, from live musicians and performers – including stilt walkers and bubbleology – to craft and circus skills workshops, market and charity stalls and even a dog show with prizes!

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

Emma said: “We were delighted to see so many happy faces filling our beer garden for FleurFest. The weekend was intended to celebrate the brilliance of pubs, as well as our tenth anniversary, and it certainly felt very joyful! From children chasing StiltMan around the garden to the sound of great bands filling the air, we really enjoyed doing something a bit different to our normal pies-and-pints operation.

“We hadn’t anticipated how fulfilling it would feel to see so many familiar faces supporting us. Also to look out and see neighbours dancing together in front of the stage and kids enthralled by circus performers, as well as so many proud dog owners after the dog show was really satisfying.”

The couple, who juggle running their business with the parenting of two young children, moved to Warwickshire from Bristol for their current project, combining 30 years of experience in the industry.

The Fleur De Lys – which translates as Flower of Life – first opened as a tavern in the early 20th century, later going on to introduce the ‘pioneering’ idea of serving food and giving rise to the now famous Fleur De Lys pies.

It is nestled in the picturesque village of Lowsonford on the banks of the Stratford Canal between winding roads which used to be part of The Forest of Arden. The garden boasts an acre of land and is also popular as a stop-off for canal users.

A team from Molly Ollys raised funds and awareness across the festival weekend. The Warwick-based charity was established in 2011 by Rachel and Tim Ollerenshaw following the death of their eight-year-old daughter Molly from a rare kidney cancer.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

It works to support children with terminal or life-limiting illnesses and their families and help with their emotional wellbeing as well as providing wishes and donating therapeutic toys and books to both children directly and to hospitals throughout the UK.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

The therapeutic toy lion called Olly The Brave has his own Hickman line and a detachable mane which helps to explain and normalise the effects of chemotherapy. These cuddly toys form part of an Olly The Brave pack that has now been handed out to more than 70 hospitals or health centres, along with a set of books from the charity’s exclusive Olly The Brave series.

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

Rachel said: “Thank you to Emma and Nick for inviting Molly Ollys to be part of the their 10th Anniversary Celebrations at Fleur Fest. It was a great event for all the family and we loved being a part of it and all helps to raise awareness of our work as well as much needed funds. Thank you to everyone who came to support.”

Fleur Fest, Fleur de Lys, Lowsonford

Emma added: “It was a privilege to partner with the Molly Olly charity for this event and raise awareness for this vital local charity, too. We would love to do more events like this and partner with local suppliers, performers and businesses, but we’re going to have to find an excuse sooner than our next big anniversary!”