Fun and games at John Clare Festival - July 8-10

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A WIDE variety of interesting events and activities are on offer in Helpston this weekend as part of the 30th John Clare Festival in Helpston.

The Midsummer Cushion ceremony will take place at Helpston Parish Church at 1.30pm today. This evening there will be Langdyke Trust activities at Torpel Manor field, followed by folk music at the Exeter Arms.

The school will be open from 9.30am tomorrow and a musical welcome will precede the John Clare Society’s annual general meeting. The rest of the day will be a kaleidoscope of things happening around the village including stalls, dancing; music from wandering musicians; nature poetry at John Clare Cottage; music and singing in the garden; artists at work in Botolph’s Barn; an opportunity speak with storyteller Hugh Lupton about his new book - The Ballad of John Clare; poetry readings at St Botolph’s Church, and The Lark has raised his Song, a special concert by Sussex Downs Singers at 6pm in the marquee.

The Festival service will be on Sunday morning and then John Clare Society members are invited to the open family day based at Willow Brook Farm organised by the John Clare Country Partnership. The theme is John Clare and the countryside. For more information visit