History

Axmouth Village Show - how it all began

In 1943 whilst war raged across Europe and air raids devastated towns and cities throughout Britain, the Red Cross made an urgent appeal for money to replenish their funds largely depleted because of the enormous demands the conflict had made upon them. The appeal made throughout County Councils and fed to Parish Councils was eagerly embraced by all sections of the community. In Axmouth a public meeting was called and a Red Cross fund raising committee was formed, led by a young Jim Cross and Len Weekes, a gardener at Stedcombe Manor. They decided that a grand fete was needed to lift the spirits and raise the much needed cash for this crucial part of the war effort.

At this point they were invited to hold the fete at Stedcombe Manor, the superbly sited William and Mary House, by its then owner, Miss Stephens. The fete was an enormous success and deemed to have been such a good day that it would be repeated annually as a flower show.The Axmouth Flower Show had come into being. Each year a great array of home made goods such as rationing would allow were on sale, children’s sports, produce auction and pets shows filled the programme.

Over the following years the show raised money for the soldiers and seamen’s charities and when the hostilities ceased the show combined with the Village Produce Association, formed as part of the Dig for Victory campaign. The show enjoyed enormous support in the immediate post-war year (now held in Webbers camp field) However the rise of convenience foods and the general decline in vegetable growing meant that the Flower Show had gone into decline by the early eighties and at one low point was held in the village hall car park.However the offer of a field in the centre of the village, on an annual basis from Lady Loveridge and her late husband, Sir John, plus the enthusiastic efforts of the committee meant that the show has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

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