Despite the uncertain weather and the considerable distraction of the Diamond Jubilee pagentry on the River Thames being broadcast live on the BBC, the Solent Gardeners Fayre in Eastleigh was well attended this afternoon (3rd June).
Organised by the Rotary Club of Southampton and held at the University Sports Grounds in Wide Lane Eastleigh, the annual event continued as usual this year with a good selection of stalls and musical entertainment provided by the Michelmersh Silver Band.
Several stall holders said to Eastleigh News that they were uncertain how successful the event would be this year, becasue of the clash with the Diamond Jubilee, but they had been pleasantly surprised by the turnout and the business that they had done.
The organisers had thought of everything, even catering for disabled people by arranging for buggies from the Eastleigh Shopmobility scheme to be available at the entrances to the Fayre. Despite the event being held in a field, the buggies were well able to cope on the terrain and allowed this lady (with limited mobility) to enjoy the whole show rather than just a small corner of it.
Besides Eastleigh Shopmobility, Eastleigh Borough Council’s Countryside service were also at the event, promoting their services and inviting people to make a Diamond Jubilee Dragonfly.
Also present were the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a Southampton-based charity formed on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee, which enables people of all physical abilities to integrate and sail the Trusts tall ships, Tenacious and Lord Nelson. Since the trust was formed, more than 1400 disabled people have been to sea on one of those ships, including 5000 who are wheelchair users.
Eagle-eyed viewers not at the Solent Gardeners Fayre this afternoon might have noticed that Tenacious was moored on the River Thames today, just upstream from Tower Bridge. It was an impressive sight towering above all the pagentry.
Eastleigh resident John Davison was manning the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s stall this afternoon, generally promoting the work of the Trust, selling some fabulous Roses named Tenacious to raise money and also promoting the Autumn Pumpkin Festival to be held at the Royal Victoria Park on 13th October.
Whilst chatting to Eastleigh News, John revealed that he was still excited from the events of a couple days previously, when he was lucky enough to be at the helm of Tenacious as it sailed through Tower Bridge to take up its position on the Thames. Said John;
It was a marvellous experience, but an anxious moment too. I just took the directions from the Skipper and and made sure the ships wheel was pointing in the right direction…
Although the visitors to the Solent Garden Fayre might have ventured out this afternoon to escape the Diamond Jubilee, the special occasion was still there in the background, waiting to be discovered…