One of the highlights of the Shepton calendar is nearly upon us; the annual Snowdrop Festival, celebrating the life of James Allen, the pre-eminent Snowdrop galanthophile. Sadly, due to the pandemic, the Shepton Mallet Snowdrop Festival won’t go ahead as usual this year. Nevertheless, as we face another long period of lockdown the organisers think it’s more important than ever to celebrate the Snowdrop. Their theme – ‘Hope in Nature’ – couldn’t be more relevant today. Being in the fresh air amidst trees, plants and nature is well known to help combat loneliness and depression and build a greater sense of wellbeing. The early green shoots and delicate flowers of the Snowdrop signal the start of a new year, the promise of spring, and fresh hope for brighter, healthier times ahead. I’ve already seen quite a few peeping through; from the mulchy bank between Tesco and Haskins to Forum Lane and the lanes around Bowlish.
Last year, many people across the country put rainbows in their windows to show their support for the NHS. Snowdrop Festival organisers are asking children, adults, families and businesses to do the same with the Snowdrop to bring people together and help build a sense of optimism and hope for the coming year. Their challenge to the people of Shepton is to celebrate the Snowdrop by creating their own displays, real or handmade, by penning a poem or writing a story. The organisers want people to show their snowdrops and poems where others can see them, in windows, gardens or community spaces, and online. As parents cope with the challenges of children at home and home schooling these are perfect activities to give a sense of purpose and keep them occupied. Festival organisers are asking everyone to spread the word on social media and via word of mouth to encourage friends and family to take part: “Help us to flood the town with snowdrops. Over the years we’ve worked with volunteers to plant tens of thousands of bulbs. We’d love to make 2021 a record year with snowdrops everywhere in the town, real or hand-made. We’ll publish poems and stories on social media – we hope others will too – and add a few to our website, and the snowdrops people create and show will make our Snowdrop Trail the best ever.”
The Snowdrop Festival website has more details and ideas about how to take up the challenge. Simply go to www.sheptonsnowdropfestival.org.uk
The Town Council is proud to support the festival with a long-term funding agreement.
Matt Harrison, Chairperson
Shepton Mallet Town Council