July 9, 2022 6.00 am

£10k council grant sets stage for heritage festival near Sleaford

The Georgian festival is looking at drawing more people in this year

A community history group covering 32 villages has been awarded £10,000 by South Kesteven District Council to help stage a heritage festival in Folkingham.

The Aveland History Group can now embark on ‘An Aveland Odyssey – Cruise through History Heritage Festivals’ five-year programme to celebrate and enhance the district’s rich heritage.

The first event is this year’s Georgian Festival in Folkingham on 17-18 September, followed by another in Threekingham in 2023 and a return to Folkingham in 2024 to celebrate the WW2 anniversary of the nearby airfield.

The programme then moves to Dyke in 2025 and Bourne in 2026.

Cllr Rosemary Trollope-Bellew, SKDC Cabinet member for Culture and Visitor Economy, said: “We want to work with local groups to help them create sustainable events. Supporting the history group is a welcome opportunity to help illustrate a remarkable ancient culture and heritage.

“Holding the festival in different locations will encourage a wider community of people to get involved, increasing recognition and driving up visitor numbers. We have as a council celebrated our Georgian heritage in Stamford and I am looking forward to the event in September.”

Last year the group organised a successful Medieval Festival in Folkingham, helped by a £2,000 grant from SKDC’s Community Fund.

The planned Georgian event in September includes entertainers, living history, market stalls, food and drink outlets, heritage crafters and subject matter lectures.

Chair of the Aveland History Group Ali Ray said: “We are delighted to have the backing and support of SKDC as we embark on this initial festival of our five-year plan.

“The funding enables us to make this year’s festival free entry and to provide an outstanding range of activities for the whole family to experience. It will draw people to our part of the county, so we invite everyone to come along and see what you can discover about life in the era of Bridgerton!”

Founded in February 2020 at an Open Day in Aslackby, the Aveland History Group is a community group with a passion for local history. It covers villages of the ancient Aveland Wapentake on either side of the A15 from Bourne in the south to Osbournby in the north.

Its programme seeks to bring history to life in engaging and often hands on fun activities, aiming to fire the imagination of young people, as well as breaking down any barriers of rural isolation affecting older neighbours.

The group runs talks on local aspects of history with spin off workshops and demonstrations of ancient skills still used today.

It has a wealth of history to draw on from the drainage of the Fens, the Viking battle of Threekingham, the Abbey at Sempringham, Knights Templar at Aslackby and the Iron Age at Dowsby.

The programme will link with county Heritage Open Days and Lincolnshire Heritage to drive up visitor numbers in this richly historic area.