Bluebell Walk 2022

The Bluebell Walk at Bates Green Farm, Arlington opened for a 5-week period between 13th April and 19th May, and Seaford Rotary were privileged to have the opportunity to provide the refreshments for two days ,Thursday and Friday 21st and 22nd April.


The Bluebell Walk at Bates Green Farm, Arlington opened this year for a 5-week period between 13th April and 19th May, and Seaford Rotary were again privileged to have the opportunity to provide the refreshments for two days ,Thursday and Friday 21st and 22nd April.

And so Seaford Rotarians took their places at the information kiosk, in the café and the gate booth to the annual blue carpet ready to welcome the visitors.

After two years of lockdown with the Covid restrictions it was a joy to see the visitors return to Arlington Bluebell Walk to see this year’s amazing display of both the delicate white wood anemones and the stunning bluebells.  This is the 49th year of the Arlington Bluebell Walk and it is did not disappoint.

On our two day slot providing the refreshments the sun shine shone and visitors arrived in good spirits with happy faces.  An estimated 1000 visitors were warmly welcomed on arrival by our friendly greeters and directed to the woods.  On approaching the woodlands the stunning vista of bluebells was spectacular, the bluebells being just perfect with their delicate scent drifting through the air.  Visitors could choose from a selection of walks from a short stroll to a longer walk including neighbouring fields and woodland.  Those visitors less able were able to enjoy the wheelchair route, or the more adventurous could hire mobility scooters provided by the farmer.

Once the walk was completed visitors were able to enjoy the delicious refreshments on offer.  Our catering team excelled this year with an amazing display of homemade cakes ranging from vegan, dairy free, gluten free and the more traditional Victoria Sandwich, Fruit, Chocolate, Coffee and Walnut, Carrot and Lemon Drizzle Cakes, but as usual the favourite still seems to be the Coffee and Walnut Sponge.  The supplies kept us going with over 40 large cakes used not to mention the daily freshly baked scones and rock cakes.  For those people wanting just a little treat  the shortbread and rocky road was just perfect.

Of course this amazing display could not happen without the sterling support and help of Rotary ladies baking these lovely cakes and savouries etc. for which we are very grateful.

Thanks go also to the emergency cake stand by team who delivered additional supplies on Thursday afternoon ready for Friday.

For a more substantial snack our kitchen preparation team produced delicious sandwiches assorted salads, jacket potatoes, soup of the day and Ploughman’s etc.

This year all our sandwiches were individually wrapped in cellophane bags as were our little treats to reduce the risks of cross contamination in the light of Covid.  Our scones were in colour coded bags which enabled the visitors to see at a glance the choices a available, plain, fruit or cheese.  Visitors could make their own selection, saving a bit of time especially when we were busy.

Every year the farmer congratulates us on our presentation and the high standard of food served.

We were grateful to the wives and volunteers who helped in the kitchen and servery, all under the guiding supervision of Honorary member Pippa Logan, whilst Mike Logan took charge of the cash register.  Keeping the café running smoothly had our table clearers and washer uppers kept busy with all the tables occupied for much of each day.  They were cheerful and made sterling efforts to ensure continuous supplies of clean crockery and cutlery especially at peak times.

In addition to the advertised Bluebell Walk the farmer was promoting the Bates Green Open Garden in memory of his late wife Carolyn with all proceeds going to the Eastbourne DGH Haematology Unit.

Staffing events like this is quite a major undertaking.  In total 66 duty slots had to be filled to enable the smooth running.  Thanks go to Rotary wives, friends etc. who undertook to cover nearly half of the shifts.  We are indebted for their help it would not be possible to undertake such an event without their support.

The visitors on the Friday included a team from BBC South East News.  They filmed an interview with  Rotarian Mike Logan who gave an informative description of the bluebells.  They also interviewed Rotarian President Mike Ogilvie.  The interviews were transmitted in the early evening news later that day at the end of the programme on BBC Regional News - South East Today.

The result of the two days was over £3,000 being added to the Rotary Charitable Trust account which will be put to good use for local charitable causes.

Finally, the farmer has been in touch thanking us once again for such a professional show, delicious food and maintaining his very high standards of cleanliness and hygiene and he looks forward to us returning next year to celebrate 50 years of the Bluebell Walk.


 

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