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The well dressing team at Whitwell were invited to showcase their talents at the Royal Horticultural Society show in Chatsworth this year. The team, made up of members of the 1st Whitwell Scout and Guide Group, exhibited at the show.

The theme they were given was ‘There’s no place like home’ and the team got to work straight away to produce a design that reflects the villages’ position on the borders of three counties. Artist Darren Ellis )left) and Designer Josef Dawes proudly showing off the Well Dressing

The design for the frame was created by Scout leader Darren Ellis from an original piece of artwork by local craftsman, and former Scout, Josef Dawes. It incorporates symbolism from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

Hilary Ellis, chair of Whitwell well dressing committee and Guide leader, said: “This is a great opportunity for Whitwell to showcase something we are very proud of to a very large audience. We hope to make an impression and encourage people to visit the village for the annual well dressing celebrations in July.”

1st Whitwell Scouts and Guides have been organising Whitwell Well Dressing since 1972 and the designs have always proved popular locally. This is the first time the well dressing have displayed outside the village. The team have been given a budget to design and build a new frame as well as sourcing materials for creating the design.

The team have been encouraging locals to donate certain materials they will need a lot of, including melon seeds which has resulted in a lot of villagers eating large quantities of the fruit! Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s cafe collected all the seeds from their melons to donate to the cause.

In the end an estimated 20,000 melon seeds, 12,000 hydrangea petals, 2kg of coffee beans and 1,000 pumpkin seeds were individually placed; amounting to over 600 hours of work finishing after midnight on the final day of creation.
The RHS Chatsworth show is open to the public from Thursday 7 to Sunday 10 June.

The well dressing has received an overwhelming response, volunteers have been unable to keep up with the questions and comments.

Magic Magid, Lord Mayor of Sheffield spent time discussing the display with volunteers and later tweeted that it was “amazing work”.

Sue Biggs, Director General of The RHS said “we just have to have well dressings at Chatsworth” She spent time discussing the display with volunteers.

Chris Dolby, Scout District Commissioner said “I am very impressed with the work”

Josef Dawes, artist whose design was the basis of the display “I was rather overwhelmed with the project. The time, patience and talent that has gone into it is amazing and I'm very humbled to have my base design as the influence. I am warm and humbled."

Darren Ellis, Designer of the display “It's very surreal to say I have designed a piece displayed at The RHS Flower Show Chatsworth. Rather overwhelmed by it all.”

Visitors have describing it as “best exhibit in the show”, “stunning” “the highlight of the show”, “beautiful”,

Our volunteers have been interviewed on BBC Radio Sheffield and BBC Radio Derby.

The image of the display has reached over 10,000 people on Facebook and shared across twitter also. Social media comments include: “Wow! Once again you've done Whitwell proud!”, “we get a lot of them around here but Whitwell kind of sets the bench mark.”

Whitwell Well dressing has been organised by 1st Whitwell Scouts and Guides since 1972 and a fundraising event. It has grown into a community event and many people are involved who otherwise have little connection to the Scout and Guide Group. It is a movement of which the residents of Whitwell can feel real pride in and this is a recognition of their achievement outside of their home village. Many young people are involved in the creation of the displays each year and this achievement will be an inspiration to the young people of Whitwell to pursue ambitions and their creativity.

The annual Whitwell well dressing will be on display from Saturday 7 July. This year's displays will be commemorating the centenary of the end of World War 1 and the suffragette movement. Everyone is encouraged to take part or visit the making of our annual displays at Whitwell Scout and Guide headquarters every evening from Monday 2 July.

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