Chariots of Fire, whose theme music has echoed round the Olympic events, is surely a film about people fulfilling their potential, becoming complete human beings, the complete human being that only they can be.
What has this to do with flowers? Possibly flowers themselves attain the very heights of the plant kingdom. What is abundantly true is that Flower Clubs from Grimsby to Stamford and further afield, who have worked so creatively to produce what will come together as the 2012 Lincoln Cathedral Flower Festival, have pushed their creativity to new bounds. This is no village flower show, important community events though they are.
Start with the theme, ‘Dreams of Glory’, and the Chariots of Fire tune starts to ring in my ears. Dig deeper into the festival programme and you see it described as ‘a piece of theatre, with no rehearsal time’. The starting point though is the building itself with its truly ground breaking architecture. Each day I find my breath taken away by the soaring gothic, how much more so the crowds in June 1215 who welcomed Hugh of Wells on his journey back from Runnymede, Magna Carta in hand. The Magna Carta celebrations are three years off; this year it is the Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics.
‘To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield’: these words of Lincolnshire poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson, were chosen to be carved into the stone of the 2012 Olympic stadium and inspire our theme. I feel sure, though, that the first sensation on entering the festival with be the scent of thousands of blooms.
Olympic colours will be everywhere, so too echoes from the origin of the games in ancient Greece. I remember a bus journey through those mountains from where the gods were said to watch mankind. In the Cathedral we will have an image of earth, one of the five elements of Ancient Greece. We will have Greek vases, in flowers, the Battle of Marathon. Centre stage will be four life-size paper sculptures of horses and a chariot by renowned paper sculptor, Richard Sweeney.
At the Athens Olympics in 1896, the Olympics were re-born after a gap of 1,502 years. There are exhibits telling something of what had happened in the intervening years: The Cotswold Olimpicks, the Wenlock Games and the founder of the Modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin.
London 2012 is the thirtieth games of the modern era, exhibits tell the stories of the other twenty nine.
There is a focus on the Olympic ideal, but then the sports themselves: Athletics, Cycling, Swimming and Diving and so much more. There are one or two surprises off theme, but sure to delight.
The Festival runs from Thursday 16th to Monday 20th August with a Preview Evening on Wednesday 15th and a Musical Meander on the evening of Friday 17th. For more information call the Cathedral shop on 01522 561644, email:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.lincolncathedral.com