Buxton’s Well Dressing Festival gets underway - PICTURES & VIDEO

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The 176th Buxton Well Dressing Festival launched on Sunday with the annual blessing of the wells and the crowning of the 2016 royalty.

Members of the clergy, ministers and dignitaries gathered at St Anne’s Church for a short service, before a civic procession, led by Fairfield Band, paraded through the town, with each of the three wells being blessed in turn.

Well Dressing, 2016 royalty, Queen Paige Farlam, Rosebud Evie Howe, Senior Attendants, Rihanna-Maia Lomas and& Alexandra Farlam, Junior Attendants Ellie-Grace Mellor, Marianna Mosley, Layla Green and Daisy Long

Well Dressing, 2016 royalty, Queen Paige Farlam, Rosebud Evie Howe, Senior Attendants, Rihanna-Maia Lomas and& Alexandra Farlam, Junior Attendants Ellie-Grace Mellor, Marianna Mosley, Layla Green and Daisy Long

They were joined, on their last official engagement, by the retiring 2015 festival royalty - queen Lilly-Anne Owen, rosebud Bessie Morris, pageboys William Austin and Joshua Owen, and attendants Poppy Fleur Blackley, Chloe Howe and Phoebe Sherwin.

A team of skilled volunteers worked tirelessly at St John’s Church over three days to prepare the intricate floral displays for their summer showcase.

The Market Place Well this year depicts Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, marking 100 years since the birth of the great storyteller Roald Dahl.

In honour of 2016 being the ‘Year of the English Garden, the St Ann’s Well in the Crescent features a beautiful floral design including many favourite English garden flowers.

Well Dressing, Rev John Hudghton blesses the Childrens Well

Well Dressing, Rev John Hudghton blesses the Childrens Well

The Taylor Well at the top of Spring Gardens - also known as the Children’s Well - has again been designed by Buxton Community School pupils.

Following the ‘blessing’ services, the civic party gathered for the crowning of Buxton’s 2016 festival queen Paige Victoria Farlam and rosebud Evie Howe at St John’s Church by guest of honour, Netta Christie.

Senior attendants Rihanna-Maia Lomas and Alexandra Elizabeth Farlam, and junior attendants Ellie-Grace Mellor, Marianna Mosley, Layla Green and Daisy Long, make up the new retinue.

Their first official engagement was to host the Queen’s Reception, attended by High Peak Deputy Mayor Matthew Stone and members of the well dressing festival committee.

Well Dressing, 2016 queen Paige Farlam

Well Dressing, 2016 queen Paige Farlam

A busy programme for the newly-appointed royalty continues throughout next week, including a tour of the town’s hospitals, nursing homes and sheltered accommodation, and the official opening of the Market Place funfair on Wednesday at 5pm.

They will also take pride of place in a bumper Carnival Day procession on Saturday, July 9, which will get underway at 2pm from outside Buxton Railway Station.

The parade route itself will head down Station Road and then Spring Gardens, The Quadrant, St John’s Road, Burlington Road, West Road, High Street, Market Place and Terrace Road.

Other Carnival Day highlights will include a flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, scheduled at around 2.30pm (although timing is subject to change).

Well Dressing, retiring queen Lilly-Anne Owen and her retinue at the service at St Anns Well

Well Dressing, retiring queen Lilly-Anne Owen and her retinue at the service at St Anns Well

There will be a range of promenade entertainment in and around the Pavilion Gardens throughout the afternoon, including live music, the Parade of Queens at 4pm and the Buxton Lions duck race at 4.15pm.

Local bands Long in the Tooth, Illegal Regals, GrooveCake and Radio Memphis will also take to the stage for a free concert from 4.30pm.

The festival draws to a close the following day, Sunday July 10, with the annual football competition at the Silverlands from noon, and a church service at St Anne’s Church. Sunday is also the final day of the festival funfair.

For full listings, visit www.buxtonwelldressing.co.uk.

Well Dressing, the service at the Higher Buxton Well

Well Dressing, the service at the Higher Buxton Well

Well Dressing, Rev John Hudghton

Well Dressing, Rev John Hudghton

Well Dressing, The Childrens Well

Well Dressing, The Childrens Well

Well Dressing, St Ann's Well

Well Dressing, St Ann's Well

Well Dressing, the Market Place Well is based on the centenary of Roald Dahl

Well Dressing, the Market Place Well is based on the centenary of Roald Dahl