PREPARATIONS for an ambitious calendar of events in Malmesbury are underway. 

Talks from famous historians, an excavation and a dramatic live re-enactment are just a few events planned to take place in Malmesbury this summer to celebrate 1100 years since Athelstan became the first King of England. 

Malmesbury has a rich history with the first King of England who chose to be buried at the town's treasured abbey. 

The jam-packed month of activities - which starts on Friday, June 28 - has been organised by a team of enthusiast volunteers from various organisations such as Athelstan Museum, Malmesbury Town Council and Malmesbury Town Team.

Fifty Athelstan 1100 banners will be unfurled across the town centre by the end of May in the run up to the event. 

These banners will include designs created by young pupils, care home residents, local artists and residents. 

Meanwhile, around 60 local organisations and business owners have embraced the celebrations by signing up to the ‘By Appointment of King Athelstan’ scheme.

Visitors can expect to see Athelstan 1100 themed products such as printed fabric, tea towels, mugs, fudge and T-shirts in shops across the town.

Helen Chapman from Fabric Shack on Malmesbury High Street has created some special merchandise with Athelstan 1100 branding.

She said: "It was natural for us to take the logo and print it on to a fabric which can be used by our customers to create whatever they like – from clothing, to cushion covers, tea towels to curtains!”

Town councillor and Malmesbury Town Team chair Campbell Ritchie, who is at the helm of the Athelstan 1100 event programme, is delighted that so many businesses have rallied together to support the project.

Cllr Ritchie said: “We’re overwhelmed by the support of local businesses to date - they have embraced this opportunity to celebrate the history of Malmesbury and to be part of Athelstan 1100  and we are confident even more businesses will join us over the coming weeks.

"We’d like to thank them all for their commitment to this exciting project and to helping make so many brilliant events happen for the benefit of all of us.”

Many of the events are free and tickets for paid for events are already on sale with a 10 per cent discount until Sunday, May 19.  

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