WEEKLY column of Fairford and Lechlade news by Chris Roberts MBE. 

1. Celebration of art in beautiful English garden

The biennial Fresh Air Sculpture Show is back in 2024 from Sunday June 16 to Sunday July 7 from 10am-5pm daily and will be the sixteenth sculpture exhibition held in the beautiful Cotswold riverside gardens of Quenington Old Rectory, near Fairford GL7 5BN.

The exhibition will feature the work of over 100 artists working in a variety of materials including glass, steel, ceramics, stone, wood, recycled materials and textiles.

Alongside the outdoor sculptures, ‘Colours of the Garden’ will be showing in the Pool House Gallery.

The show also offers a fully funded education programme providing schools and community groups with guided tours of art and sculpture along with bespoke workshops run by both exhibiting sculptors and a team of local artists.

Also featuring children’s weekend workshops at Quenington Village Hall, GL7 5BS and a plaster workshop in the grounds of Fresh Air Sculpture.

Plus adults’ weekend workshops run by Esme Walker, lime plasterer and pargetter – both workshops thanks to the King’s Foundation Charity. Booking and more information about the workshops at: www.freshairsculpture.com/plan-your-visit.

Tickets cost £10 for adults and free for children available online at: www.freshairsculpture.com. Catalogues cost £5 each.

Young people aged between 12-19, who have been learning employability skills with The Ernest Cook Trust, will once again be exhibiting alongside Quenington’s biennial Fresh Air Sculpture. Their creations – largely made from reclaimed materials – are taking on a wildlife theme.

Around 25 young people from schools in Fairford, Cirencester and Witney have been spending time at the Trust’s Student Workshop in Fairford, creating these ambitious sculptures.

The students’ pieces will be on show in St Swithin’s Churchyard, Quenington next to the entrance to Fresh Air Sculpture, and their collection will represent a wildlife park. The majority of the exhibits are being shown for the first time and will include an array of insect and bug homes; owl and bat boxes; and bird feeding stations.

A section of the show will be dedicated to animals, and features a life-sized gorilla made from roofing battens and ivy, as well as a tiger, a lion and a giant seahorse! The giant metal seahorse was created by two students who have now left education and went on to get placements at a blacksmith business, following a week-long blacksmithing training course run in partnership with Fresh Air last year.

2. School reunion event today at Farmor's 

It’s almost 25 years since the GCSE Class of 1999 took their exams, so there’s going to be a Farmor’s School Reunion on Saturday June 15 from 3pm onwards to mark the event.

Whether your tutor was Mr Martin, Ms Aldous, Miss Hatton or any other teacher that you’re too old to remember, this is a great opportunity for a catch up.

The Reunion will take place at the Red Lion pub, Castle Eaton SN6 6JZ with the outdoor area reserved, an outside bar and pizza oven. No deposit required, just pay for what you eat and drink on the day. Please RSVP in order to get an idea of numbers by typing this link into your browser: bit.ly/farmors-reunion. For more information, please contact Louise Nash on 07803 417220 or Aidan Winney on 07880 208682.

Don’t forget to bring along any funny photos you may have from Activities Week, geography field trips or village hall parties.

3. Art classes designed to inspire and nurture young artists 

Arty Moose Art Classes are designed to inspire and nurture young artists.

Your child will explore their creativity through a variety of art projects, develop new skills, build self-confidence and make new friends.

For ages 5-11 years. Taking place on Mondays from 4pm-5.30pm at Fairford Community Centre, Fairford GL7 4AF. For more information or to book online, go to www.artymoose.com.

4. Next Fairford History Society meeting 

The next Fairford History Society meeting is on Thursday June 20 at 7.30pm in Fairford Community Centre when Fairford History Society will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The meeting will be a short AGM followed by a social event with FHS displays on the highlights of the last 20 years. FHS membership remains at £5 per year.

Visitors are welcome at £3. New members will be made welcome. For more information, contact Alison on 01285 711768 or email enquiry@fairfordhistory.org.uk or visit www.fairfordhistory.org.uk.

5. Two beautiful gardens not to be missed

Here are two beautiful gardens not to be missed in the Open Garden events in 2024. Bibury Open Gardens on Friday June 14 and Langford Downs Open Gardens, part of the National Gardens Scheme, on Sunday June 23. Both are open from 2pm-6pm, £7 entry and hot drinks with delicious homemade cakes will be available.

For more information, contact Agneta: 01285 707300, admin@friendsoffairford.org.uk.

6. Big summer sale 

The Big Summer Sale to support Project Inspire is on Saturday June 15 in St Lawrence’s Church, Lechlade when a large selection of books and plants will be on sale plus cakes. (All donations gratefully received).

The event starts at 10am and is due to end at 5pm with a pop-up café in the Church, Lechlade from 2pm-5pm.

All proceeds will go towards Project Inspire which is restoring and re-ordering the church for future generations.

St Lawrence’s Church, Lechlade This Spring and Summer, the Lions and Friends of the Lions are again putting their bodies on the line to raise money for local good causes.

A sponsored bike ride will take place on Saturday June 15 covering over 100 miles in a day – from Lechlade to the Malvern Hills and back.

7. Next Lechlade WI meeting 

The next meeting of Lechlade WI will be an Evening Get-together on Tuesday June 18 at 7pm at The Trout, Lechlade.