Well, Well!

This is the story of how two women from different parts of the country with no previous friendship, came together to carry on a treasured tradition and create eye-catching Wells for Milford Baptist Church.

When they started out they had no guidance as to what should or shouldn’t be done so they put their creative skills together and experimented.   They've only been together as a team for two years and as a result of their dedication and artistry have, for this special 40th Anniversary produced, another delightful piece of art.

Pat Bright

Born and brought up in Linton, a small village near Ross on Wye, Pat’s parents were very involved in the local church. The family have great pride in Pat's father who was given the distinction of being presented with Maundy Money by the Queen for services to the church.

Pat and her sister were put onto the Sunday flower rota as soon as they were old enough. They gained a lot of experience and, after a while, the confidence to contribute to flower festivals. These events grew to be a deep love for Pat whose displays always received lovely comments from visitors.

For all her skill and experience in flower arranging she says, “It wasn’t until I moved to Derbyshire four years ago that I first saw a well-dressing.  I was intrigued and wanted to know how they were put together."

Her questions were answered when she represented MBC at a meeting of Milford and Makeney Well-Dressers. It was then she accepted the challenge to do one for the church.

Pat and her friend, Val, got together and make an expert team. Although they've only been together for a short time they  have produced two beautiful works of ‘WellArt’ and we hope many more to come.

Val Lloyd

Val was born and brought up in a small village in Wales. She always thought that well dressing was wearing nice clothes you bought from a shop!  That was until, after she got married and arrived in Derbyshire.

Being new to the area Val, with her husband John, went out exploring the countryside and discovered Derbyshire well-dressings. They were immediately won over with their beauty and importance in carrying on a tradition that has been around for centuries.

Many years later when the well-dressing tradition at Belper River Gardens was revived, Val volunteered her help.  The Well-Dressers gave her a warm welcome and being new to the art she followed her instructions purely as a helper. But she watched experts at work and became, over time, an accomplished well-dresser herself. 

The group folded due to the ill-health of its organiser and Val's well-dressing skills were put on hold. But nthey were not to be lost for ever as Val goes on to explain:
“John was taken ill in April 2016 which involved a six day hospital stay. Our friend, Gordon, who like John sang in the Dalesmen Male Voice Choir, mentioned that his wife Pat had been charged with making the well-dressing for Milford Baptist Church and was rather worried about it as she knew very little about them. My husband immediately said “Oh, Val used to do well-dressing!”  - and that’s how the beautiful art of well-dressing and me came together again.”

Although they've only been together for a short time below are the two two beautiful works of ‘WellArt’ so far and we hope there will be many more to come.

MBC 2017 Well

MBC 2016 Well

Going further back to 2003 here are some of the wells that have been created by the churches in Milford.

Pictures courtesy of Glynn Williams