he 2014 Romsey Festival will be spreading its wings, with a number of events being held in the surrounding area.

The massed ranks of the Michelmersh Silver Band will be giving an outdoor concert in the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens on Sunday, July 6. In complete contrast Pocket Theatre, featuring the well-known local thespian couple David Tatnell and Annie Masters, will provide suitable entertainment the following Saturday ( July 12) in the confines of St Winfred’s Church, East Dean.

Over the whole of that weekend (July 12-13), the same St Winfred’swill also be decorated for the East Dean Festival of Flowers.

Over the same weekend, the Lockerley & East Tytherley Bell Ringers will hold open days at St John’s Church, Lockerley, with displays of ringing and a chance for visitors to have a go at hand ringing.

Music will continue on Monday, July 14, with Peter Gilks giving a recital of keyboard music, focusing on JS Bach, in Ampfield Church.

Then on Saturday, July 19, the Romsey Ladies Choir will grace All Saints Church, North Baddesley, for a concert of easy listening music.

Meanwhile arts and crafts will feature in several exhibitions in nearby villages. On July 11-12 there will be an exhibition of creative arts and crafts in All Saints Church, North Baddesley.

Overlapping with that on Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13, is an exhibition of arts and crafts by local craftsmen and women in The Tudor House, in East Dean.

Towards the end of the festival, on July 18-19, the residents of Chilworth will be holding an exhibition about their village, its characters, and in particular Richard Cockle Lucas and his eccentric residences in the village, and the history of the Fleming family, in Chilworth Manor.

Throughout the festival, the regular and special exhibitions at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Mottisfont Abbey will continue, and finally, from Wednesday, July 16 onwards, and continuing beyond the end of the festival, Maskers Theatre will be performing an outdoor version of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance Of Being Earnest at Hamptworth Lodge.

Festival chairman, Dick Hewett, said: “It’s great to see some of the surrounding villages taking an active part in the festival, which is being held to celebrate the talents of people in the whole area, not just the town of Romsey. We hope the public will enthusiastically support all the festival events, wherever they are being held.”

Many of these events have free entry, with donations welcomed, whilst tickets for those with an entrance fee are available through the festival website, romseyfestival.org.