Artist captures Flitch on canvas

PUBLISHED: 13:03 03 July 2008 | UPDATED: 07:01 30 May 2010

Neil Gardner

Neil Gardner

PEOPLE as far away as Cambridge are contributing their own little bit of history and nostalgia for this year s Flitch Trials on July 12. Neil Gardner, artist and teacher at St Bedes Inter-church Comprehensive School, has done a watercolour painting for th

PEOPLE as far away as Cambridge are contributing their own little bit of history and nostalgia for this year's Flitch Trials on July 12.

Neil Gardner, artist and teacher at St Bedes Inter-church Comprehensive School, has done a watercolour painting for this year's main event, but will only be releasing 250 copies of the work to make a limited edition which he hopes will be worth a substantial amount in the future.

He said: "I heard about the flitch after moving to Dunmow very recently and picking up the Broadcast, so I decided to paint the Starr restaurant as the flitch bearers carry the side of bacon, from Parsonage Downs up past the front of the restaurant."

The picture will be sold on the day from a small stall set up by Mr Gardener, and prints will be available on a first come first served basis.

"They will be of the highest quality and designed to not fade within the next 100 years, I have spoken to the Dunmow Museum staff and they have agreed to have one there as a permanent reminder of this year's event."

The watercolour painting is very striking and with only a limited amount available is sure to be a real collectors item in the not too distant future.

Mr Gardner has been painting since he was nine years old, and now at the age of 48 has found time to commission paintings for free and almost give them away because of the joy it brings to those who see them.

"I hope people come and visit me at the stall on the Saturday and get one of the prints, or just come to talk about what actually goes into a painting of this type."

Do you have a picture of the flitch? We would love you to snap it so we can put up a gallery at www.dunmowbroadcast24.co.uk

l The flitch is a competition for couples who have to prove they have been in complete love for a year and a day, with no arguments. There is a court proceeding where they go on trial and the jury has to make a decision on whether or not any couple is worthy of the prize.

They win a whole side of bacon, although the jury can decide not to award it. If the prize is awarded, the winning couple is paraded through the town on a high chair to take a flitch oath in the market place.

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