The traditional Church Fete on the Village Green has been a family favourite for many years.
This year the Fete took place on Sunday 2nd July.
Fête Report Sunday 2nd July 2017
The weather was fine and hot (very) Lord Ashley kindly opened the fete, with great aplomb, at midday. He was ably assisted by his mother, Lady Shaftesbury.
This was the first time in 30 years that the fête, or its predecessor, The Open Days, was not held on the August Bank Holiday Sunday. The July date was chosen so that the date fell within the school (WSG C of E, VA, First School and Nursery) term with the object of including the school, both children and parents, in the fete activities. This did mean that we were not in the main holiday period which probably cost us some of our faithful visitors holidaying in the area.
We had entertainment from the Forest Dog Agility team, the Stour Valley Stompers Jazz Band and, for the first time, we had a contribution from the school pupils who gave us as a demonstration of Country Dancing. This was greatly enjoyed by everyone.
Splat The Rat, which hadn’t been with us for some time, was back again thanks to Nigel Barnes making a terrific new tube and run and Averil Cubitt making two new rats which look very life-like, with particularly great tails and whiskers.
We weren’t quite sure whether we would get the same number of visitors as usual, due to the date change, but thanks to Penny Russell’s good work with additional advertising, including an interview on Forest FM and multiple adverts in The Echo, and over 800 fliers going out, we sold 650 programmes. It was noticeable that our visitors seemed to include a larger number who haven’t yet reached retirement age. Taking shared programmes and those qualifying for free entry into consideration, this means that we probably had something in the region of 700 visitors.
Although the number of visitors might have been a little lower than in the past, the overall takings were up which represents a really great achievement from everybody.
The public fête ended with the Duck Race at about 4.45 but the clear-up continued for several hours and was still going on when fish and chips arrived at 6.45. Particular thanks go to those who helped in the clearing up and those who helped with the setting up on Saturday 1st July (pretty much the same people!).
The total raised for the church was close to £7,000 which will make a great contribution to the building upkeep and maintenance and to the St Giles’ share of the Rector’s employment package for which, as you all know, we receive no funding other than the amounts we raise ourselves from teas, the fête, the flower festival, covenanted giving and amounts reaching the collection plate on Sundays.
Although we cannot count teas on August Bank Holiday Sunday towards the fête takings, we confidently expect that quite a few of our regular fete visitors, who live outside The Echo’s distribution area and, perhaps, don’t tune in to Forest FM all that regularly, will arrive expecting the fête to be in full swing and will, we hope, retire to the Village Hall to consume vast amounts of cake and sandwiches.
The Rector, the Churchwardens and the Parochial Church Council would like to thank all the helpers, not only those who helped on the stands but also those who were marooned in the car park, were besieged by visitors on the gates or who helped with the back-breaking work of getting the stands up and taking them down again. We would also like to thank the many people who made cakes, gave prizes for the tombolas and helped with the overall organisation.