The 2019 Village Hall Fete – an act of faith which paid off
Due to the dire weather forecasts for Saturday 8 June, many local events were cancelled. However, as one later forecast indicated that the weather would gradually improve on Saturday, we in Nether Heyford decided not to cancel – especially as, even in the rain, our village green looked splendid, having been ‘litter-picked’ by the pupils of Bliss School, and given a last-minute mowing by Daniel, an ‘old boy’ of the school. We were so grateful for the encouragement they gave us to go ahead.
However, early Saturday morning as we were setting up in high winds and with heavy rain soaking us, we wondered if we were mad. But we all persevered, and by lunchtime, the rain slowly stopped, although the wind still made life interesting for the stalls with gazebos. Adaptability became our motto as we coped with some necessary adjustments: because of the wind, the bouncy castle and the gymnastics display had to cancel; the wind band moved into the village hall to perform, and one or two stalls weren’t able to come. A few of those who did come, moved into the Baptist school room and the village hall foyer.
After a slightly later start, we were ready. Our Rose Queen (Lily Davies) and King (Adam Gilkes) and their Attendants (Beth Manning and Chloe-Lea Holmes) arrived in state on our Land Train accompanied by their classmates, and opened the Fete in style.
Then, at last, the Fete came to life as people came along to support us. We started with maypole dancing and country dancing in the arena by the young people of Bliss School. Queues built up for the barbecue, beer tent, face-painting and the land train, which trundled around the village green for the whole afternoon, fully laden each time. The raffle tickets sold out. There were even queues for the ice cream van. The refreshments in the village hall did a roaring trade – and the performances by the Bliss School choir and the NMPAT wind band were greatly appreciated. The stalls were busy and the classic cars, tractors, mopeds and motorcycles all received their share of attention. Our final arena attraction – the tug of war- proved highly popular with contestants of all ages taking part, and this was followed by the raffle draw with £100 as first prize and many other prizes. Although this brought our Fete to its conclusion, the entertainment continued with Morris Dancing outside the Foresters Arms.
At this stage we are still receiving proceeds from the various activities so cannot forecast our final outcome. However, we were fortunate in receiving several generous donations: Heyford Picturedrome, Macflex, MN&TL Adams Heyford Marine, Alderman Roofing, Unusual Rigging Ltd and Heygates. The passengers on our Road Train, while technically free to ride, made many voluntary donations. We are also grateful to those who donated raffle prizes, including our village shops, and cakes. The Foresters Arms also gave us invaluable support. In addition, most of our expenses were covered by individual sponsors, and services such as the sound system, power cables and rubbish skip were provided free of charge.
So, despite our ‘typical English summer weather’ – we held our Fete, thanks to all the hard work done by so many volunteers – too many to name here – but we and they know who they are.
Finally, for all the help described above, plus our stall-holders and everyone who came and supported us, we offer our heartfelt thanks. We hope that you enjoyed this year’s Village Hall Fete as much as we did.
The Fete Committee