Report on St Andrew’s Church Fete - Monday 26th August 2019

We were extraordinarily lucky, given the mixed weather of the preceding weeks, that the run up to the Fete was increasingly sunny. The set-up from the Thursday to the Saturday beforehand was completed without a drop of rain. At 8.00 am on the Bank Holiday Monday a mist hung over the Chase; it looked so beautiful. That soon cleared and the sun shone as the helpers’ cars poured onto Stoney Hills Field.

All was ready by 12 o’clock for the village team photograph around the flagpole. There was just time to eat a burger and grab a coffee. At 1.00 pm we had a fly past of five aircraft from Compton Abbas airfield, the Bell Street Jazz Band struck up and the large queue of visitors that had been building up since soon after 12 o’clock sped towards their favourite attractions.

The villagers had excelled themselves. The food stalls were groaning with good things – cakes, biscuits, preserves and chutneys. The ever-popular Bric a Brac, Clothes & Shoes, Toys & Games, Plants, Books and Picture stalls did a roaring trade.

The catering area had queues throughout the Fete. The BBQ, selling Buttlings delicious burgers and hotdogs, sold out as did the Tea Tent in spite of a huge supply of homemade cakes, cream teas and savouries. The Beer Tent was even more popular than usual given the temperature, selling two Ringwood beers, Donhead Apple cider and Cobra Beer. The Soft Drinks Stall did very well too.

The usual amusements were kept very busy. The Bottle Tombola did a brisk trade as did the energetic team of young Raffle Ticket sellers. The Silent Auction had some fabulous lots and the Live Auction of four lots of logs, donated by the Jeffery Family, was as popular as usual.

This year, the Classic Car and Bike Show had more vehicles than ever before. The Dog Show, watched by a large crowd, concluded the afternoon with much hilarity.

We raised about £18,000 in total which meant that, after deducting expenses, there was about £15,000 to be distributed. This year the Church Fete is supporting Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Semley School’s project for a new sports surface, Tisbus and the Happy Gathering Club in addition to the work and mission of St Andrew’s Church.

Our particular thanks to the Jeffery Family for allowing us to use Stoney Hills Field once again. It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful or suitable spot for a fete.

The Fete Committee has so many people and companies to thank for their support.

Village sponsors: David and Jenny Hammersley, Tim and Linda Reeve, Michael Jodrell, John and Sarah Reynolds, Michael and Vashti Noel-Clarke, Peter and Elizabeth Dawson, Robert and Rebecca Johnston, Dame Natalie Massenet and Michael and Elizabeth Hockney.
Commercial Sponsors: Natural Woodflooring, Natural High Safaris, Sans Farm Kennels, Proctor Watts Cole Rutter, Compton Smith, Ludwell Village Stores, Richmond Bell, Shean & Hare, David Peacock, Buttlings, Farnfields, Andrews & Palmer, Wren Classics, Hawes Arborists, The Great Big Tree Climbing Company, Rob Beale, Carol Buttling, Middle England Estates, Walton House Antiques, Ringwood Brewery, Donhead Apple Cider and Rural View.

Donors of prizes: Ringwood Brewery, Shaftesbury Co-operative Funeral Care, Hall & Woodhouse, Ted Martin Flowers, Graham Waterton, the Jeffery Family, Rising Sun Coffee Tavern, Gerald and Danuta Tagg, Grove Arms, Michael and Elizabeth Hockney.

Valley News and The Blackmore Vale Magazine gave the Fete excellent editorial coverage.

The Committee’s final thanks is to the members of the village community who put in so much effort and contributed so much to make the St Andrew’s Church Fete such a happy community occasion.

The Church Patronal Festival – Sunday 25th August 2019

Because St Andrew’s Church was closed, the service took place once again in one of the big marquees on the Fete field. The celebrant was the Rector and the Assistant Curate, Kevin Martin, preached. An electronic keyboard was used, hooked up to the generator supplied for the Fete.

From next year onwards, we will be back in St Andrew’s Church for this important service.