Illustration by Christine Fuller
No doubt weeks (if not months) of planning would have preceded the well-supported Great Ellingham Fete, held in the grounds of a farm in Hingham Road, on Saturday the 25th July, 1925.
The Eastern Daily Press reported on the event in the edition published on the following Monday. Attended by inhabitants from the nearby villages as well as villagers from Great and Little Ellingham, the occasion was very much a typical village fete.
Raising Funds for St James
Organised to raise funds for the restoration work to St James’s Church, the fete was opened by Lady Walsingham, who had been given a warm welcome by the Rector, the Reverend R M Boys.
The newspaper reported that St James’s Church had been closed for the majority of the previous year for ‘extensive restoration involving a sum of nearly £600.” A considerable amount of money had already been raised from other fetes and donations. However, the Rector and the Church Council aspired to restore the north porch, the screen and some of the windows. Parishioners from Great and Little Ellingham had together raised £300 for the repairs to the church roof, £200 for the renovation of the interior, and another £50 for exceptional needs. There was presently a deficit of £80.
Entertainment & Competitions
The fete included the usual stalls of produce, needlework and jumble, as well as ice-creams, sweets and minerals. A refreshment booth was manned by fifteen volunteer ladies, with the assistance of the Misses Rose and Florence Halls.
The winners in the decorated bicycle parade were Mr C Hall, Miss C Skitmore and Miss Alma Bilham.
The amusements included bowling for the pig, bowling for the ham, skittles, kicking a football and Aunt Sally, which was supervised by Ernest Beales. The fortune teller was Mrs A Lincoln, with the bran tub managed by the Misses Olive and A Dixon. No doubt, Joice Sadd and Bertha Scott did their best to encourage visitors to guess the weight of the cake!
Whilst various sporting events for both juveniles and adult took place during the day. A cricket match was played between Great Ellingham and New Buckenham, with the visiting team winning by 5 runs. A team of Great Ellingham girls were the victors (118 to 80) of a stoolball match against the Attleborough girls.
The newspaper reported that the concerts (which were held in the Barn), ‘were well patronised‘ with contributions from various ‘artists’ including the Reverend Boys, Mr R R Fordham and Frank Wigby. Joice Sadd, Dorothy Reynolds and Lily Fincham gave a rendition of “O Blessed Night”, with a group of children performing an amusing song in action “the Hat Shop”. These concerts were interspersed by wireless demonstrations ‘under the management of Mr H Walker.‘
The Rockland and Stow Bedon Band, with Bandmaster J Beales, played selections of music, and later played for the dancing.
With accompaniments by Miss M Boys and Miss Winnie Pearce, Masters Owen, Lewis, Richard and Jack Lebbell provided handbell ringing.
Of course, no village fete would be complete without the Baby Show. Said to be judged by Mrs Keeling from Attleborough, the prize winners for the 12-18 months were: Mrs Melton, Mrs Haslam and Mrs F Key, with the prizes for the over 18 months being awarded to Mrs Drewry, Mrs Page and Mrs Newby.
No doubt, a good time was had by all.
Source: Eastern Daily Press 27th July 1925 accessed via localrecall.co.uk 3rd August 2020