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Rector’s Notes 1967

The Fete

It is with very much pleasure that I am able to announce that this year’s Fete, on July 27, will be opened by Lady Bridge. Apart from her very gracious personality, known to so many of us from her repeated official visits to the Island, there are several reasons for especial gratification. With so many Sunday sailors in Wootton I have long felt that it would be very appropriate to have a naval opening to the Fete one year. As you will see from the correspondence column, the Commander in Chief at Portsmouth did his best, but he was affected by the visit of the Russian warships that didn’t come off. But Lady Bridge is closely connected with the Royal Navy, as her husband is Admiral Sir Robin Bridge, K.B.E., C.B. I am hoping he may be able to accompany her.

Lady Bridge is the only lady Canon of Portsmouth Cathedral, and I think in the whole country. At Portsmouth she counterbalances 12 male lay canons. In 1843 the Bishop of Norwich thought so highly of Sarah Martin, a poor dressmaker who became a prison visitor and did the same work as Elizabeth Fry did on a larger scale in London that he said, “I would canonise her if I could.” What Bishop Stanley could not do Bishop Phillips has achieved.

This visit will give the greatest pleasure to all members of the Mother’ Union, of which she was the much-loved Diocesan President. We await her advent with the greatest content.

Guest Artistes

For many years we have provided, free of cost to the visitors, some special attractions. It is not the easiest thing in the world to provide a new attraction every year for 27 years, and this year has been the most difficult of all. Fortunately both opener and band are already arranged for next year. Typical of our experiences this year is that after many trials – in both senses – I had invited the lads of St. Swithin’s Boys’ School to revisit us and give their gymnastic display, only to be informed that for the first time for 20 years this was impossible. The reason is that their gym instructor has left and the new one does not take over till September, so they can accept no invitations this summer.

For many years we have had a military band, the highlight being the famous Guards Band for three consecutive years. I am still hoping to secure a band this year, but it is extraordinarily difficult. The Royal Navy would have sent from Portsmouth, but will be at the Royal Tournament. The Police Band would have come, but the Chief Constable said no. Bembridge School Band would have come but will be on holiday. The Scout Band was tried hopefully, but hopelessly. Three more bands are being tried for at the moments, on the Island and the mainland. Band or no, there will be music throughout the afternoon, this, with the broadcast apparatus, being kindly provided once more by the generosity of Mr. W. Peters.

In the doleful event of a wet day, the Fete will be at the Rafters Holiday Camp, Church Road, by the very great kindness of Mr. And Mrs. Cave.

The delay in obtaining an opener, and a band, has caused the programmes to be delayed, but these will be available at the beginning of July, and I shall be grateful of offers to sell them. Also posters and car stickers will soon be available, at Church and Rectory, and if you can display one of these it will be appreciated.

A final note re Fete. The teas will be in the charge of Mrs. Theasby, nee Peggy Cooke. She will be glad of helpers.

Success at Last

By special permission of Rear-Admiral Gibson, the Royal Marine Band of the Flag Officer, Naval Command, Lee-on-Solent, will play from 2.30 to 5.30 p.m. when the Retreat will be sounded. The heavy cost of the Band is being met by a well-wisher.

The Fete – This Year

First of all, Thank you, all who helped towards the splendid results. The young people who sold programmes beforehand throughout the parish; the shopkeepers who exhibited posters; the car owners who displayed car “stickers” and thereby broadcast the Fete; the strenuous work done beforehand and on the Day by the stallholders; the unceasing production of cups of tea; all donors, workers, buyers, a big Thank you.

Eight hundred programmes were printed – not enough. The highlight of course was the Royal Marine Band, about which everybody is still talking. We have had many first class bands, but this was the best ever. The final Tattoo and the marching with the green background of the trees and lawn was a splendid climax. Our grateful thanks are due to the generous donors who made this possible. And to our hosts, Dr. and Mrs. Kennedy, once again. Thank you. It was, I think, the first time that the Opener stayed right to the end, and distributed the prizes. We are very grateful to Lady Bridge and Admiral Sir Robin Bridge for a lovely opening and delightful afternoon. For the first time we had official Roman Catholic support at the Fete, with the presence of the Mayor of Newport and his chaplain.

Next Year

I am delighted to announce that the Fete next year will be opened by Gerard March Phillips de Lisle Esq., of Garendon Park, Loughborough, now resident at Gracedieu Park, Leicestershire, whose ancestors built St Edmund’s Church in Norman times. It was stated in the June magazine that Mr. De Lisle carefully investigated the possibility of flying here this year to open the Fete, but found he could not fit it in. So, for the first time, our Opener has been booked a year in advance. For me it will be a deeply satisfactory culmination of 28 years labour to have the descendant of our first patron to open my last Fete.

Also for the first time, the Band for next year is engaged – a very different one from any hitherto.

Rector – Rev. A. H. Genower, B.A.

Source: The Bridge, July and September 1967

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:17:04

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