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12:00pm Saturday 16th June 2012 in G-I
JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS: Over the years Ilmington has had a reputation to party.
This year was no exception.
Combined with the Jubilee celebrations were the events to commemorate the 1950s. It all began with a showing by the Screen on the Green group of the celebrated classic film of the period Some Like it Hot. Then followed the performances of the play written by Ilmington playwright and actor Mark Currey.
Magic Moments, which was generously supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, portrayed many assorted scenes of life in the village in the 1950s.
What made the work so interesting was that Mark Currey obtained many recollections of the senior residents of the village that gave the feeling of intense authenticity.
So we could witness the struggles, the wonderful community spirit and simple homespun fun of the period.
Charlie the spaniel made an appearance and not even on the professional stage would the midwife carry a real (and so well-behaved) baby during her scene each evening!
The performances of all members of the cast were superb and it would be invidious to pick out any individuals. On Friday evening the Karaoke at the Red Lion drew a large crowd and gave a lot of enjoyment in a hospitable typical wellloved English pub. This was the time too when villagers thought about their entries to the scarecrow competition!
Walk around the village at the weekend and one saw the fantastic response. Her Majesty seemed to have wandered around the streets and could be seen everywhere! But there were many village personages to be seen and the Royal Rockers must have stood a good chance of a prize!
Also on a walk around Ilmington the art of welldressing could be seen on the sites where many years ago the inhabitants obtained their essential supply. Ladies had worked hard with petals and flowers to produce colourful displays showing the crown, orb and sceptre.
Ilmington Manor had a fascinating display of artefacts of the 1950s.
These were gathered from the villagers and included a varied assortment that included dresses, toys, a working Hornby layout, magazines, theatre programmes, photographs and newspapers that recorded the topical events of the period.
Events on the Saturday included the veterans’ football match and live music with Pimms in the garden of the Howard Arms. Sunday saw the Jubilee service at the full St Mary’s Church conducted by Rev Chris Goble. The Festival Choir under Julian Harris led the music.
There was to be a party with the Big Lunch on the closed Front Street organised, like many other events, by the hard working Festival Committee so ably led by Fred Edmunds.
However, with the inclement weather Plan B was skilfully put into action and tables, chairs and bunting were transferred to the huge marquee on the Playing Field and what a friendly happy party this turned out to be! I counted about 400 village folk seated around the tables to enjoy their feast. When the music from the trio started more of the very restricted space was taken up with gyrating dancers! The event in the evening was the Proms in the Park.
Unfortunately with the rain still pouring down use was again made of the marquee with the entertainment provided by the excellent AD Concert Band. Their spirited set concluded with the audience participant songs of the traditional Albert Hall ‘last night’. As the band was ending with the 1812 Overture, the fireworks of Ilmington’s pyrotechnic king Alan Wright could be enjoyed from the warmth of the tent! There was then disco music to midnight – what a night to remember!
Then Monday saw the children’s party and the 1950s hop in the Village Hall. The children had great fun in the games but how many parties have (live) crocodiles, turtles and snakes as guests?
At the ‘hop’ many couples dressed and skilfully danced in the style of the period.
Singers were almost queuing up to perform.
At 10 o’clock the hall emptied as villagers made their way to the top of Foxcote Hill for the Jubilee beacon to be lit.
The revellers then made their way back to the village down the winding lane with flaming torches alight, a magnificent sight with the full moon observing the proceedings!
The final day dawned grey but the family games and judging of the scarecrows continued in the marquee as the rain arrived. The memorable village Jubilee drew to a close and everyone agreed what a splendid fun event it was, thanks to the organising skills and enthusiasm of a wonderful committee.