Living in Aynho

Published on May 30th, 2020 | by Content Admin


The Fete – Past and Present

The Cartwrights of Aynhoe Park would have a grand old party most years at which villagers – mostly their agricultural workers, employees and tenants all joined in – there was a Flower Show, Flower and Veg Show, pillow fights, greasy pole racing, music, bands, dressing up, Ladies races (and children’s), food and drink and celebration and prizes. Whether the event was in celebration of a Coronation or a Jubilee it was the big function of the year for the village.

In more recent times we have had the Fete – well since 1964 anyway! It was first brought back into village life and was used as the means of fundraising to help maintain the St Michael’s Church – no longer supported by the Lords of the Manor and needing to be self- financing. The first Fete in this era was held in the grounds of Friars Well, hosted by Lord and Lady Ward, before it moved to the Rectory Gardens (now St Michael’s House) for a few years until the Rectory was sold by the Diocese.

The Fete then moved back to its historic home back at Aynhoe Park, when the Park House was owned by the Country House Association, until its sale to James Perkins about 15 years ago.

During all these years from 1964 the Fete has been conducted annually – everyone enjoys their day out in the grounds of Aynhoe Park and seeing all the changes that James and Sophie have brought to the Park House and the gardens – and now the Deer Park beyond the south lawn and with its view over to Souldern.

This month, of course, would have seen the Fete – Sunday 14thJune – but COVID-19 has put a stop to things this summer. We have planned a reserve date on Sunday 13th September – and we hope we can put on the Fete again – to have fun as villagers together, welcome visitors from outside who come and enjoy themselves, and yes…… to raise a bit of money for the Church which still needs the support in these different times. We want to have a Tombola, run a big raffle and win that helicopter ride, sell flowers and plants, and cakes, and apricot jams, and hold a fun dog show, ride the Unicorn, run the races, and enjoy rides, and play those traditional Fete games. We might have to find a special way to do some or all of it even we are not allowed to hold the Fete – and find a way we must……so all your ideas, your imagination, your thoughts are welcome!

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