Ben Rhydding Community Fete, Saturday 9th June 2007

The sun shone and the crowds just kept coming….and coming. Hundreds and hundreds flocked from all over the area to a sun drenched playing field on Bolling Road to enjoy the 2nd Ben
Rhydding Community fete. 2 hours were not sufficient to enjoy the free entertainment and stalls, and visitors were reluctant to leave. So much so that the jazz band was still playing, the BBQ was
still sizzling and ice creams were being sold well beyond the advertised finish time of 4pm.

The Fete was officially opened by Annabel Wright, 8, whose winning picture featured on the programme cover, and by Ilkley Parish Council chairman, Heathcliffe Bowen. Annabel hoped that
visitors would have a lovely afternoon in the sunshine and Cllr. Bowen echoed her sentiments. He also thanked the fete committee for bringing community groups together to offer such a wide variety of stalls and entertainment.
Fete committee chairman, Mrs Karen Palframan, explained that the aim of the fete was to create a fun-filled free event for all ages, where a sense of community could be fostered. “An event run by
the community, for the community” was how she described it. “This year’s fete could hardly have been better. The atmosphere was really relaxed and happy, and I think the fete has now become an annual event. An added bonus of the fete, once costs are met, will be our ability to spend any surplus proceeds on improving some aspect of Ben Rhydding or on purchasing an item that will be of community benefit. We would, for example, like to invest in a large tent for both fete and community use. Hire charges would be absolutely minimal. We welcome other suggestions as to how to spend any surplus funds.”

Visitors were able to take a leisurely stroll round the field, browse the stalls, try the games on offer and catch up with friends and neighbours. As he sold plants and took hanging basket and tub orders, Simon Richmond, a course tutor for Bradford College’s ‘Active Ilkley’ scheme and CTI 2000 which run the St. John’s allotment project for the learning disabled, bumped into an acquaintance he hadn’t seen for 40 years. This was typical of the afternoon.

Faces were painted, prizes won, handicrafts bought, plants and cakes snapped up, and books selected. The fete incorporated the Ben Rhydding Preschool Fun day, the 1st Ben Rhydding Scout
and Guide summer fair and a beer tent run by the “Save Us Pub” campaign group who are still trying to secure the reopening of The Wheatley Hotel. There was much more besides however, as
all the community groups had been invited to participate. Music was provided by the Saint John’s church jazz band, Ben Rhydding clarinets and the band of 1224 Wharfedale Squadron Air Training Corps. Ilkley Karate club members, based at Ben Rhydding Methodist church, expertly demonstrated their skills, interspersed with a dancing display by young dancers from Jo Walters’ “Joze school of Dance”. The ‘Martial Arts’ side regrouped to defeat the ‘Manley Marauders’ 2-1 in
the Tug of War final, while football and hockey skills were tested by Ilkley Juniors and Ben Rhydding Hockey Club.

Copious amounts of cakes and liquid refreshments were consumed in the tea tent run by St. John’s Mothers’ Union branch. Cakes were also on sale at the Methodist church stall together with books and plants, while The Woodcraft Folk were selling delicious fruit kebabs. Expert garden design and plant advice could be sought from ‘New Leaf Design’ in aid of the charitable National Gardens Scheme, and homes were found for at least 2 cats by the Wharfedale Cats Protection League. Ben
Rhydding Primary School PTA ran a coconut shy, while an intriguing table top game of Carrom was provided by the ‘Education for Global Justice’ group who were advertising an autumn series of lectures and films at Christchurch. Former St. John’s vicar, Rev. Brian Gregory who retired last year, made a welcome return slaving over a hot stove to produce his famous Welsh cakes. He was raising money for the Romanian charity ‘The Friendship Foundation’ which seeks to relieve
suffering arising from poverty. Street children, the disabled, sick and many more are helped in the city of Arad.

The fete committee would like to thank everyone who helped in any way, not least Balfour Beatty Utilities who kindly sponsored the toilet cubicles. This was a very welcome gesture following the
unavoidable disruption caused during Yorkshire Water’s upgrading of Ilkley’s water mains in 2006.

Local businesses generously offered a multitude of raffle prizes including flowers, food and meal vouchers, beauty treatments, clothing and wine. Ilkley Parish Council kindly donated £200 towards the costs of holding the fete and local sponsors were found to help with the programme costs. This enabled community groups to keep all the funds they raised through their stalls or activities.

Special thanks must go to local scout committee members and leaders Pete Bastow, John Sharpe and Robin Beaumont. They organised the tents and scout marquee, and much more besides.
Businesses and corporate sponsors are urged to get in touch if they are interested in sponsoring an evening fundraising event next year. A hog roast and ceilidh has been suggested.