WEST END VILLAGE SHOW BASKS IN WONDERFUL BANK HOLIDAY WEATHER
Our milestone 65th Village Show was celebrated in the most glorious hot sunshine on Saturday 24th August. Quite a scorcher! A number of visitors commented that it was one of the best shows they had attended, especially for the welcoming village atmosphere.
The Flower Show marquee looked inviting and colourful as ever with a calm, relaxed atmosphere inside. It’s always pleasing to see familiar entrants and to welcome those new to the Show as well. Despite having to contend with record heat, torrential rains and turbulent winds this summer, many of our regular exhibitors and a record number of newcomers, found enough fruit, vegetables and flowers to display making one of the best spectacles over the past five years and a dramatic increase on last year’s numbers. A few new names were worthy cup winners. The judges once again praised the quality of exhibits on show, particularly in the floral art arrangements, the handicrafts and in the cookery and preserves classes.
Outside on the green, there was a huge array of entertainment for all ages in the Side Shows. Despite the heat, the bungee trampolines, giant inflatable slide and swing boats were popular with our younger visitors. We were delighted to see the Shetland ponies again, and people seemed keen to give them a pat and to take advantage of the shade. For those of us who are a little older, the Prosecco stall provided a welcome opportunity for liquid refreshment. It was also good to see the Prince of Wales once again involved in the Show. Its new manager, Paul brought along some deck chairs and gin, a popular combination! Further temptation was provided by the delicious food offered by Baker and Cook. The bookstall was inundated by donations of books and by customers. And the Coconut shy and Smash-a-Plate once again proved that visitors to the show, young and old, do love throwing things!
The Tug-of-war was won decisively by the village team with a clean sweep over the green shirts of Garsons.
The busy Arts & Crafts marquee at the Village Show proved to be an oasis of cool in the scorching heat. Many of the artists and crafters have been selling at the show for years – ‘we wouldn’t keep coming if we didn’t love being here,’ one was heard to say. Always the place to buy wonderful gifts, the crafts ranged from jewellery through to pet portraits, ceramics, clothing and papercut lightboxes. Returning local artists Lady Anne Hunt and Rosalind Moysen never fail to support the show, as has Colin Pendry whose sale proceeds this year were generously donated to the Princess Alice Hospice.
In the Raffle we received many comments on the quality of prizes, so thank you to all those local businesses and individual supporters that provided sponsorship or prizes. This year we tried a silent auction, with eight lots that were more service or experience orientated on offer for visitors to bid on over the course of the day. Proceeds were on a par with last year’s successful total. With thanks to Alan from Kingston Hospital Radio who not only provided us with musical interludes but also was helpful in promoting both the raffle and silent auction.
The Dog Show was attended by nearly fifty dogs despite the challenging heat for the entrants in their fur coats. Copious amounts of water to keep them cool and treats provided by our sponsors, VOO vets, ensured no-one overheated. Many spectators enjoyed the high standard of entries, both for the pedigrees and the gloriously mixed breeds. An excellent amount was raised for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. The “Best Sausage Catcher” was popular again this year and Best in Show was awarded to Reggie, a Kooikerhondje belonging to Gilly Solway from Esher.
The hot weather seemed no discouragement to the participants in the Children’s Sports events, run again expertly by West End Playgroup. The races filled up quickly, providing plenty excitement for children and parents alike, the sight of bobbing balloons proving a highlight. The fun, laughter and cheering continued without abate for two hours. Another highlight was the siblings no age limit three-legged race, which caused much hilarity. Overall cup winners were Taba Schmitt, who also must take the prize for entering the most races and our second time champion for the boys was Rafi Gribble. Well done to you both and thank you to everyone who took part.
We were delighted to see Barrie Davey from the Royal Hospital Chelsea again this year and honoured that he agreed to hand out the prizes at the end of the day. A stoic veteran to the end, he looked magnificent in his red coat however overheated he might have been feeling!
Without the contribution of West End villagers it would not be possible to put on the Show. To put it into perspective the money so generously given in subscriptions goes a long way towards hiring the marquee. We are also extremely grateful to our sponsors and advertisers seen in the programme for their significant support. In addition to enjoying a fun-filled day it is always gratifying to be able to donate profits to local charities and good causes.
A massive thank-you to everyone who worked so hard to put the Show together over the course of the year and to all our visitors who came along on the day. The preparations for the 66th Show start soon!
Chairman, West End Village Show