IN THE COMMUNITY: Wargrave Local History Society

By Peter Delaney

The Wargrave Local History Society held its AGM at the March meeting, when the past year was reviewed, a new committee elected, and details of the 2019-20 programme given.

Following the formal part of the evening, Society Secretary, Peter Delaney, gave an illustrated presentation on the history of the Wargrave Village Festival.

Wargrave as a community has long held events for villagers to enjoy and take part in, but it was the then vicar, John Ratings who had the idea of a Wargrave Village Festival, which he first proposed in January 1974.

His idea was to “unite the community and have fun together” – all would be encouraged to take part – although many villagers “thought he was crazy – that it would not work”.

The Festival, held in June 1975 was a success, and has become a regular, bi-annual, event, and from the 1979 event has followed the basic pattern of a Wargrave Theatre Workshop production over several evenings, a flower festival, concerts, sporting activities, an event for the ‘teenagers’, a ‘Grand Ball’ on the Friday of its last weekend, with a village fete on the following Saturday afternoon.

In more recent times, each Village Festival has had a ‘theme’, reflected in the programme design, and many events are ‘adapted’ to suit.

The evening concluded with some film of the 1981 village festival – the audience recognising many ‘familiar faces’ from 38 years ago!

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 9th, when members will visit the Leander Club to hear of its 200 year history.

For more information about the Society, see the Society’s website www.wargravehistory.org.uk

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