THE GREEN in Roe Lane, originally an overgrown wilderness, used as a dump and unsafe to use, eventually was cleared but not until 1975 was it used to hold events.
It was the SILVER JUBILEE year, 1977, and two residents, Iris Rackley and Margaret Meacham decided to celebrate by arranging a picnic for their families on the Green. However, the children, so excited, spread the word and soon the ‘family picnic’ started to become a main event. Iris approached Stan Beamish, who was Chairman of the Residents’ Association and was asked to check whether the picnic would be allowed, as at the time the authorities had to be notified of gatherings of more than 19 people due to recent demonstrations. But Stan gave his blessing and that was the go-ahead. Iris with her sons, Guy and Jeremy, along with Margaret and her daughters Carol and Diane put an invitation to the picnic through every letterbox in the Village. At that time, Frank Clare was the owner of the VG Store in Stag Lane (now owned by Naimish Patel) – and he agreed to donate lemonade and biscuits.
Then it was down to the residents… they came with garden chairs, blankets and their own refreshments. A refreshment table was then filled with cakes and sandwiches provided by residents, as well as Frank Clare’s donations from his store. Iris supplied the balloons, with husband John supplying the oxygen to blow them up and with help from their cousin tied them to the trees on the green. Terry Palmer supplied the ice cream and topped that by giving every child a Silver Jubilee mug filled with sweets.
Tents were provided by Frank Howard and Stan Beamish, of which one was designated “the beer tent” in which Margaret organised a whip round to purchase the beer. Consumption was great as Margaret ended up collecting the empties to be returned and a second round bought.
It was a perfect day, which was rounded off by John Rackley supplying a firework display from the leftovers found in the house from November 5th!
That was the start of the annual event we now call, Village Day.