Sunday, 16 January 2022

First village fete planned to mark Queen’s jubilee

SONNING Common’s first village fete is among plans to celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee next year.

The parish council has drafted a preliminary programme for the special bank holiday weekend from Thursday to Sunday, June 2 to 5.

This also includes a tea party and joining other places around the country in lighting a beacon.

The celebrations could cost up to £10,000.

The fete would take place on the Saturday at Memorial Park, the village’s new recreation ground off Reades Lane. 

The budget would include £3,500 for a marquee and generator hire, £1,200 for toilets, £500 for a falconry display and £360 for a brass band. 

Other attractions could include an RAF Benson fly-past, a dog show, a bouncy castle, a six-a-side football competition between Rotherfield Football Club and Kidmore End FC and a raffle.

The council hopes some revenue could be made by charging local businesses and craftspeople £30 to have stalls and £40 for food trucks. 

An additional £1,940 could be put aside for unidentified costs.

It has already been agreed that the beacon will be lit on the Thursday evening at the Butcher’s Arms pub  in Blounts Court Road, which is the highest point in the
village.

The pub has also agreed to donate 10p from every pint of Beacon Ale sold over the weekend to good causes.

The tea party would be held at the village hall in Wood Lane on the Friday and be organised by the Fish charity in Lea Road.  The council hopes that the primary school in Grove Road would provide children’s artwork for the decorations.  

Michael Cann, who chairs the council, said the plans were only a “starting point” but some things needed to be booked soon because of how busy the bank holiday weekend would be. 

Speaking at a council meeting, he said: “You would need to secure some of the things, such as toilet hire, in a timely manner or they will not be available. The beacon is already secured.” 

Councillor Jonny Bidgood called the proposals “excellent” but suggested the charge to rent a stall was too low.

He said: “£30 and £40 seems very cheap to me. If you’re trying to raise funds it’s like you’re almost giving it away. I might set one up myself if that is the cost.” 

Councillor Leigh Rawlins welcomed the plan, saying: “This is a great start and I look forward to the acorn that grows into something big in the future.

“I hope in the future we can have more fetes when you see what Peppard and Woodcote can do.”

Councillor Keith Settle suggested budgeting for the cost of a commemorative tree.

“We could also name a walkway at Memorial Park after the celebrations,” he added.

The proposals will be discussed further by the council’s platinum jubilee working group. 

In the meantime, the council is looking for volunteers to help run the fete.

To volunteer, or for more information, call the parish office on 0118 972 3616 or visit sonningcommon
parishcouncil.gov.uk

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