Friday, 23 July 2021

Book of festival memories

A FOUNDING member of the Henley Youth Festival wants to compile a book of memories to mark 21 years of

A FOUNDING member of the Henley Youth Festival wants to compile a book of memories to mark 21 years of the event.

Alfie Hay is asking people to recall their experiences for the anthology, which he hopes will feature anecdotes and photographs.

He was headmaster of Trinity School in July 1993 when he helped organise a festival of the arts involving local primary schools and Gillotts School.

The schools then discussed staging a youth festival every year but July was considered to be an inappropriate month in the school calendar.

In September 1993, a meeting of representatives of schools, clubs and other organisations decided that a festival would take place in March 1994 and nine months later the event gained charity status.

The three trustees, Mr Hay, Felicity Rutland and Janine Voss, described the festival as a chance “to support and promote the arts, music, drama, dance, sports and other skills among the young people of Henley and its surrounding area”.

Mr Hay said: “From these small beginnings, the festival has grown enormously to encompass the whole range of arts, sport and workshops.It is loved by its institutions and well supported by its businesses. About a hundred volunteers turn out each year to make sure that it is both successful and safe.

“Each year since its inception, they have had new initiatives as new volunteers join the huge list of Henley Youth Festival devotees.”

Mr Hay, a self-taught musician, would like memories from different years of the festival.

He said: “We would love people to write a short description of a particular time, event or experience during their youth festival life which we can then insert into our time frame for the 21 years. It may be as a parent or helper when your children were young and if this is the case, we want you to get your son or daughter to write their own memory as well.

“We hope that this anthology of memories will include parents and grandparents, performers, sportsmen and women, people who took part in workshops or went to shows, young people who took part in the big musicals and orchestral occasions.

“It may be a funny happening, or the nerves of preparing for a performance, your costume or equipment, preparing in the dressing rooms, exhaustion at the end but satisfaction and pride.”

Send your memories, including the year(s) they came from and what you are doing now, to Alfie Hay at The Old School House, Bix, Henley, RG9 6BY or email alfiehay1@googlemail.com

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