The Queen’s 90th Birthday
Walsham le Willows will be celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday, just as it has other highlights of her long reign. There will be a garden picnic at The Beeches in June.
It will feature a dramatic and entertaining “History of England” by The Walsham Concert Party, including the Drama School. Village children will take part.
Past Royal Celebrations in Walsham
The Coronation June 1953
The Bury Free Press reported: Celebrations started with a lunch for Old Age Pensioners, numbering 32, in the Priory Room. A special treat was given to the oldest man and woman in the village. Mrs H. Moore (85) and Mr A. Frost (79) were each presented with a bottle of brandy.
There was a carnival procession and later a religious service on the sports field that was marred by heavy rain. There was an open air concert given by the Highlights Touring Company of Cambridge after which the children were entertained to tea at the school.
Prizes for the best decorated house in the village were presented by Mrs W. Johnston. The winner was Mr. B. Pollard, second was Mr J. Potter and third was Mr W. Beales.
In the evening, despite the continuous rain and cold, many braved the deplorable conditions to see the huge bonfire lit, accompanied with a firework display and community singing. Afterwards the assembly followed a torchlight procession to the centre of the village where the singing of Auld Lang Syne and God Save the Queen ended the celebrations.
Silver Jubilee 1977
The Jubilee committee comprising Mr R. Barber, Mr. I Campbell. Mrs A. Clancy, Mrs J. Frost, Mrs H. Russell, Mrs I. West, Miss Robinson and Miss E. Moore organised the day’s events. Children’s sports included a big shoe race, a bag between the knees race and a four-legged race.
Ron Peck organised a junior disco and a social dance in the evening. The Parish Council gave all the children up to the age of 16 a Jubilee mug. In the afternoon Ian Campbell and Jinny Frost organised an “It’s a Knockout” competition with teams from Palmer Street, Grove Park, Wattisfield Road, The Street, Finningham Road and The Causeway.
The W.I. provided tea at the school and gave prizes for the best Jubilee scrapbook. In the evening William Johnston and Nicholas Russell organised a barbecue. Sausages were 20p each. The music was provided by Nev Ellis, along with Brian Debenham and Bob Farrow (The Abbot River Boys), who also performed at an evening concert organised by Jinny Frost and Averil Clancy. The Compere was Charlie Studd, and among the singers were Rob Barber (Old Macdonald), Todd Largent (Singing Postman) and Terry Clancy (Take these chains from my heart). Nicky Gifford, Averil Clancy, Heather Webster and Sylvia Welch performed “The Sand Dance”.
The Golden Jubilee 2002
To mark the occasion villagers gathered in the sunshine at Miller’s Close where Jo Kendall planted a cherry tree. Also planted were some honeysuckle, a holly bush and a yellow rose donated by Hill Cottage Nursery.
A Jubilee Disco was held in the Village Memorial Hall where about 80 youngsters had great fun beneath colourful bunting.
Jubilee Mugs were distributed by the Parish Council to those aged 16 and under.
The Diamond Jubilee 2012
The Parish Council organised the planting of a willow tree by the river bank near Miller’s Bridge. Betty Jordan and Jim Kenny, who had lived in the village for the whole of the Queen’s reign, planted a tree. A commemorative plaque made by local potter Rob Wheeler was erected .
Competitions for the best bunting and the best royal scarecrow took place. There was a Big Picnic on the sports field with races and many stalls. A brass band played, and the bells of St. Mary’s celebrated the day in grand style.
Richard Martineau remembers…
‘My mother used to select books for the Walsham school leavers paid for by the Gapp Charity and then she added to it in memory of my father. It still funds books for school leavers.’
Page 1: In the List of Trustees of the Boys School, Line 1 should read “Clergyman for the time being” and Line 6 should read “T.M. Golding”.
The original 1848 list has later undated alterations, and “John Martineau” was added after he assumed the role of Treasurer in 1869.