Everdon Grand Fete has been running for over 40 years now. Stretching from the village green to St. Mary’s church, the Fete attracts many visitors from across the county and further afield.
With upwards of 20 stalls, the Fete is manned purely by volunteers who make the day the success it is. Stalls and activities included Skittles, Children’s games, Arts and Crafts, Home Made Cake Stall, a Barbecue (locally sourced sausages and burgers) and Dog Show.
Funds raised from the day are split equally between the Village Hall and St. Mary’s church.
History of Everdon Fete
In 1974 the Parish Room, which we now know as the Village Hall, was a dark and dingy place not at all like the light and airy building it is today.
The rear part dates from before 1440 when Henry VI gave Everdon Estate, including the church and the room, to Eton College. Then in 1828 the building was extended to the front to form the village school, the master and his family living in the original one room up and one down at the rear. That school was provided by the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor; it closed in 1890 when the new school was built. It was let by Eton College to the Rector of Everdon for the sum of five shillings per annum as a Parish Room and was used for all manner of village activities. Over the years the building gradually deteriorated; it had holes in the roof, rot in the floorboards and the wind whistled through it.
In 1972 a committee was formed with the Revd Ralph Dye as chairman and they persuaded Eton College to convey the building to the Parish Council. Dennis Bush, decided to raise the necessary funds for its restoration – around £10,000. Dennis, his wife Christabel, Sheila Pell, Eileen Clarke, Albert and Bet Shoosmith, and Mavis Evans of Halifax Lodge formed the first committee. They met at The ‘New’ Rectory. Various fundraising events were organised : a gymkhana, a car rally, fireworks displays, jumble sales, coffee mornings and, most importantly a fête. That first fete was held on 26 August 1974 and in 1975 the late Earl Spencer came to Everdon to open the new building.
That year practically all of the fête took place on The Green, not all around the village as it does now. It raised the magnificent sum of £600, which would have been a very considerable sum in 1974 when beer cost 14p a pint, a portion of fish and chips was 19p and hire of the Church Room for badminton cost 25p per evening! Most of the original committee have gone now; only two of them remain: Sheila Pell and Eileen Clarke. Sheila played a big part in fête organisation in the early years, taking on the job of Chairman and then Secretary.
Eileen Clarke holds the remarkable record of having played a part in the first 40 fêtes, running first the Children’s Games and then the Produce Stall, always a high money-raiser. Since then the fête has been held every August Bank Holiday Monday. Since 1976 the proceeds have been shared between the village hall and the church and have been a major source of income for both.
With Thanks to Doreen Bodily for supplying the text.