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Masthead showing parish logo, followed by photos of the two pubs and the church

Click for Parish Council Website A PDF version of the entire Millennium Book is available on request from the Parish Clerk (parish-clerk@berrickandroke.org.uk).

THE BERRICK AND ROKE VILLAGE SHOW

Every other year we hold a Village Show (it alternates with the Church Fête). In the best of traditions, the Show combines a morning devoted to a competition to find the best fruit, veg, flowers and craft items, an afternoon where side-shows and entertainment come to the fore, and an evening dominated by a barn dance.
The Show dates back to the mid '70's and, following a 6 year hiccup ,was revived in 1993. There was a further semi-hiccup in 1997 when the Show coincided with the funeral of Princess Diana and morning and afternoon events were cancelled.
It would be nice to think that this kind of event happened of its own accord - it doesn't. It's the result of a lot of hard work put in by a committee that receives no reward other than the satisfaction of a job well-done and a contribution to the community spirit that is alive and flourishing. With a bit of luck, it also sees sufficient money raised to be able to support local deserving causes.
Bouncy castle
Ideally the committee should number ten or twelve; ideally it should start its work a year in advance. In practice, it is six or eight people who start to panic 6 months before the due date which is the first Saturday in September. Those who have attended committee meetings will understand just how business-like, professional and well-organised they are - until, that is, the second or third bottle of claret has been consumed!
Signs of activity start with local publicity, but the committee knows time is running short when the marquee is erected (at a sensible distance from the cricket pitch) in the recreation field. Feverish preparations on the Friday have, in recent years, been greeted by a glorious day on the Saturday of the Show.
Toy stall
An air of friendly rivalry is abroad as entries for the fruit and veg, photography, flower arranging, home crafts, cookery (sponges and pies), store cupboard (jams and pickles) and the children's section (there are 96 separate classes in 9 Divisions) arrive. In the best years, 60 tables are covered with entries and exhibits, and at 10 o'clock the marquee is cleared by an unusually authoritarian Jackie Gamble so that the judges can set to work. By 12 o'clock decisions have been made, and judges and committee retire for well-deserved lunch.

Entry to the afternoon's proceeding has cost 50p (Senior Citizens and Young Children are free) for some years, but it's worth it if only to see pillow fights on greasy poles, or would-be racing drivers making a hash of the trailer-reversing. Of course, you can try your hand at the coconut shy, learn why a bouncy castle is called a bouncy castle, or simply retreat to the shade of the Village Hall to indulge in what was historically a Great British Pastime - taking afternoon tea. And there are things to buy - John Hyde will try to get you to purchase the Greek Bouzouki LP which has graced his stall for the last 7 years; his wife, Monica, will have an array of toys that will tempt any child who wanders by; and for keen gardeners Mrs Franklin's plant stall is a must. If all else fails, adults can join the children in marvelling at the magic of 'Uncle Brian', or indulge in pure nostalgia at the sight of a Punch and Judy Show. And all the while the Roke and Benson Band will treat us to a medley of popular brass band music. The afternoon ends with the presentation of trophies to those whom the show judges have smiled upon. There are trophies and prizes for all Divisions, with the Berrick and Roke Challenge Cup reserved for the person winning most points overall. Anne Smith has won this trophy on the past two occasions.
The afternoon events come to an end at around 5 o'clock, and there is a leisurely interlude until the evening's festivities. That is for everyone except the committee and a few generous helpers who remove tables and replace them with the straw bales that will provide seating for the barn-dance. I say barn dance because that has been the normal entertainment for the evening, and after a change in '99, it is something that will make a come-back in the new Millennium when immortal phrases like 'Doh-si-doh', 'Promenade your partner' and 'Star right', 'Star left' will reverberate around the marquee.
Over 300 attend the barn dance – from a community of some 250 people! It's a popular event and, to my mind, another example of the community spirit that flourishes in Berrick and Roke.

Roger Smith
Village Show Committee Member