Thriplow Daffodil Weekend: A look back at a bloomin’ great 50 years
- Credit: Clive Porter
When Thriplow villagers mention where they are from, they are used to being greeted in one of two ways – “Thriplow, where’s that?” or “Thriplow, oh yes the daffodil festival”.
That’s according to a new book to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the volunteer-led weekend in the village, which sees visitors come from far and wide to view the flowers and attractions that line the lanes, all to raise money for good causes and projects.
The commemorative text – written by Geoffrey Axe, Dr Bernard Meggitt, Judy Murch. and Dr Shirley Wittering of the Thriplow Society – has been produced for every home in the village, and charts the history of the South Cambs calendar highlight.
Raising money for repairs to St George’s church – which has stood overlooking the village for more than nine centuries – was how it all started half a century ago.
To drum up cash parishioners organised church fetes, christmas bazaars, carol singing, harvest suppers and more, but by the 1960s it still needed more than £1,000 for repairs to the roof, gutters and windows.
The Thriplow Parochial Church Council minute book entry for February 14, 1966, states that: ‘Some parishioners had suggested that a summer fete be held. Interesting places to be listed and owners asked if they would kindly allow them to be opened to visitors. Advertising would have to be on a wide scale’.
The daughters of churchwarden John Shaw, Elizabeth and Caroline, and his wife Margaret, remember that in spring 1966 their mother and father together with churchwarden Sid Badcock, climbed the church tower to inspect the woodwork. As they looked over the village with its gardens cheerful with daffodils and spring flowers, they thought of the idea of opening houses and gardens to the public to raise the funds needed for the church repairs.
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Excitedly they thought that teas could be provided in the school and village hall and daffodils sold to the visitors. Margaret requested £90 to go towards expenses much to the shock of the rest of the PCC.
The following year the vicar was ill and the Festival had to be abandoned, but by 1969 on April 26 and 27, the church, the smithy, eight gardens and four houses as well as the Green Man pub, were open to the public all for the cost of 3s 6d. – just over 17 pence – with children getting in for one shilling, or five pence.
Teas were provided in the school and the village hall.
The organising committee was the vicar, Rev Ivor Davies, churchwardens Sid Badcock and John Shaw, treasurer Mr Shearing and Mr Gambie, a total of five people. They were delighted when a total of £204.56 was raised from the event for the church restoration fund.
In 1973, the year after Britain’s currency went decimal, the profits raised stood at £957. There were 12 gardens open and five houses, and the entry fee was 30p.
No commercial stalls were allowed, only sales of daffodils, church guides and homemade produce. Colin Fuller, the church organist, gave a recital both days, various church documents such as the Registers and the Ellis family Bibles were on display in the church and there was a brass rubbing demonstration.
In the years that followed many additions and attractions were added to the weekend including a craft barn, vintage car show, stalls, re-enactors morris dancers and live music.
And back in the present, the hard work of around 350 volunteers is almost complete as the 50th Thriplow Daffodil Weekend takes places on Saturday and Sunday, March 18 and 19. Adult tickets are £8, children £4 and under-5s go free.
Go to www.thriplowdaffodils.org.uk for more information.