Berwick St James
Fisherton de la Mere
The Parish of Wishford Magna (Great Wishford)
Church: St Giles
Great Wishford CofE VA Primary School: www.greatwishfordschool.co.uk
OAK APPLE SERVICE OF CELEBRATION 2017
On 21 May, in warm late afternoon sunshine, people gathered at the barn to celebrate the continuing Great Wishford tradition of renewing our right to gather wood in Grovely and to reflect on all that is good about our village community.
Poems, readings and reflections were read out by villagers of all ages, the school set up a wonderful prayer chair and we sang hymns accompanied by the keyboard and a few young jackdaws. For the first time, we almost ran out of chairs, so probably not far short of 50 attended altogether.
The Oak Apple Club provided refreshments afterwards, enabling people to linger and chatter. The retiring collection was in aid of 'Good Companions' and we were able to donate £65.50 to a very worthwhile local cause.
A huge thank you to all who helped by setting up or contributing to the service.
Bank Holiday Monday dawned overcast and misty, but that did not prevent over 20 villagers forming the Rough Band and prowling the streets at 4:00am! Very harmonious it was too, despite the early hour. Others had ventured up into the woods to cut their live oak boughs (the only time in the year that we are allowed to) and popped into the Royal Oak for a well-
At 9:30, two coaches left from outside the old Post Office to take us to the cathedral to renew our rights. Many turned up there under their own steam and, and after the nitch ladies had danced on the green, we were a large crowd marching into the cathedral and up to the high altar. The shout at the end of the short service resounded round the vaulted ceiling of the cathedral.
After that, it was back to the field to set up and organise who went where. There was no lunch in the marquee this year so we set up our new tables for teas. The procession proceeded without a hitch, the boughs and floats were judged and the May Queen admired.
Then came the downpour – it rained cats, dogs and stair rods! The poor pupils from Wishford school had to delay their Maypole dance, but once the rain eased, they bravely went ahead. The school's art and craft work was on display in the barn – very colourful and clearly the result of a lot of hard work.
There was plenty to enjoy for everyone – a bouncy castle, Punch and Judy, Morris dancing, a band, a tombola bottle stall, plants, bric a brac, books, a Good Companions stall, a BBQ, beer and teas tents, skittles, a slide show with great pictures showing the day in years gone by, field races, and a round the village race … just to mention some of the activities. The rain had not put anyone off and packing up did not begin until after 5:00.
What a great way to celebrate 125 years of the Oak Apple Club (there are still pens and car stickers and history booklets available for sale)! A huge thank you to all who organised and helped – without you, it couldn't happen.
Yvonne Allen (on behalf of the Oak Apple Committee)
|Berwick St James|
|Wylye & Fisherton de la Mere|