Catsfield Jubilee celebrations opened on the immaculate Playing Field, with the entrance festooned with bunting and the marquee shrugging off the dark clouds and the rain - after months of fund raising and planning, the village was ready to rock!
The exhibition of village life perfectly illustrated the long history of this beautiful corner of Sussex, the Football Club with its certificate of 100 years membership and sport, the 200 year old Cricket Club, now using its third pavilion,the Parish Council proudly displaying the improvements it has achieved for the village recently, together with copies of the newsletter, The Catsfield Flyer. Our MP, Greg Barker was so impressed, he stayed for an hour and tweeted his friends to visit this outstanding display.
Centre stage was the Cad`s exhibit, with laughter written all over the display of panto photographs, there was the Primary School and PTA supporting the children, with the newly formed Scout Group and two tables of exquisite WI art and craft. At 4 pm it was all whisked away as preparation for the CAD`s Murder Mystery got under way. On the field there was the thwack of ball on bat, as the cricket match was played and the normal Saturday sport pursued.
The marquee was packed for the long awaited `Who Killed the Holiday Rep` and we were transported to a suitably disgusting hotel in sunny Benidorm. Deftly introduced by John Fowle, the play exceeded expectations, with all our favourite panto stars making an appearance.
Who really cared which of the suspects committed the murder (though many of us hoped it was the Rector, taking part for the first time and ominously suspicious). As the hilarious plot became more complicated and the rain hammered on the canvas roof, it all became more enjoyable.
There were winners, rewarded with a pair of wedding gnomes and lasting fame, and a rousing storm of applause - thanks for an unforgettable evening.
On Sunday, the Playing Field was thronged with families for the cricket and the big village lunch with free champagne in the marquee. At 3 pm, the Jubilee Commemoration service, lead by the Rector, supported by the choir with David on the keyboard, started with the children presenting their banners. The vows of allegiance were made, the children marked the 57 countries of the Commonwealth on a huge hand painted map of the world set above the stage and the hymns sung with gusto.
On Monday, the children enjoyed games on the field, which was alive with people and activity all weekend, and the WI hosted the village tea for 200 in the marquee, decked out in red white and blue, and set with tables loaded with sandwiches, cake and savouries to challenge any medieval feast. The urn bubbled, the chattering crowd filled the marquee and tea was served, as only the WI know how to do it.
After tea, the Jubilee Choir, which had been rehearsing for months, sang a programme of poignant English music, introduced by David in his inimitable bone dry fashion and conducted by Barbara. What a show of musical talent in this very musical community.
The day ended, as most Catsfield celebrations do, with a packed Swing Along dance that had the marquee rocking and all age groups out on the floor until it was time to let off the fire works, light the beacon and draw the most amazing weekend to a close.
Congratulations to the lucky winners of the big raffle, Jan Auer, the Jubilee planter, Ian Roberts, the Jubilee 100 Club £100 prize, Tom Hammick and the Jubilee Gnomes, Mike Davey.
Congratulations to everyone involved, blood, sweat and tears are shed for an occasion like this and most hearty thanks to Ann Davey, who lit the original torch that set it all alight. the Jubilee oak tree, planted at the entrance to the Playing Field, will be a lasting remembrance of this memorable weekend.
Patricia Speedy, Longstone, Powdermill Lane