War Memorial Gary Trouton


August 2007

Willim explains the rationale behinbd the Stoke Ferry Annual Festival

The Stoke Ferry Residents Association Festival Committee held an open meeting on 18 July and the editor of the Village Pump asked the question: What is the Festival for? Is it to raise funds for local groups or simply to entertain local residents?

The Committee offers the following as a statement in response.

From very early on those organising the Festival saw its aim as bringing people in Stoke Ferry together. This is a village that tends to see itself as divided, and yet there is a diversity of experience and skills here which should be celebrated. The murals on the old Dukes Head were produced by all ages from the very young to the elderly, by residents and a few visitors, and by people with many different views about the future of the village. They have brightened up the centre of Stoke Ferry and ended the problem with graffiti disfiguring the building. Even if they are not to some people's taste, they have been extremely popular, and those who took part in creating them can feel justifiably proud. It gave them all the chance to unite their different ways of seeing things in a complex vision that was a backdrop to a day of social celebration.

At last year's Festival there were also a "Weird Night Out" rock concert, classical music, a Ceilidh, clowning workshops, a story teller, craft and food stalls, a bouncy castle, tombola and so on and so on. A wide variety of entertainment to suit a wide variety of tastes. The success of this idea could be seen on Trick-or-treat Night, when children went to houses in parts of the village that they had not visited before. They had learned that the whole village was theirs not just a little bit of it. However, this Festival was only the start of a larger process of change.

A group of people living in the village recognised that there was a need for the spirit of the Festival to continue through the year, and they started up Wissey Valley Arts so that local people could share their different views in a creative way. Some of them have also been involved in organising the Festival. As a result we have a local music group that will be performing as part of the Festival this year (alongside an internationally recognised musician).

We will have an exhibition of local artists organised by the art group, which has forged links with Northwold Art Group. We will have a play created and performed by local people from primary school age up to pensioners. There will also be a "Rum Night Out" concert, a cafe and music on the Hill, a story teller, a Ceilidh, clowning workshops, a bigger street market, and other activities. In the autumn Wissey Valley

Arts will also start the village cinema.

Because last year's Festival was well planned, all the funded activities met their budgets. Because the Festival was so successful in attracting stall-holders and advertisers there was a surplus which has been put back into this year's Festival. At the same time those involved in organising the Festival worked unpaid and even refused payment for what they spent on paper, ink, phone calls, travel and so on. As a result we have shown funders that we have a real commitment to continuing with the event in the future. We already have more stalls booked than last year, and 60% of the advertising space in the programme is taken, so people are willing to spend money to be part of the event.

If people in Stoke Ferry and the local area agree with us that the changes inspired by the Festival organised by the Stoke Ferry Residents Association and by Wissey Valley Arts are turning the village into a more wonderful place to be, we would ask you to join us in developing your creativity, helping to organise these events, or just helping out as far as you feel able.

Various people at the open meeting offered to help, and the more people who become involved the easier the task is. Also, the greater the success of the Festival, the greater the respect for the village among its own residents, people locally and those further afield, and the easier it will be to get funding for other projects in Stoke Ferry.

Life is change and growth. Let us grow flowers rather than thorns.


Stoke Ferry Resident's Association

01366 501270www.stokeferryfestival.org

Wissey Valley Arts

01366 500799



Thank you for the clarity of your reply.

Readers, please turn to page 41 of this edition of The Village Pump to see how you can help make the 2007 Stoke Ferry festival an event of which the whole village can be proud .


William Alderton

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