War Memorial Gary Trouton


November 2007

Daphne provides an upreat report on the successful Stoke Ferry 2007 Festival.

The second Stoke Ferry Annual Festival took place over the weekend of 21st and 22nd September 2007. The tremendous success of the inaugural festival last year meant that this years organising committee had to be very much on their mettle. And so they proved to be!

The Festival Weekend started off with a Night on the Fiddle, with Steve Bingham and Skins and Strings at All Saints Church. Steve Bingham was once again a pleasure to sit and listen to. Apart from having a successful international career with The Bingham String Quartet, on his second visit to the Stoke Ferry Festival, Steve brought his own enthusiasm and artistry, adding his own brand of music to the festival. Skins and Strings are local people brought together to form a musical group. The youngest is only seven years old. It was great to see so many people in the group from Stoke Ferry. Listeners were clapping and feet tapping; a really great way to launch this years festival.

Saturday saw the "Night out with Sid Kipper". With five books, six albums and several radio appearances to his credit, Sid crowned his career with this, his first appearance at the Stoke Ferry Festival. In his own inimitable style he entertained the audience with a barrage of jokes, stories, music and song. Sid told his story of The Seasons, starting with Christmas and going through the year, which was very funny.

On the Sunday of the weekend entertainment was held all day from l0am until 10pm. An even busier street market than last year featured all types of stalls filling the High Street. Local groups from the village were there and many more from Norfolk. There were fresh vegetables, jewellery, raffles, white elephants stall, woodturning, plants, postcards, basket making and much more, including an art exhibition in the church by local artists.

On the hill was Mooncoin, a four piece band playing folk music. Bazza Bizarre came once again to entertain the crowd and went down as well as last year. Minstrels Gallery played music from yesteryear on instruments some onlookers had never seen before, and also led the parade from the shop through the high street with the Town Crier. The Foolhardy Circus, put together after only a few weeks of the group being formed, entertained the audience during the day with a Stoke Ferry "Histery Play" written and produced by local residents, William and Jackie Anderton.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Downham Market visited as did, to the organisers delight, the Patron of the Stoke Ferry Residents' Association, Julian Clary. Inevitably, this popular Television and Stage personality attracted other stars including Stephen Fry of "Kingdom" fame and Julian's very good friend Kit Hesketh-Harvey, all of whom vowed to include next years event in their diaries.

In the evening a Ceilidh was held, with everyone having a great time with Hodmedod, another foot stomping performance all evening, which was free to anyone who wanted to come along.

The food and drinks were supplied by Wissey Valley Foods and Brewery, and the event was put together by the Stoke Ferry Residents' Association. Reactions from the many visitors to the various weekend events suggest this was yet another success for the hard pressed Residents' Association. Well done to the Festival Committee; your hard work on behalf of the village gave so many people a delightful weekend.

Daphne Clements

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