Praise for Goosnargh and Whittingham Whit Festival’s volunteers

The Hill Chapel Smurfs at Goosnargh and Whittingham Whitsuntide Festival
The Hill Chapel Smurfs at Goosnargh and Whittingham Whitsuntide Festival
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Tribute has been paid to the dedicated band of volunteers and committee members following yet another successful Goosnargh and Whittingham Whitsuntide Festival on Saturday.

Chairman David Butters said: “Overall the day was splendid. It was a bit cold, but at least it was dry. It all went really smoothly and this is not only down to the work of the committee, which works all through the year; but to those who help out at events and then come along again to volunteer on festival day.”

David particularly wishes to thank all who prepared The Square and cleared up afterwards; those who managed the procession and road blocks and the residents of The Square for their co-operation.

“We cannot do without them,” he said, adding that, thanks as always, go to all those who take part.

A new addition at the festival had been John and Wendy Gornall with their penny farthing and this had created lots of interest, David even having had a go himself “after everyone had left The Square!”

Crowds turned out to line the procession route, as bunting blew in the wind and a line-up of topical and colourfully decorated floats and fancy dress included the WI marking 100 years of their organisation and the Mothers’ Union 150 years of Alice in Wonderland, while others chose the “ducks, geese and feathers” theme of the day with entries such as “Chicken in a Basket” or “Goosnargh Ducklings.”

Reality TV brought in “Benidorm comes to Goosnargh” and “Goosnargh The Island” and other crowd pullers included “The Smurfs,” “Shaun the Sheep,” “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” and “A fishy tale of the one that got away.”

There was dancing by the village maypolers and Carol May Academy, no less than four bands including Longridge, Bolton Caledonian; The Eclipse Parade Band and Paul Rigby; queens and their retinues from surrounding villages and a group of dignatories including festival judges, church representatives, councillors and Preston Mayor, Coun Margaret McManus.

This year’s festival queen Melissa Crawley, with a regal purple chosen to be included in her outfit and that of her retinue all looked resplendent, as did retiring queen Abbie Cornall and retinue with pink included in their’s.

After a busy year, which also included charity fund raising, retiring queen Abbie crowned Melissa who, like her predecessor, is all set to raise funds throughout her reign.

Festival secretary Stephanie Butters also praised voluntary helpers, saying: “I would like to pay tribute to the magnificent team who make festival day happen. This year has been exceptional. Few would realise treasurer Jill Piner and her mum had suffered a tragic loss just days ago or that Andy Siele organised the raffle, was special guardian to festival queen Melissa and won a prize in the decorated house competition; or that sponsorship secretaries Sharon Swarbrick and Shirley Havard, with their lists hot off the press, were buttering bread at 8am on festival morning; decorating the judges’ trailer, then rushing off to decorate their prize winning float.

“We also thank the army of volunteers who appeared to prepare the renowned celebration tea,” adding stunning bouquets were presented to “two unsung heroes” - these being Elsie Clarke, who inspired the rejuvenation of the tea 20 years ago and who still, in her 90s, helps out every year, and Paul Cross “who cheerfully bakes, roasts, slices and delivers all manner of delicious treats and then disappears.”

Her list of thanks is endless and concluding, said: “The support we are getting is remarkable....I think the village is really, really fortunate to have such people.”


Decorated Shops and Houses (judged by Brenda Horsfield and Nan Bibby): Shops: 1 - Goosnargh Pharmacy, 2 - Classic Cut. Houses:

1 - Goosnargh Ducks Gone Quackers by the Ibison family, 2 - Gooner Duck by the Siele family, HC - Dale House Scarecrows by Tom Luke. Special entry. Themed Decorated Umbrella ‘Ducks Geese and Feathers’ by Bushell House.

Floats (judged by Serita Robinson and Tina Marsland): Schools and Organisations: 1 - The Smurfs by St Francis RC Primary School, 2 - Fifty Years of Alice in Wonderland by Goosnargh St Mary’s Mothers’ Union, 3 - Goosnargh Ducklings by Goosnargh Ducklings Toddler Group, 4 - One Hundred Years of the WI by Whittingham and Goosnargh WI. Friends and Family: 1 - Goosnargh the Island by the Holdens and Watkinson families and friends, 2 - The Big One That Got Away by the Havard and Swarbrick families and friends, 3 - Benidorm comes to Goosnargh by the Landless family. Trophies: the Barton Grange Trophy for the best float: The Smurfs by St Francis Primary School and the Jill Siele Trophy for the best in class: Goosnargh The Island by the Holdens and Watkinsons.

Fancy dress (judged by Susan and Rob Jones): Groups: Joint first: Shaun the Sheep by Ollies Nursery and Sing a Song of Sixpence by MBM families. Character class: 1 - My Fair Lady by Eleana Grixty, runner-up - Two Little Birds by Beth and Leah Astley. The Alternative Class: 1 - Goosnargh Punks by Evan and Nye Marsland-Davies, runners-up - The Mad Scientist by Kelvin Robinson and The Vampire by Heather Robinson. Adults: 1 - Over 50’s chickens, Chicken in a Basket by John Shepherd and Andrew Baxendale, runner-up - Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter by Andy Siele’s raffle team. Overall best fancy dress: Shaun the Sheep by Ollies and most original - Sing a Song of Sixpence by the MBM families.