All eyes were skyward on Saturday, 18th June 2011 ahead of Livability Holton Lee’s Summer Fair, especially after the preceding day’s downpour.
Would anyone turn up? Was it to be a washout or a winner?
Despite a sharp shower or two in the afternoon, the worst of the weather seemed to skirt Livability Holton Lee with sunshine – enough to cause the odd red nose and sunburnt bonce – and broken cloud as the order of the day.
And what a day it turned out to be…
Billed as the biggest and best Summer Fair yet, it was, actually, only Livability Holton Lee’s second, more than 1,200 people – an increase of around 350 on 2010 – made the journey to Livability Holton Lee to enjoy the attractions.
More than £3,500 was raised to continue Livability Holton Lee’s work, which includes enabling people with disabilities and further developing inclusivity and barrier-free environmental, artistic and wellbeing concepts.
Monies raised will also go towards the purchase of “stretched” golf buggy, called an AmBug, which will allow up to four wheelchair users to access greater areas of the 350-acre estate near Poole, Dorset.
One of the big draws, and not just for children, was the teddy-bear catapult.
“British Bearways”, as it was inevitably dubbed, was built by Livability Holton Lee’s team of volunteers and from it brave bears were launched over the Campfield. The record – 22.30 metres – was set by a bear named Acapella owned by local lad Oliver Davies.
There was great interest, too, in the rural crafts demonstrated elsewhere on the Campfield and in the Hart’s Marquees Arts Marquee. Many visitors took delight in watching rural crafts including bodging with pole-lathes to spinning and from embroidery to stonemasonry.
A number of spectators also signed up for courses at Livability Holton Lee to learn these same skills from artisans, as well as other courses as offered by the Workers’ Educational Association.
Of equal interest was a have-a-go session from the Bowmen of Lytchett, which saw budding Robin and Robyn Hoods of all ages and abilities learning the art of archery. Popular, too, was an exhibition and sale of pieces by Wessex Contemporary Arts, which was held in the Faith House gallery space.
One of the highlights of the Summer Fair was the unveiling of a picnic bench, close to the Pottery Pavilion, for people who attend 15 Days In Clay, the ceramics course run by Janna Edwards based at Livability Holton Lee that enables adults with a physical or learning disability the opportunity to develop their ceramic creative skills.
The bench, close to Livability Holton Lee’s Pottery Pavilion, was bought with monies raised by Matthew Hawes, who attends the course.
Matthew completed 64 lengths – equivalent to almost one mile – of the Rossmore Leisure Centre swimming pool, which he attends with the Poole-based organisation Strictly Vitality.
Said Matthew, “I think pottery is brilliant, everybody helps me and we have fun. I think the bench will look splendid.”
Many people took time to walk – possibly to work off the delicious cream teas served from the Farmhouse – round the Labyrinth en route to the Dutch Barn, which had been changed for the day from a craft centre to another music venue, and Ashtree Cottage Garden. Tours around the garden were led by Horticulture Manager Karen Gerry. Sales of plants, vegetables and other produce grown or made at Livability Holton Lee were strong.
Raffle tickets (full list of winning numbers below) sold by the hundred and the top prizes – a family ticket to Camp Bestival, a planter bench made and donated by Fat Leaf and VIP tickets to the British F3/GT – proved very popular. Ross Clark (left) – of Fat Leaf – who made the planter bench handed the prize to lucky winner Ricky Alders.
All staff at Livability Holton Lee express their sincerest thanks to the volunteers who put in many hours of work to make the Summer Fair such a success and of course to all the visitors. We look forward to greeting them – and many more – at the 2012 Summer Fair on June 16th.