North Waltham Village celebrated 50 years of enjoyment of Cuckoo Meadow on Saturday, with the Deputy Mayor, local Councillors and Sir George and Lady Young.
Extract from Richard Tanner's notes.
Fifty years ago, William Rathbone gave Cuckoo Meadow to the people of North Waltham. The Village Trust was set up to administer this. Villagers converted the field into a recreation ground, built changing rooms and the play area, holding events like an annual fete to fund these. Each organisation in the village, from church, school and parish council to toddlers, youth and friendship clubs, sends a representative to join public members at monthly meetings of the Trust.
In recent years, the Village Trust has revamped the children's playground (through Paul Winstone), and improved the pavilion (through Trustee Mike Robinson working with Barratts and Trustee Simon Hodgson with Borough and County). Regular parish grants and the full-time playgroup have put the Trust on a firm financial foundation, but this commercial enterprise needs to be matched by new community initiatives. We've had the Millennium Fair (2000) and the Art Show (2002), and it's now Jubilee Celebration time.
27 September 2003 will remind everyone of the work put in by the Village Trust over the last 50 years. Indeed, Simon is putting together a history to show how William Rathbone's gift has become the centrepiece of our community. As well as celebrating the past and showing how meadow and pavilion are used today, we want to know your ideas on what should happen in the future, and how you can contribute to making that happen.
Current users are invited to show what they do. Each will mount a static display in the pavilion and/or contribute an event to the afternoon's programme. Potential users are also welcome to join in - if you're that young person itching to train a rounders team or to build your college CV by running a brownie pack, we'll try to put you in touch with an adult to guide you.
William Rathbone Junior (son and Trustee) will be there, shown round by ex-Trustee Ben Bailey, and we hope the other ex-Trustee, Rose Fraser, will be fit enough to join us.
But 27 Sep 03 is not only a celebration. Looking ahead, it should be the start of a community project. The afternoon will be recorded digitally, in picture and sound, and put on CD through the Web so everyone has access to it. We hope this 21st Century scrapbook, sponsored by Awards for All, will be the start of a bigger project.
It seems we're in line for a Local Heritage Initiative grant to do four things in 2003/4:
I. Design and publish a Village Trail around the conservation area
2. Record the memories of older residents as part of Oral History
3. Design and publish a picture booklet of Life in North Waltham through the
4. Village Trust commemorative display board in village car park.