The following is the exact text that I submitted the the Hambleden Group Magazine:
Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in Fingest
5th June 2012
It probably could have been predicted without the help of an experienced meteorologist that an extended Bank Holiday week end would be afflicted by representative British Bank Holiday weather. Despite conditions more typical of April the villagers of Fingest of all generations turned out in strength to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen on the afternoon of Tuesday June 5th.
Hardier members of the community ignored the threat of rain, determined to enter into the spirit of the gathering, and donned their chosen fancy dress outfits, the theme being the 1950’s, whilst those with less resilient constitutions took a more pragmatic approach to the prevailing conditions in their choice of attire. The result was that, no matter what decision had been made, nobody attending would have felt out of place.
Tea, consisting of a variety of sandwiches, savouries, cakes and scones, was served to the approval of a robin who raided untended plates from his nest in the bushes, having started with the more succulent offerings before the guests arrived. The Monarch was toasted with a glass of champagne or two, served with Transatlantic enthusiasm and aplomb by the village’s favourite American, no doubt wishing history had turned out contrarily in 1776. Fancy dress outfits were judged, a picture quiz undertaken and a treasure hunt launched. For those that required ‘something a little stronger’ The Chequers Inn remained open throughout the proceedings.
Prizes went to Caroline Shapland for best female fancy dress, who was perhaps appreciating the practicalities of her mother’s WVS uniform, Paul Goddard the men’s prize for his, very authentic looking, Teddy Boy outfit and it was Paul’s grandson who took the honours in the quiz. One wonders if the treasure hunt has yet concluded?
In the gathering gloom some suitably short speeches were made in appreciation of the Queen and all those involved in the organisation of the event. We were reminded that there were no kerbstones in Chequers Lane in 1952 by the only current member of the community who lived in the village at that time.
It is astonishing that no one person wants to take credit for co-ordinating this wonderful occasion. From a core idea that the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee would be celebrated in Chequers Lane it was the Community Spirit of the villagers that ensured that what needed to be done was achieved. Examples include obtaining permission from the Council to officially close the road as well as arranging the necessary insurance and solving the temporary parking problem with some effective and opportune negotiations with the production company of ”Midsomer Murders”, recently on location in the village.
In the morning of the big day the menfolk erected a collection of gazebos and shelters and dismantled them in a downpour subsequently, while so many helped with clearing away and washing up that it would be impossible here to list them all. Equally the loan of crockery, cutlery, tables and chairs came from many quarters, all of which were set up and laid with 150 individual place settings without fuss. The supply of food, a potential logistical nightmare, was achieved like a dream with contributions from nearly every household, equally boiling water was always available for the industrial sized, and much in demand, tea pots.
To single out individuals for special mention would be unfair, they know who they are and what they achieved.
It will be interesting to see if the Editor and Village Elders take a red pen to any of it.