The 10th annual Ben Rhydding Community Fete took place on Saturday 20th June 2015 on the former field of Ilkley Middle School between Valley Drive and Wheatley Lane.
This was a fun-filled afternoon for all age groups, with predominantly dry and warm weather bringing a high attendance by local families and many from further afield.
The Fete was officially opened at 2.00pm by Ilkley Parish Council Chairman, Councillor Brian Mann, along with organiser and Chair of the Fete Committee, Mrs. Karen Palframan. Visitors were then treated to a full two hours of varied entertainment in the main arena, beginning with performances by the Churches Together in Ilkley 2000 (C.T.I.) Dance Group and the Joze School of Performing Arts. The Singe’n’swing Jazz Band were then followed by the men and ladies of the Ben Rhydding Community Choir, led by musician and composer Keely Hodgson, who sang eight numbers in a mixture of English and African dialects! The choir was followed by the Wright Theatre Arts Dance Academy, and the ladies of the Raks Zina Dance Troupe rounded off the entertainment in the main arena.
Meanwhile around the circumference of the arena a wide variety of local clubs, societies, uniformed groups and charities manned stalls, parading their wares and promoting good causes, offering games and selling books, toys, plants and much more, thereby raising money along with their respective profiles within the community.
Sporting activities included golf challenges and cricket skills with the coconut shy. Also, following renewed interest in the sport of croquet at last year’s Fete, there was the opportunity to participate competitively, as Richard Lorimer of Ben Rhydding Croquet Club organised competitions for both children and adults.
St. John’s Church played a large part in the festivities, providing amongst other things the tea tent with hot and cold drinks and delicious home-made cakes, the Singe’n’swing Jazz Band, gate stewards, a “Messy Church” stall and also the very popular barbecue, which raised funds for the Revival Centre in Matugga, Uganda. Members of the Fete Committee performed various roles to ensure the smooth running of the afternoon, with much hard work having gone on beforehand behind the scenes.
Other forms of refreshments available included the beer tent, sponsored by the “Wheatley Arms Hotel”, and the constantly busy Yorkshire Dales ice cream van, attendance at both being boosted by the favourable weather.
The afternoon ended with the ever-popular raffle, prizes for which had been kindly donated by “The Wheatley Arms Hotel”, W.T.A. Dance Academy, Melissa Morton Garden Design, Wharfe Photography, Popalicious cake pops, “Tivoli Cafe Bar”, Furniss Butchers and “The Green Room”.
Mrs Palframan commented “It’s hard to believe that 10 years have flown by since a small group of us came together to organise the 1st fete in 2006. The fete has proved ever popular and I’d like to thank the many unsung volunteers who work so hard to organise the event, and the fantastic performers who give their time to entertain the visitors. We’re particularly grateful this year to Dig it Hire who did a wonderful job clearing all the loose grass from the field. We hope to fix the annual fete date as the 3rd Saturday in June, so pencil in 18th June 2016! ”