Changeable weather could not dampen spirits at a local event last weekend. Despite some heavy, intermittent showers, a packed programme of music, games, stalls, demonstrations and refreshments still drew crowds of visitors to the Ben Rhydding Community Fete last Saturday afternoon.
Held on the former Middle School field on Valley Drive and Wheatley Lane, the Fete was opened by organiser, Mrs Karen Palframan, along with Cllr. Heathcliffe Bowen, Chair of Ilkley Parish Council, local Olympian, Jo Ellis and 9 year old Alice Kealey who had won the programme cover design competition.
This year’s theme was the Olympics and a big attraction was the opportunity to hold the Olympic torch carried by Steve Newell, through Bradford the previous week. Visitors could also have their photograph taken holding the torch and, if they chose, have it put on a mug as a personal memento. This initiative was organised by the Friendship Foundation, a charity founded by former Ben Rhydding vicar Rev. Brian Gregory. The Friendship Foundation teaches about Romania, organises exchanges, helps with community initiatives and social projects there and campaigns against trafficking.
Jo Ellis of Ben Rhydding Hockey Club, part of Team GB in Beijing in 2008, signed autographs and chatted with youngsters, encouraging them to get involved with sport at an early age, whilst some other youngsters aged 8 years old upwards, gave demonstrations of their Karate skills with the Ilkley Karate Club.
Music also played a big part in the afternoon’s entertainment, with jazz from Singe’n’Swing and rock and roll from a new group, The Good Buddys. The afternoon was a first outing too, for the Ben Rhydding Community Choir who, despite a torrential downpour during their performance, carried on regardless, to the delight of spectators under umbrellas.
More music and dance came from Joze School of Dance. This included a début by a five member boy band, The Guise. Aged 10-15 years, The Guise have only been singing together for three months, but attracted a large and enthusiastic audience with their singing, choreography and professionalism.
As the Fete ended with the annual Raffle draw Mrs Palframan thanked local businesses and all involved for their generosity and support in helping make a success of the day and, perhaps reinforcing the sporting theme, said “It’s very much a team effort”.
Olympian Jo Ellis said, “The conversations I had with parents and children were fantastic and it’s lovely to see that people are passionate about not only sport and the Olympics but their community too.”