How families had fun in 1947


Cowbeech Bonfire Society’s annual Dig For Victory fête has been given some real-life inspiration after a historic flyer advertising a similar event in 1947 was uncovered.

Dig For Victory is a 1940s-themed village fête that will celebrate its 21st year when it takes place later this year, on the first Sunday in August.

However, organisers have now been able to compare their event to a fête that actually took place in post-war Britain thanks to a green flyer found by a Cowbeech resident, advertising the event in 1947.

Taking place in Merry Harriers Field on Saturday, July 19, the event kicked off at 2pm ‘sharp’ with a fancy dress parade for boys and girls up to 14 years of age. This was followed by a Punch and Judy show at 3pm before an afternoon of sports for children and adults, including egg and spoon races, sack races, wheelbarrow races and family relays.

Another Punch and Judy show took place at 5.30pm before raffle results and an auction at 6.15pm.

The event was finished off with Tug of War at 7pm, as teams battled for the Symondson Challenge Cup and the Open Challenge Cup.

Teas and ices were served throughout the day and other attractions included pony rides, bowling for a pig, a children’s roundabout and numerous novelty side shows.

Les Webb, committee member of Cowbeech Bonfire Society, said: “In the immediate post-war period, rationing was still widespread and there was financial austerity and much bomb damage yet to be rebuilt, but the local population appear to have been determined to create a good time with the resources that were at their disposal.

“There were raffles and auctions then, as there are now, but the evening was taken up by Tug of War competitions, an activity that Cowbeech excelled at pre-war and post-war, culminating in an appearance in a National Competition at the White City, where they only lost out to a team from the British Army.

“The Cowbeech Bonfire Society will be delighted to hear from anybody that has memories or photographs from the 1947 fête.”

Dig For Victory encourages guests to dress in 1940s style and exhibits uniforms and vehicles from that era.

For more information, contact Les Webb on 01323 842370 or email Information may also be left at the Merrie Harriers Inn marked for his attention.

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