More photographs of the event and carol singing on the next page.
In the 1960s, village fetes held at the Vicarage had something of an international flavour. Here a United States Air Force contingent from Croughton base arrives in the village and marches to the Vicarage…..
Rev W.S. Pakenham-Walsh was the much loved Vicar of Sulgrave who lived in the Vicarage from 1922 to 1955. He was a patriarchal figure who had been for many years in the late nineteenth century a missionary in China. Despite his rather severe appearance he was a very kindly (and indeed saintly) man of whom the children of my generation in the village would have taken advantage but for the eagle eyes of his formidable wife! In the forties and fifties, the building which is now the Church Hall was part of the vicarage in which were kept a billiard table and, better still, a range of winter sports equipment the likes of which we village children had never seen. There were huge wooden alpine skis with leather straps and wooden sledges with cord bindings which would not have been out of place on polar journeys. As soon as it snowed we would be on his doorstep. “May we borrow the sledges and skis, please, Vicar?” Of course we could and off we went to Castle Hill. Competition for the skis was intense and usually each one ended up as a sort of toboggan with about three children on it. My cousin five years my senior did once gain control of both skis and promptly lost it on the steepest descent and broke his arm!
On one occasion, the BBC sent a tv crew to film the ceremony of “clipping the church“. At that time the vicar was the only person in the village to own a tv set. The broadcast took place early one evening and the village children were invited to the vicarage to watch the programme. It was very unusual for us to gain access to what was for us a rather grand and forbidding Victorian building. We stood in a nervous row, probably clutching our caps, for all the world like the carol singing mice in “Wind in the Willows”.
We gazed in wonder at the tiny, flickering screen and all too soon the performance was over. We were reluctant to move and as something of a spokesman (or spokesboy) I politely asked if we might see some more. The vicar looked in Radio Times and said “I’m afraid there’s only ballet on now, children” to which I naturally replied “….we all love ballet, Vicar….” and so we were allowed to stay a little longer!