The following article is taken from the August & September 2011 edition of Village Voice, reproduced by kind permission of the Editors:

Although a well-timed shower at the commencement of festivities tried to dampen enthusiasm, it totally failed to do so, and large numbers of people flocked to Cuddington’s bunting-strewn streets to enjoy its annual Fête on the 9th July.

The theme was “Hats”, and it was surprising how many of us are closet hat-wearers.  Every conceivable kind of titfer was on display: Panamas, toppers, bowlers, boaters, bonnets, fedoras, sombreros, large–brimmed floppy creations, you name it and someone was wearing it.

Opened by our Strictly Come Dancing king Brendan Cole, the Fête offered all possible fête-ful activities.  A Grand Draw offered a generous cash prize, a meal at the Spread Eagle, a hamper and some wine; a tombola offered baskets of goodies, china-ware, chutneys and wines.

If you felt angry you could splat the rat, smash the china and throw cans in tin pan alley.  You could have won a pork pie and a giant teddy (having named it) while having your face painted.  If you were really hungry a delicious barbeque was there to help.  Or a tasty tea at Tyringham Hall.

After Cuddington Youth Drama performed to their usual high standard, talented performers lined the streets; a quartet of violins and guitars, the Haddenham Hoofers, always a pleasure to watch, none of them ever puts a foot wrong.

St Nicholas’ Church put on a fascinating display showing the eventful life in the village during 2010, and also guided tours up the tower for those not too vertiginous.  And in the Methodist Chapel you could send a card to a soldier in Afghanistan – which are found to be very supportive.

If your speciality was guessing the weight of cakes, well, you could have done that.  Stalls were selling plants,cakes, jams, sweets, painted horseshoes, books, toys, ice cream and greeting cards.  If you preferred a gamble the lucky dip was waiting.  The Carrs had their Kampala Music School stall selling indigenous artefacts and jewellery.

Ever come across a human fruit machine?  There was one of those.  On the Lower Green there were larger attractions.  Tractor rides, farm animals, and a handful of memory-stirring classic cars.  Cici Coco, Cuddington’s little bit of Italy, offered delicious home-made pasta dishes.

And there were many other attractions all round the village, too numerous to mention but all contributing to the conviviality.
Chris Blumer, barely recognisable under a vast top hat and behind an enormous bow-tie, very professionally conducted the auction where a huge variety of lots was on display and which attracted a large number of enthusiastic bidders.  And the whole was splendidly controlled by the excellent M C-manship of Mike Cottman.

And as you left the village, tired and penniless but having greatly enjoyed yourself, you would have seen a fire engine with its rescue ladder reaching up to the clouds.

After the initial rain the afternoon happily remained dry, and the fete was a great success – earning over £9,000.  Congratulations to everyone who played a part to create a most enjoyable afternoon.

A special thank you to Jayne Davidson who, in spite of having to pack up to leave Cuddington, as Chairman, led her team into producing such a happy and successful Fête.

Many thanks also to Jayne and Philip for all the many things they have done for the village during their years in Cuddington. We will certainly miss them but we wish the family every happiness in their new home.

John Fortgang