In 2002, fête visitors were transported back in time to the England of the Middle Ages.  Here’s how the August 2002 edition of Village Voice reported the event:

The sun shone, the music played and the village enjoyed the biggest and most successful summer fête in its history.  All the fears over the weather proved to be groundless as the sun blazed its way through the village, sending all the committee (who were hard at work all morning setting up) home with sunburn.

There were, of course, the usual last-minute panics: Louise kidnapped Kevin at the village crossroads, evicting Saskia from the car to whisk him off to Nether Winchendon in a hunt for the missing coconut shy; Chris dashed off to the studios of Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio to hijack an extra set of public address speakers; and surely that wasn’t a fire engine parking on the Upper Green?  (We didn’t think they could make it!)

But promptly at half-past one the procession began, with Louise’s sister-in-law leading St George (alias fête chairman Karl Hine) on his mighty steed Uppity and Cuddington’s Medieval Pageant was under way.   The procession looked magnificent, with dozens of villagers in medieval costume and of course the children with their bright red and white shields and swords.  When the procession arrived at the Bernard Hall, Sherry Scott formally opened the proceedings and introduced Jill McCullough from BBC daytime TV’s “Life’s Too Short” programme.  Both then welcomed visitors to the pageant.

To say that this was a busy afternoon would be an understatement.  One poor woman on the “Nearly-New” stall removed her cardigan in the heat and disappeared for a few minutes, and by the time she returned her cardy had been sold!  The pig roast was all served up in little more than an hour, meaning frantic dashes to the fridge for the reserve stocks of burgers.  Michael, John and Tom were coping with a roaring trade in beer, punch and soft drinks, with the queue stretching out well into the road at times.  Owing to the heat and the weight of his heavy armour – which he refused to take off – St George jumped the queue a number of times to demand and consume pints of medieval ale, claiming he would otherwise faint.  Failure to oblige would no doubt have meant being run through by the thirsty knight’s sword, so the team complied!  The bar did actually run out of beer and were down to their last bottle of orange when the show finished, but after a few glasses of special medieval brew everyone seemed to be extremely happy nevertheless.  And the fire crew?  They disappeared half way through the afternoon on an emergency call!

The Lion Rampant stole the show with their amazing portrayals of medieval life on the Lower Green, culminating in a fierce sword fight between two “knights in shining armour”.  (That’s not quite how Chris described it over the public address system, but we’ll move swiftly on…!)  When the pageant finally came to a close, Treasurer Louise Waters’ smile grew ever wider as the takings were counted, and she realised that this was going to be a record year.  The final totals are not yet available, but it looks as if well over £4,000 will be distributed to the church, school, and other village concerns.