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“‘Tis I, Gerald the Herald…” but I’m sure all you pantomime fans enjoyed yourselves this year. I am now in recovery mode after weeks of scenery painting, including spending all last weekend up at the village hall putting finishing touches to half the scenes and of course the song board which I have been doing for 10 years (it shows!).

At the pantomime, we launched this year’s May Ball. This is our annual event where we try to give the local community the chance to put ‘your glad rags on’ and dance the night away to a live band. This like many of other events is designed to break even or maybe make a small profit for the local community. This year, we hope to be able to replace the roof on Long Marston village hall and any profits will go to this worthwhile cause. Last year’s event raised £400 for the school and we hope with your support that we can achieve a similar result this year. To get you started, we normally lay on some practice lessons at LM, but this year we are supporting the lessons being offered at Wilstone Village Hall on Sunday afternoons (see separate advert) and encourage you all to have a go. My two left feet will hopefully be attending the ball, so why not join me! We are offering £5 off the ticket price of £40 if ordered by the end of March and a table of 8 receives 2 free bottles of wine.

On one of my walks recently, I visited my friend Oliver Matthews and bought some lovely honey and one of his wonderful village plans he compiled just before the millennium. This is an A2 sized print of the Ordinance Survey maps from 1796 and 1996 showing how Long Marston and the surrounding hamlets looked at the time, superbly drawn by Ken Peak, accompanied by some beautifully painted pictures of local landmarks by Phyl Thorpe. With the ever changing village population, the Horti agreed we should reissue these at £10 a copy. Anyone interested should contact Oliver directly on 01296 662181.

Article by Toby Davidson