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At the beginning of January I attended my first Long Marston and Puttenham Horticultural Society AGM, held at Victory Hall. The start time was 8.30pm which in Long Marston time means around 9pm or once everyone had had a chat and refreshments had been set out and we all had a drink and some cheese or fruit to nibble on, then the serious business of the meeting could begin.

In case you don’t know the function of the Long Marston and Puttenham Horticultural Society (the Horti), the committee is responsible for running and funding various village events throughout the year: the Pantomime, the May Ball, the Midsummer Ramble, The Children’s Bike Ride, the Long Marston Village Show, and Carols Round the Tree. Normally meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month at the Queens Head, which happily coincides with the weekly visit of the chip van. As you can see members ensure they are never lacking in sociability or sustenance!

Although I have been involved in the Pantomime and Fete for several years, it’s only since joining the Horti last year that I have become fully aware of the enormous amount of effort and organisation that goes into these treasured village events. Many of the committee members have been running things now for twenty plus years and although still fully committed to the tasks in hand, I sensed a marked degree of anxiety about the sheer volume of work in the year to come, particularly with regard to the Long Marston fete at the beginning of August. One member of the committee even went as far as to suggest that we might have to abandon the outdoor field element and concentrate solely on the Flower and Produce Show in the village hall. What a sad loss that would be! Come rain or shine this summer event has been raising money for the village since 1935, providing an enjoyable day out for family and friends.

Now this was not due to laziness or apathy but the fact that these over burdened, long serving stalwarts are simply cracking under the strain, hence the reason for this article. The Horti needs new members and supporters to fire and inspire and simply share the load. So dear people of Long Marston, Puttenham and surrounding environs, if you care for your Fete and all the other activities which make village life so special, I am appealing to you to come forward! New committee members would be welcomed especially but it will be just as much appreciated if you could volunteer some of your time, especially on one or more of the show weekend days, helping to set up or run a stall, or clearing up afterwards. Or perhaps you have an idea for something new? I can vouch for the fact that taking part in these events is both fun and rewarding and you’ll make new friends into the bargain. So please, even if it’s just to put your name down to help on the day, we’d love to hear from you. Your contribution could make all the difference!

Please call Gill Macdonald on 01296 661974 or Vicky Hayes on 07855 369515 or email the Horti on

Article by Toby Davidson