The Sheriff, the Songs and the Silverskin Onions!

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Tonight, everything was in place for the Rowell Fair Society’s final Members’ Evening of the year!

Paul Johnson
Sue Johnson

At just after 8 o’clock, Paul Johnson (President of the RFS) and Sue Johnson (RFS Secretary) introduced the evening and set the scene for what was to come. First, an informal chat from the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire about the role of the High Sheriff, followed by the musical talents of the Burton Latimer Ukulele & Drum Group.

The Group’s all here! Can you spot the RFS Committee Members?

But first: an official apology from the Rowell Fair Society! If you live within a 10-mile radius of the Conservative Club in Rothwell, we apologise for the noise – it was simply RFS Members and their guests enjoying their final Meeting of the year. We hope it didn’t spoil your evening 😁

The jar of silverskin onions remained almost full for the whole evening! ☹️

It was easily our best turnout for the year, with everyone here looking forward the unusual pairing of The High Sheriff of Northamptonshire and The Burton Latimer Ukulele & Drum Group – and we think that’s a ‘first’ in itself! πŸ˜‰. The Society had also laid-on some essential ‘nibbles’ for everyone. As a result, it’s fair to say, it all felt very festive!

The High Sheriff of Northamptonshire


The High Sheriff of Northamptonshire

I guess that not many people really know what a High Sheriff does. Images of an unshaven maverick wearing a five-pointed star and sporting a six-shooter aren’t really the ‘done thing’ in Rothwell, let alone, Northamptonshire – and Crispin Holborow (the current High Sheriff of the County and also Deputy Lord Lieutenant) was here to share some very interesting aspects of the role. Crispin was also accompanied by his wife – Louise Holborow – daughter of the Lord of the Manor.

In his short informal chat, Crispin (dressed in full High Sheriff regalia complete with ceremonial sword) gave us an enjoyable insight into how the role began, how it has evolved and how it relates to us in modern society.

High Sheriffs are appointed by His Majesty the King to represent him in each county in matters relating to the judiciary and the maintenance of law and order. The role also includes being responsible for the welfare of visiting High Court Judges.

The High Sheriff lends active support to the principal organs of the constitution within the county including the Royal Family, the Judiciary, the Police and other law enforcement agencies. As an example of the role in action, earlier this year, the High Sheriff read the Accession Proclamation of Charles III. Additionally, the emergency services, local authorities, church and faith groups are keenly supported.

The High Sheriff takes an active part in promoting the voluntary sector and Crispin spoke specifically of the great work done by this county’s emergency services, First Responders and the charity Home-Start based in Kettering.

We also learned the origins of the phrase ‘Reading the Riot Act‘ and also the meaning of ‘Hue and Cry‘.

It was a fascinating glimpse into this historic position that lasts only year but is four years in the making.


The Burton Latimer Ukulele and Drum Group


So many in the Group, we couldn’t quite get them all in the photo!

Those who thought tonight would simply be some form of George Formby tribute act were in for a very pleasant surprise! The 21-strong band were in fine form, singing and playing their hearts out.

Their typical playlist consists of music from the 60s, 70s and 80s, but tonight RFS Members and their guests were treated to something very special. The Group sounded and (with their festive attire) looked the part, as they launched into a series of specially prepared Festive favourites.

If multiple ukuleles of varying shapes and sizes and a cajΓ³n (type of drum) weren’t enough, we also had accompaniment from the occasional whistle, hand-bells and a kazoo!

Beginning with Frosty the Snowman, the Group were in fine voice encouraging us to all join in. RFS Members needed no encouragement, so much so, that non-attendees, elsewhere in the Club were queuing to see what all the fuss was about.

Within minutes, everyone was either singing, tapping their feet or thumping their table in time to the music. A great atmosphere was created through their superb playing, but not only that, they were great entertainers too!

This was a Band with a big sound and a big personality. There may have been only 21 of them, but their overall music sounded much ‘bigger’! Good voices too that complemented their playing perfectly.

The Songs

Festive hit followed festive hit, catering for all ages! πŸ‘

  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer
  • Santa Baby
  • Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  • Merry Christmas Everybody
  • Step into Christmas
  • Stop the Cavalry
  • Don’t They Know It’s Christmas?
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas

And then, just in case we might be getting bored with the Christmas theme (we weren’t!), the Group treated us to some of their own favourites featuring hits by Del Shannon, The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Coldplay, Slade, Wizzard, Bing Crosby and Johnny Mathis.

  • My Little Runaway
  • Jumpin’ Jack Flash
  • Johnny B Good
  • Great Balls of Fire
  • Rule the World
  • Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday
  • White Christmas
  • Winter Wonderland

Around an hour later, the evening was almost over – more’s the pity! Everyone seemed to have had a great time, judging by the applause for both of our guest attractions.


“There’s Ukulele Bands and there’s you! Fantastic!”

Paul Johnson – President, Rowell Fair Society


In a very generous gesture by the Group, they offered their donation back to The High Sheriff for the Home-Start Charity in Kettering. Big thanks from all of us at the RFS!

There was now just one more activity to round off the evening – the legendary RFS Raffle. Bailiff to the Lord of the Manor and our RFS Chair, Frank York called the numbers, leaving many of our guests with smiles on their faces as they claimed their prizes!

Sue (Johnson) brought the evening to a close by thanking our guests and reminding everyone of key dates for some important forthcoming events including:-

  • Desborough Gala – 25 November
  • Rothwell Gala – 2 December
  • The Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival 2-5 December
  • The next RFS Members Meeting and AGM – 15 February 2023 – where our guest speaker will be Adrian Perkins, the Ghost Detective (more information HERE) πŸ‘»πŸ‘»

The final words of this memorable evening were left to Frank (York) wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year” on behalf of the Rowell Fair Society Committee, whilst looking forward to seeing everyone in 2023!



L to R: Sue Johnson (RFS Secretary), Paul Johnson (RFS President), Crispin Holborow (High Sheriff of Northamptonshire), Louise Holborow (Daughter of the Lord of the Manor) and Frank York (Bailiff to the Lord of the Manor and Chair of the RFS)