Rowell Fair 2024 – Trinity Sunday

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Welcome to Rowell Fair’s Trinity Sunday 2024.

Today, we shadowed RFS President, Paul Johnson as he travelled between events on this very special part of Rowell Fair Week – Trinity Sunday.

As always with the Rowell Fair, today was a packed programme, where the only element that we couldn’t control – the weather – brought us the occasional showers and a cool breeze – but later, some glorious sunshine! ☀️😎

Rowell Fair Programme of Events 2024

Rowell Fair Programme of Events 2024

Still, our famous Rowell Fair has been running for over 800 years and we weren’t going to let a few spots of rain spoil the occasion! 👍.

In 2024, as Rowell Fair Week also coincided with a Bank Holiday – and that meant it was more popular than ever! (For those reading this from abroad, a Bank Holiday in England gives us an extra day’s holiday and where the weather is almost always unpredictable! Getting wet, when we should be sunbathing, is part of being a Brit!). 😀

Everyone has their own view as to the most iconic part of today, but for many, the official blessing of our ancient Charter Fair is a high-point – and there’s more about that later. For those new to Rothwell, you can read the history of this pivotal event on our new webpage HERE.

As an extra reason to celebrate (not that Rothwell needs a reason!), 2024 was our 820th Anniversary too! Later, as part of the special celebration, we were to give away a large quantity of our famous Rowell Fair Curd Tarts to the welcoming crowd – commissioned by the RFS and freshly baked, courtesy of local Baker, Olivers.

Paul Johnson (President, RFS), Ash Davies (Mayor of Rothwell), Frank York (Bailiff to the Lord of the Manor)

The Model Fair Exhibition

The first stop today was at the Model Fair Exhibition at Tresham Hall. If you like your fairground attractions, this is the place to see them all under one roof – and their creators too! It’s hard to convey in words the level of precision that has gone into creating these miniature masterpieces!

The last photograph above had a special significance to us here in Rothwell. Paul Needham was from Rothwell… but from Rothwell in LEEDS. Together with Martin Cooper and Simon Brazil, they had faithfully recreated a street scene from our very own Rothwell as part of their exhibit.

By way of the thank-you for the exhibitors’ support for the Rowell Fair, Ash Davies (Mayor of Rothwell) and Louise Holborow (Lord of the Manor) accompanied by President of the Rowell Fair Society, Paul Johnson (who also passed on his gratitude) visited each owner and their exhibits, presenting them with complimentary RFS tote bag.

Thanks again to all the Exhibitors!

Thanks Dave!

But of course, events like these don’t ‘just happen’ each year without a lot of planning. Dave Arthur, is not only an exhibitor, but he helps to organise the Model Exhibition from the ground-up. Ash and Louise passed on their grateful thanks from all of us for another superb Exhibition this year. Dave was also presented with his very own RFS tote bag.

The Classic Vehicle Display

Next stop was the Classic Car Display held in the Charter Inn car-park. We had slightly fewer entries than last year, but being a Bank Holiday, we were also competing with other, nearby shows. Ian Dudley (RFS Committee) managed the whole event, ably assisted on the day by Rowellian, Keith Lewis.

Rain, rain, stay away!

Our bigger concern was the weather. The day had begun with a very grey sky and we wondered if we’d ever see some blue breaking through for this competition. We needn’t have worried! Someone was smiling on us, and the sun came out just as the cars came up for inspection!

Judges in action!

Our Judges, Rothwell Mayor, Ash Davies and Steam Engine Supremo, Allen Eaton MBE carefully looked at each vehicle (including a number of mopeds, tractors – and a coach) weighing up their various qualities.

What we might have lacked in vehicle numbers, we more than made up for with variety! Corvettes, Minis, Austin 7s, Spitfires and a rare Jowett Javelin (last year’s winner) plus many more – including a Bedford Coach!

Of course, there had to be a result and after much head-scratching, Ash and Allen reached a decision! Two prizes were up for grabs: ‘Special Award’ and ‘Best in Show’.

Classic Car Show 2024
– “Special Award”

The Special Award for 2024 went to Ian Clayton for his 1940s Willy’s Jeep.

Classic Car Show 2024
– “Best in Show”

Best in Show was awarded to Mick Bishop and his immaculate 1976 MGB Roadster.

Our thanks to Roger and Susan Barratt, Butch Bagnell, Ian Clayton, Alan Garaghty, John Dainty, Pat Farmer, Stuart Summerfield, Dave Bennett, Robert Hall, Richard Summerlin, Terry Rainbow, Mr Mellors, Andy, Alex, Alan, Victor and Sam for braving the weather forecast and showing-off their vehicles!

Our thanks to everyone who took part. As a small token of the RFS’s appreciation, Louise Holborow (Lord of the Manor) distributed RFS tote bags to all entrants. Thanks too to Lennie Newman and staff of the Rowell Charter Inn.

RFS Lifetime Membership Award

As part of our 820th celebrations, Allen and Jane Eaton were presented with their ‘Rowell Fair Society Lifetime Membership’ Award for their services to the Rowell Fair. Congratulations!

And just as if it was all part of the immaculate planning, a few seconds after all the awards and bags had been handed out – in went the sun and down came the rain (the very large and heavy variety!).

Street Entertainment

Sadly, due to a bereavement, Balls-Up Jugglers were unable to join us this year. We send Andy Wright and his family our condolences.

Mr Crumble

The RFS President and Mr Crumble

Mr Crumble was very active, entertaining our younger visitors – and sometimes older visitors as well – with his remarkable balloon sculpting skills. You pick an animal and Mr Crumble will make it!

Burton Latimer Ukelele & Drum Group

The weather was improving, but just in case, the Ukelele & Drum Group had been given a new temporary home undercover with the Dodgems, courtesy of John Holland, just in case the rainy weather returned.

With their unique blend of superb ukelele and drumming skills as well as their strong vocals, it was good to see the Group back with us after last year’s excellent performance. Their choice of songs certainly got the toes tapping – and even the sun was now putting on a good show too!

The Civic Parade to Holy Trinity Church

Just after 1.35, the Civic Parade made its journey towards Holy Trinity Church.

Steered by RFS Committee member, Ian Dudley, and led by the Northamptonshire Pipe Band, the Parade featured representatives from the town including: RFS President, Paul Johnson, his wife Sue Johnson (RFS Secretary), Reverends Andrew Farrington and Andy Giles; Lord of the Manor, Louise Holborow, Rothwell Mayor, Ash Davies; Local Councillor Ian Jelley, Town Clerk, Jo Garner, representatives of various local youth organisations, Matt Garner, Chair, Rothwell Preservation Trust, all flanked by RFS Halberdiers – Colin Bell, Les Voss, Wayne Woods and Steve Wells.

The procession took around 15 minutes and for safety, local roads had been closed. The sun continued to shine for us all and it was a great sight to see the great and the good of Rothwell all together heading in the same direction!

Following the procession were two of Allen Eaton’s steam engines. Just like last year, they certainly encourage everyone to take even more photographs.

The Civic Service

Around fifteen minutes later, the procession arrived at Holy Trinity Church.

The Procession entered the Church where Revd. Andy Giles gave us a warm welcome. He led the Service supported by Revd Andrew Farrington.

After the first Hymn and a Prayer, Rothwell Mayor, Ash Davies read from Romans 12 verses 1-8.

Andrew Farrington then delivered his sermon about the advantages of ‘teamwork’ for the benefit of the community, followed by the Hymn ‘Jerusalem’. Young members of the Cubs then led the prayers and the Service concluded with the National Anthem.

The procession then made their way to the Fairground.

The Blessing of the Fair

L to R: Sue Johnson (RFS Secretary) Lloyd Mills (Deputy Bailiff), Steve Wells (Halberdier), Revd. Andrew Farrington, Colin Bell (Halberdier), Revd. Andy Giles, Pam Roper (Chorister), Brenda Austin (Chorister), Philip Hollobone, MP and his wife, Natalie, Ash Davies (Mayor of Rothwell)

Revd. Andy Giles led the Blessing. This included the National Anthem, the Hymns ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and ‘Praise my Soul’, the Showman’s Prayer (see above and HERE on our website for details). Once Andy had officially opened the Fair, there was an extra surprise… free Tarts!

The view from The Waltzer

The Rowell Fair Tart – Revisited!

The Rowell Fair Society know a thing or two about the famous Rowell Fair Tart. After yesterday’s successful Rowell Fair Tart Competition, to further celebrate our 820th, we went one step further. Commissioned by the Rowell Fair Society and baked to perfection by nearby Olivers Bakery, some 400 Tarts were given away free. For some, it would be their first taste of this iconic treat. Demand was strong… very strong!

Paul Johnson (RFS President), Sue Johnson (RFS Secretary), Louise Holborow (Lord of the Manor) and Major Johnny Powell (Father of Louise)

Everyone queued (as us Brits do) and soon reinforcements were needed to help distribute them. Frank York, Sue Johnson, her son, Ben and even the new Rothwell Mayor, Ash Davies lent a hand to help manage the demand.

With the Tarts having found their new home… sometimes twice! the Fair was beginning to fill up. The weather had held and everyone was looking like they were having a great time!

For those wanting a slightly gentler pursuit, over in the Methodist Church, the Gretton Silver Band were in concert.

A Bird’s-eye View of the Fair

Our thanks to Graham Butler for this year’s drone footage taken on Saturday, 25th May.

Note there is no soundtrack

Added: 26th May, 2024

Tomorrow – The Proclamation!

We hope this short narrative has brought back some happy memories – and if you couldn’t get to Rothwell, an appreciation of what you missed! We hope to see you in 2025! You can check the exact dates HERE on our website.

Tomorrow, it’s the Proclamation, or as us locals call it, simply ‘The Proc’ or ‘Proc Monday’. We’ve written extensively about it HERE on our website, and if you can recite the Charter’s words off-by-heart tomorrow, you’ll be in good company!

Frank York

But on the day, it’s probably best left to our professional – Frank York – our very own Bailiff to the Lord of the Manor!

See you bright and early – 6am at Holy Trinity Church! 😴😴