After a year’s break, Bishop Thornton and Shaw Mills Sports and Feast Day ran once more. The impetus came from Bishop Thornton CE Primary School’s PTA, whose parents and friends enthusiastically joined together to organise the event.
The day’s history can be traced back to the eighteenth century, when horse races ran near the village church on the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul at the end of June. A silver-embossed saddle was the prize. Later, there were Donkey Derbies held beside the Drovers Inn to raise money for a parish hall for Bishop Thornton and Shaw Mills.
The Sports and Feast Day was revived in its current form for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, when it included egg throwing, tug of war, a greasy pole, swing boats and the high jump, as well as numerous races. For the Millennium celebrations in 2000 an evening barbecue was added, which has continued ever since, by popular demand.
Michael Dale, formerly Chair of Governors at Bishop Thornton CE Primary School, has been involved since the beginning.
“My grandma was very involved in raising money for the parish hall, and as a child I helped at the first Sports and Feast Day for the Jubilee.”
This year, Michael and his wife Judy organised the day’s races as usual, while their eldest daughter, Katherine, took charge of the microphone. In all its forty-one year history, the event has only been cancelled twice: once for heavy rain and then last year, due to the organisers’ other commitments. As Michael Dale said:
“Sports and Feast evolves. Sometimes it’s bigger, sometimes smaller. We have had various locations in the village.”
New for this year is the closer connection to Bishop Thornton CE Primary School. The race-course and marquee were set up in the field next to the School. There were pony rides – a new addition – and stalls including tombola, plants, jar raffle, and a treasure map designed by the schoolchildren. Fortunately, the weather was ideal – not too hot for the races, which the children ran eagerly for cash prizes. A vast spread of teas was served in School. Then everyone returned outside to what, for many people, is the real highlight of the day: egg throwing and musical chairs. Mrs Peggy Mawson opened the Day and gave out the prizes.
This year, for the first time, all proceeds from the Sports and Feast Day are going to Bishop Thornton CE Primary School’s PTA. A fantastic £695 was raised in total, which will be used to buy new laptops and ipads – needed due to the increasing number of children in the School.
Mrs Liz Bedford, the School’s Head Teacher, said:
“We are so very fortunate to have such wonderful support from parents and from the wider village community too. I would like to say thank you to everyone for their generosity and help in making the Sports and Feast Day such a success. It had a lovely atmosphere and I think everyone really enjoyed themselves.”
The children and their teachers certainly did…
“I liked the pony ride the best”
– Laurie, Year 2
“The prize money from the races was very generous”
– Harrison, Year 6
“The sledge race was really fun. Pulling my friend and seeing his face was entertaining!”
– Thomas, Year 6
Saturday 22nd June is already set as the date for next year: opening at 1.30pm, with races from 2pm.