Way back in the distant past (20th December 1997 to be exact!) a small band of residents with vision and imagination were already planning our millennial celebrations. To the great good fortune of their fellow residents a mentality of ‘Let’s do it’, ‘We can make it work’ and ‘It’ll be great fun’ held sway over the ‘Will we raise enough money?’, ‘Will people really join in?’ and ‘What will we do if it rains?’ questions that caused a few sleepless nights.
Up and running. Letter to residents after the first meeting of the full committee
The original committee, of George, Tim, Louise, Chris, Vanessa, Steve, Chris and Mike met monthly from January 1999 to the Big Day.
Many of us will have fond memories of the fundraising events. These were but a small sample of the potential delights the committee considered for us. In the event we missed out on a car rally, a quiz night, sponsored skating in Priory Park, a sponsored Dads’ run, and a Fun Run on January 1st – though the ‘fun’ element may have been lacking from the latter given the style in which many residents chose to celebrate the New Year!
A successful Dart’s match at the White Lion was followed by the garage and plant sale and a children’s fun day, organised by Vanessa. She and a band of brave residents led an unruly mass of Fengates children up to Wray Common for fun and games and snacks.
Matthew, Steve and Elaine (23); Wendy and Mike (13); John and Sandra (17). 31st December 1999
However the first event that united young and old was the rounders match of 5th September 1999. Residents were called to attendance in true Fengates style.
The call to arms. ‘Recruitment’ notices for the 1999 campaign.
Now we were gaining momentum. Another successful darts match was followed by the cryptic, and competitively completed urban treasure trail produced by Mike Jolley of number 13.
The newsletters soon began to develop a professional look.
With 36 questions to answer and 14 photographs to identify hardy residents were to be seen tramping around Fengates Road, Ranelagh Road, Shrewsbury Road, Elm Road, Whitpost Hill and Linkfield Street on a cold November day discovering things they never knew they wanted to know. The winner was Ed White from number 64 on the tie break.
If you missed this event why not test yourselves with these few examples relating to Fengates Road, starting from Linkfield Street.
Q1 Mr Palmer’s partner lives here.
Q2 Where does lightning seem to strike twice?
Q3 Where are two normally smoking pot by the door, but legally planted?
Q4 Did a former Prime Minister live here?
Q5 The goddess must live here. Her name is?
Q6 What did the burglar say when he heard the bell?
Q7 Evens spells and odd number here.
Q8 The symbol of Remembrance is fixed to the wall here.
Q9 Where do you score 3 over the cross–bar but 4 in goal?
Q10 Where to go to get the pigeons painted?
1st April fundraising initiative!
By December we knew we could close the road – fairly crucial – and held a Christmas party. After some serious revelling at New Year the committee went back to work with a vengeance. Now questions of ‘Have we raised enough money?’ were battling with ‘How much can I spend on this?’ Our treasurer, Chris Hopson, weathered the storm manfully and everyone breathed a sigh of relief once the final numbers were known and the books appeared to balance. Throughout it all everyone retained their sense of humour and fundraising ideas continued to flow!
1st April fundraising initiative!
The coffers were enlarged by another successful garage and plant sale. Many of us raided our cellars, lofts, cupboards and garages to donate a splendid array of goods. Several children got ‘new’ bikes which they rode with pride and many a house and garden ended up as full as before – just with different things. It was all hosted with their usual aplomb by Tim and Penelope, and the plants, produced by Chris Stevens, John and Jackie, were the hit of the day.
And then June started and so did the rain. The confident predictions of mid–summer weather were now seeming a little less reliable. The true horror of a potential wash–out was too dreadful to contemplate and since we had no answer to ‘What will we do if it rains?’ we decided that it wouldn’t! In the event it did – a bit – but not enough to dampen our spirits. We celebrated in STYLE.