Changing 'sixties
King Edward VI School, Stratford-upon-Avon 1963-1981


The Grand Summer Fete, 1971
by F.W. O'Meara


Although there were spells of rain in the morning, the weather was steadily clearing as the Shipston Town Band paraded past the Shakespeare Hotel towards the Guild Chapel at 2.40 on the afternoon of Saturday, 11th May. There was already a ferment of activity at the school, with large numbers of visitors who had arrived after following arrows from all parts of the town. The crowd awaiting the official opening by Miss Polly James was disappointed that she was indisposed and unable to attend. Mr Michael Williams, however, had kindly agreed to fill her place, and did so very ably. The Guest of Honour was welcomed by the headmaster and Mr R Ellis after which he gave a short address and declared the fete open. The mayor and mayoress were also welcome guests.

Among the many and varied sideshows, the physics display proved to be an early crowd-puller, with its array of thought-provoking, intriguing and baffling exhibits. The persistent clouds prevented any examination of sun-spots, but William Pashley's model skittle run (modified version) did excite much interest, and everyone agreed that the supply of metal bowls given out by the machine was very generous. Nearby 3x offered a number of challenging tests of skill in their form room, while the first and second forms did the same in a range of enterprising sideshows in the bicycle sheds by the swimming pool. In SH11 there was a display of boys' hobbies, including a magnificent array of toy soldiers and a model gear set, a favourite exhibit and previously the winner of the Holte Trophy. On either side of the SH11 a set of maps and charts was on display in the geography room and a model railway in SH12. Following their success at the last fete commemorative covers were on sale in SH9 while the circle of stalls was very successful in its sales.

The chemistry laboratory afforded a number of interesting experiments, including one on the dyeing of materials and on the purification of water. While some visitors watched amateur radio operators in action in division room one, others were attracted to a judo display at 4.20 when the re-emergence of the sun brightened the scene. A brisk trade was done in refreshments and at an ice cream stall. Visitors were able to go into the biology laboratory and see exhibits of tree life, while others could bet on "horses" which were about to race over obstacles in the pool. Despite the crowd noise and poor acoustics of the pool, constant announcements of results brought forth appropriate wailing and gnashing of teeth from losers, and a crowd of winners hustling to get their winnings from Jeremy James and friends. The final major activity was the raffle draw at 5.05, by which time most of the stalls had sold out. It was a very enjoyable day for all concerned; profitable for the school in its efforts to buy a school bus, and well-deserved thanks are due to all those who worked hard to make the fete possible.


F. W. O'Meara, pupil 1971
writing in 1971

Michael Williams with Stephen and Mrs Pratt

Michael Williams and Stephen Pratt in Big School


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