Village show sparkles on ruby anniversary

October 02 2019

Hilary Long with show organiser Alexia Gardner Photos: Bill Long

Hilary Long with show organiser Alexia Gardner Photos: Bill Long

THE 2019 Westbury-on-Trym Village Show has delighted residents for the 40th year.
On Saturday 7 September, the traditional village show celebrated both its Ruby Anniversary and the 150th year of the Village Hall, which was opened to visitors during the day.
Alongside regular favourites including garden produce show entries, artwork, homemade food, a barbecue, entertainment and a brass band in the afternoon, residents also enjoyed a historical theme to the day’s events.
Chair of the Westbury-on-Trym Society, Hilary Long, opened the show at 11.15am and gave a speech. Dressed in full costume, Hilary made an appearance as Mrs Charlotte St Vincent Ames, wife of local benefactor Henry St Vincent Ames who financed and built the Village Hall in 1869.
Beginning her speech before formally declaring the show open to visitors, Mrs Charlotte St Vincent Ames said that the crowd might be wondering how she had managed to get there from another century. She explained that she had asked “Dr Who” (who had been making a short visit to her century) if he might fit her into his Tardis on his way back, but he declined saying it would be impossible to fit her and her fashionable bustle into the small telephone box! However at a garden party at her home (Cote House, on the Downs) she met a young man called Harry Potter, who lent her a special device called a ‘Time Turner’,  which she wore around her neck .
“This is how I arrived,” she said. “It was so easy and later today I shall be going back 150 years to my original home!” She also commented that she had asked her lady’s maid to choose a ruby gown from her wardrobe to wear today in honour of the 40th anniversary of the show.
Mrs Charlotte St Vincent Ames went on to say that she was astonished to see how Westbury-on-Trym had grown in size since her days of visiting the village in the 19th century. “In my day, it was a small Gloucestershire village with a few cottages and lots of farms spread around the valley with fields and woodlands,” she said.
“We used to have our milk and butter sent up from the village daily and our laundry was all done for us by the many small cottage laundries around the church.”
She also said that she enjoyed looking at the work of the children who had taken part in the show. “Their work is very excellent too. Many children in Westbury in my day could not read and write, but some of them attended that little school at the top of Westbury Hill, built in 1820, where they learned letters and numbers on their slates.”
She apologised for not being able to entertain any of the Westbury people at one of her garden parties at Cote House, which was demolished in the 1920s. “However”, she said triumphantly, “at the time that so many Victorian buildings were being destroyed, a group of people got together to stop it happening to our lovely Village Hall. They called themselves ‘The Westbury on Trym Society’ and with the help of many local people the Hall was gradually brought back to life for the whole community.”
To finish, she congratulated show organiser Alexia Gardner and her team on their magnificent achievements and presented Alexia with a bouquet in recognition of her special role as its Chairman for 12 years, which was given on behalf of the Westbury Society.
Speaking about the success of the event, Alexia Gardner said: “The show was excellent - 120 people entered and over 600 adults attended, and Hilary did us proud opening the show as Mrs Charlotte Ames.
 “The hall looked fantastic with the new bar and stained glass window. We had made red bunting which was draped along each show table.”
The Westbury-on-Trym Village Show is currently looking for people to come forward to join their committee. To find out more, visit the website: WOTVS. co.uk