Sibford Scene was born in March 1977. Its conception, however, was at the supper following the induction of Timothy Wimbush to these parishes. There we were, balancing our sausage rolls and teacups, looking over the assembled company and wondering how news of village events was spread to those not required to bake for them.
As a newcomer, I had got to know about coming events only when Maureen Hicks came to sell me the appropriate raffle ticket. Other sources of information were Henry Poulton, the milkman and Churchwarden, and his sister, Mabel Payne, the postmistress. But what of those who paid their milk bills by cheque and collected neither Family Allowance nor Old Age Pension? The answer was obvious: we needed a magazine.
With tongues loosened by the Village Hall (Swalcliffe) coffee, we laid our plans. Keith Hicks offered design and garden hints, Bridget Barlow fancied the role of roving reporter and there were endless suggestions for (mostly printable) features, but, strangely enough, all to be written by someone not present to offer a defence. A syndrome I later came to know well!
But who should be the Editor? All the old hands recalled that, until recent years, there had been a magazine, The Sibford Siren, produced by the former Rector, John Stewart. Would the new incumbent wont to take on that mantle? Secretly I hoped he wouldn’t, for, by then, I was fired with enthusiasm myself.
Schemes hatched so publicly must be carried through. So, after a decent interval, the new Rector was approached and found keen to sponsor the idea and to drum up support, literary and financial, as well ns taking on the practical side of production.
The first issue arrived dramatically by caesarian and was nearly stillborn because of a hitch with the typewriter. Its life was saved by John and Maureen Molan, who took over my tentative efforts, chopped, pasted and photocopied them until we had a first edition to be proud of. It was a very strange feeling to go round the village on a wild and wet winter afternoon, posting it through doors. Fortunately, none was thrown back.
Alas, cost precluded photocopying regularly, but by the next month, we had a skilled typist in Jean Evans and a fully-paid-up duplicator operative in the Rector. He’s got a better machine now, but still sets up his print shop each month, often before most of us have seen the light of day. He also looks after the money and , with his efficiency and your generosity, the Scene has never been in the red.
So that’s how it started. It has kept going because you, the readers, have contributed all that is necessary in terms of news, articles, adverts, money and manpower. It would fill a whole magazine to name you all. But it still requires an Editor, a typist and a printer to make a magazine, so congratulations and best wishes to the present team of Barry Davies, Vivienne Scouse and the ever-faithful Timothy Wimbush. May the Scene flourish for many more centuries.
P.S. If anyone finds a copy of the first, photocopied, edition, down the back of the sofa or padding out a carpet, I would love to have it. It is about the only issue missing from my collection.