Sibford Scene Archive

Sibford Scene 196 May 1996

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Text, letter

Sibford Gower Parish Council

Water Works   #   Macmillan Way   #   Annual Parish Meeting

Thames Water will be carrying out major repair works in the village over the next few weeks. Pipes are being relined, or renewed where necessary. Hopefully this will improve the water pressure in all parts of the village.

Parking in Burdrop has become a serious problem and the Council has asked carowners in the affected areas to do their best to keep the road access clear.

The Macmillan Way – Britain’s Third longest Long-Distance Path opened on April 25th 1996. This path runs south-westwards from Oakham in Rolland to Abbotsbury in Dorset. It is called the Macmillan Way as it has been developed to increase public awareness of the Cancer Relief Macmillan Fund. The Macmillan Way is 235 miles in length and it follows existing footpaths (it passes through our parish), bridleways and byways, and small stretches of minor roads when these are unavoidable.

The Council has a copy of the 96—page guidebook (also available from all good bookshops at £5.99). Anyone who would like to see the guidebook before purchasing a copy please contact the clerk.

The Annual Parish meeting is on Friday 3rd May at 7.30pm in the Primary School Hall. Everyone is welcome. This is your chance to share your views about what you feel are important issues.

P. Berry, Clerk to Sibford Gower Parish Council

A Century of Fashion

A review by a Mere Male
(well, no one else volunteered – so there)

Having been persuaded to buy a ticket for a ‘mannequin parade’ at the Village Hall on 23 March, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thoughts of ‘period clothes’ to be ‘modelled by local people’ brought visions of sitting among a couple of dozen ladies, watching a few brave village worthies clomping woodenly across the stage in a boring succession of granny‘s old clothes, pausing for an embarrassed, and embarrassing, curtsy before rushing off into the wings. Hearing later that most of the Surgery personnel were to be involved, I thought we might be in for a touch of “Carry On Florence Nightingale”.

I couldn’t have been more wrong! Well before the show started, the Hall was packed to the doors, with every seat taken and many dozens of late-comers lining the walls. Even the hard-worked doorman, Roger Powell (himself a one-man fashion show, sartorially resplendent in yellow check waistcoat and plus twos) lost his official chair in the crush!

An expertly lit and gloriously carpeted eye-level T-shaped cat-walk stretched the length of the Hall and near the stage a dinner-jacketed David Ryall was warming up at the piano. Clearly this was to be no amateurish ‘wham, bam, thank you, mam’ performance. An air of “you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet” pervaded the audience. Our expectations were proved right when the show’s stunningly attired MC, Carol Bower, appeared in the spot-light.

Carol explained that most of the clothes we were to see came from the extensive collections of Susan Heath and Jane Holliday, augmented by items lent or donated by other villagers. The show then started, demurely at first, with ladies & young girls sedately parading in long white Victorian nightdresses, mobcaps & thick bedsocks. My heart sank – was it, after all, to be the ‘Granny’s Old Clothes Show’ that I had feared? But the demureness, and my fears, soon evaporated as a dozen ladies & teenagers began to ‘strut their stuff’ along the cat-walk. displaying, with increasing confidence and to my increasing delight, a succession of more modern (and more revealing) nighties, negligées and cami-thingees.

After a brief pause, (enough time to wipe the steam front my glasses), the show continued, with twenty models presenting a delightful range of daywear from the 30’s to the 60’s, many coordinated with matching shoes, gloves & handbags. Of particular interest were the homemade dresses from the ‘make-do-and-mend’ war years. As each model entered, Carol gave us a succinct description of her outfit and David provided an appropriate melody as she paraded up and down the cat-walk, before exiting. to appreciative applause, with a twirl and an extra smile. Clearly a well-planned and well-rehearsed show, as exemplified by the next segment – a continuously circling parade of a dozen or more ladies, each in a different version of ‘the little black dress’, which closed out the first half to rapturous applause.

During the interval a typical & delicious ‘Sibford supper’ was served, to an audience full of praise for what they had seen and eagerly trying to anticipate what was to come.

The second half was opened by Carol, now even more stunningly attired, introducing clothes of the 70’s. But the planners had saved the best till the last – a selection of about 40 beautiful cocktail and evening dresses from the 20’s on, including some that had belonged to the late Dorothea Allen, the Sutton-under-Brailes millionairess. This time the accessories included several fur stoles and capes. By now all 20 models were brimming with confidence, each matching her demeanour to the mood suggested by her outfit. They were all superb, but I cannot resist mentioning three ladies in particular. Bee Webber – for her cool elegance in a chic backless creation. Jane Holliday – for her sexy hip-swivelling walk as she dragged her fur along the cat-walk, before casting it into the lap of a ‘gentleman-friend’ in the front row (did Jane take a Marilyn Monroe elocution course – to learn how to roll her r’s?). Finally, Susan Heath – for her memorable, ritzy, sophisticated saunter, disdainfully toying with her long ivory cigarette-holder – the perfect epitome of the New Yorker café-society era.

The show reached its climax as, on the cat-walk, there gradually formed an ingeniously choreographed tableau, consisting of two sets of three bridesmaids, accompanying their brides. with three other brides behind them. The audience responded with tumultuous applause for the beauty & artistry of this spectacular finale to a splendid and memorable evening.

To round off the event, Sue Gale, one of the models, thanked all those who had contributed their time & resources, including Sibford School (cat-walk), Keith Hicks (lighting), Mary & Norman Nash (oriental carpets). Gil Soden and many others (refreshments) Roger Powell (doorman & finance), the back-stage helpers & dressers, David Ryall (music & artistic advice), Carol Bower (MC), all who had lent clothes, etc, and Susan & Jane (who first thought “let’s put on a show”). Finally. there was a special “THANK YOU” and applause, for Mary Nash who, as director & choreographer, had taken Susan & Jane’s idea and, with much hard work & cajoling, really had “put on a show”.

But, you may ask. did I enjoy the show? My answer – where can I see it again? There are rumours that it may be shown in Brailes and then Broadway. Brailes I can believe, but Broadway? who would pay the transatlantic air freight for over 100 outfits?


The Millennium

At the Open Village meeting held in the Village Hall on 11 April, the way in which the Sibfords and Burdrop wish to celebrate and mark the millennium was fully discussed.

Ideas and suggestions were received from the meeting and it was felt that in addition to any events, a permanent commemoration for the villages should be an objective. Ideas received included:- a piece of art work in the form of a sculpture, a children’s playground, a permanent site for the storage and access of village archive material and the provision of additional facilities at the Village Hall.

Chairman of the Sibfords Society, Barbara Crabtree, explained that as part of the Society’s programme, a group were researching the work of Frank Lascelles, with a view to producing a pageant in celebration of the millennium. Frank Lascelles had lived in Sibford and was pageant master to Queen Victoria.

David Ryall extended this idea by explaining that, with everyone’s support, our community could produce a performance for ourselves and a wider audience to portray the part the Sibfords have played in the life of our nation in the past 1000 years. Using the village as our stage, short scenes of village life could be re-enacted by villagers using music, light and sound.

The idea for such a pageant was well received and it was agreed to carry the idea forward. A millennium steering group was formed but it was recognised that many additional village people would be needed to utilise the many talents and skills necessary for such an undertaking. The opportunity to establish funding would be an early priority and much more research would be needed. The steering group would have to rely heavily on information and memories from the long-established village families. The support of the 2 parish councils and 2 schools would also be enlisted.

If you were unable to attend the meeting and can offer help or further suggestions please contact any member of the steering group:-

David Ryall Norman Nash
Peter Baseby Monty Pearlman
Linda Garner John Mulley
Vera Jones David Soden
Mary Nash Keith Hicks


We have something special here in the Sibfords and we have four years to work together to produce a memorable event in the summer of 2000 which we hope will raise funds to provide a permanent commemoration of the millennium for the future.

Above, you may see one or two items of historical interest from this edition. To see the whole edition, click on the front-page image to download it as a pdf.