The Rural Media Company gave the first showing of the 2013 Ox Roast film at the Market theatre on Thursday 19th September. It followed a new showing of the Poetry Festival’s “Life loves to Change” with the local people reading their own sonnet – very impressive.
Nathan and his team have done a splendid job in editing the film and combining with parts of the 1953 film. The Rural Media Company hope to produce a DVD of this to sell later this Autumn.
“Life loves to Change” will come out as Book in November
Watch this space for news
It was a moment of pure nostalgia for members of the Ledbury Ox Roast committee when they were reunited in order to give the funds they had raised from the event held on 2 June, to St Michael’s Hospice. On a summers evening at Orchard Farm, Chairman Norman Stanier welcomed guests, read poems and in his speech, chronicled the history and preparation and the subsequent success of the Ox Roast day. He presented an Ox Roast badge to Emma Putnam as a reward for her unstinting commitment on the day. Worn by all the Ox Roast members, this beautiful enamelled pin badge depicts the classic horned Hereford Bull head, was specially commissioned and made by local craftsman and jeweller, Anthony Halls who said “ I hope that the personal touch of each one being created by hand, will mean more to those that were presented with one of the pin badges in years to come. They are unique. I was extremely happy to have been able to play a part in the historical event”. Anthony’s work can be viewed on www.antalicreations.co.uk
Norman asked the Ox Roast Treasurer, Bernie Robertson to present a huge symbolic cheque for £7,500.00 to the Chief Executive of St Michael’s Hospice, Nicky West, which caused much mirth. Bernie then produced the official cheque, which he handed to Nicky who responded by saying “I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome and for this magnificent achievement. It is through people such as you, and the funds you have raised that enables St Michael’s Hospice to continue and sustain its vital work and the care needed for those in our community”.
As an extra surprise, former mayor’s wife, Judy Conway presented over £155 to Nicky for money raised from a table top sale. Nicky remarked that she was delighted to learn that other organisations in Ledbury had used the Ox Roast weekend to fundraise for the Hospice. Ledbury Bowls Club had a fantastic day and raised £200 for St Michael’s Hospice. Local funeral directors, Hawcutts, opened their offices for teas, coffees and refreshments and raised £211 as a donation to the Hospice. Their most popular attraction had been their cloakroom facilities that were located close to the ‘park and ride’ and provided a comfort break for visitors to the Town. The Royal British Legion opened its skittles alley to encourage new members for its Ladies league £120 for the Hospice funds. Other Ledbury Funeral directors helped with raffle prizes and their staff worked on the Ox Roast committee and on the day serving Ox filled rolls and generally helping in a number of important ways to enable the smooth running of all the days events.
In conclusion, Norman said that the whole experience of organising this mammoth event could not have been possible without cooperation of the people of Ledbury and this has manifested itself in the overwhelming generosity of community support which raised well in excess of £8000 for our local St Michael’s Hospice.
Ox Roast Committee
On Tuesday 16th July we presented a cheque for £7,500 to Nicky West Chief Executive of the Hospice. She was delighted and thanked us for the cheque and explained their vision for the Hospice; she compared it to our vision of working out what we wanted to achieve when we started planning the Ox Roast and congratulated us on our success.
Judy Conway also made a presentation to the Hospice of the proceeds of a table top sale.
Other organisations had also raised and sent in money from the weekend for the Hospice, including Hawcutts, the Bowls Club and the Legion’s ladies skittles team.
“Even Better than the original!”
That was the opinion of Wendy Diamond and a group of Ledbury residents who had been present at the 1953 Ox roast held in the Town Centre to commemorate the Queen’s Coronation. From as early as 7.30 in the morning as the sun was already shining, when normally on a Sunday in Ledbury the only signs of life would be dog walkers and those going to collect their newspapers, but on Sunday 2nd June vehicles of all shapes and sizes converged on the High Street setting up stages, stands and stalls in preparation for the day ahead. Local people were astonished at the sight of the 40 feet long Hereford Trow boat being unloaded from a lorry with precision accuracy for this intricate task. In St Katherine’s Car park vendors had pitched their sites in readiness to sell food, drink and local crafts as part of the festival activities. The Cider and Beer area had a stage made up to resemble the iconic Market house and bands played to entertain those sampling locally produced drinks. Adding to excitement was the arrival of two fire engines and the local brigade force erected bunting across the streets decorating the town in fluttering red white and blue flags. By 9.30 more than 40 cyclists left the Market House for their 16- mile ride returning in good time to enjoy an early lunch! It was then the turn of Ledbury Town Crier, Bill the Bell Turberfield, who was transported into Town on the Weston’s Cider Dray and rang his bell to signify the official opening of the day’s events at 10.00am prompt. Already there were crowds in the street, many flocking to the Market House to purchase tickets, souvenir programmes and glasses of which few remained. On Stage the community choir sang and the brass band played, Church bells were ringing adding to the rising sense of excitement. The vintage car parade attracted loud applause and followed by Charles Martell’s coach and four groomed horses that were greeted by cheers when passing the Feathers hotel and after a pause to collect passenger left for Hereford. Then six gleaming motorcycles appeared, these were the St Michael’s Hospice Angels acting as outriders heralding the arrival of Mrs Dolly Tow, widow of Jack Tow who made the pioneering 1953 Ox Roast film which inspired the 2013 Ox Roast. Squiring her was MP Bill Wiggin and Mayor Terry Widdows. Dolly, who is over 90 years of age, climbed up the steps to the stage making a speech in which she said “60 years ago today was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the Second and here in Ledbury we celebrated the occasion by roasting an Ox and enjoying a spectacular Carnival. My late husband Jack Tow, made a film, recording all the events of that day, and it has since been made into a video and a DVD, a copy of which is in the possession of Queen Elizabeth, and I am told that the film can also be seen on “YouTube”. Today we are celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by once again an Ox here in the centre of Ledbury and it gives me great pleasure to declare that this Ox Roast is now open” and with that she and declared the Ox Roast “ready for tasting” and then a queue formed to receive their “beef in a bap”, carved by Ledbury’s own master butchers, Dave Waller, James from Llandinabo, Paul Gurney and Stephen Wheeler. Bill Wiggin remarked that this had been a tremendous success and showed what the spirit of community can do, and Mayor Terry Widdows commented, “I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your hard work and contribution to this weekends events. The whole town came alive to celebrate the momentous occasion and to see the high street decorated, and the town bustling with thousands of people on both the Community Day and The Ox Roast day is a vision that will stay with me for many year to come. I feel very proud today to be the Mayor of Ledbury for such an historic occasion”
Meanwhile the bands played, the merry go round whirled, people danced long into the afternoon, and sales were brisk at the candyfloss, strawberries stalls, and in the “food court”. The Best Dressed shop window competition was won by Sue Edwards of “The Kitchen Cupboard” and the results of the “Design a Cupcake” competition were Under 5 years: 1st – Cameron Rozmorel, 2nd – Elena Rozmorel, 3rd – E. Frincarr. 5-10 years 1st: Emily Cox, 2nd Sam Rimmington, 3rd Oliver Clarke. 11-15 years, 1st Rosie Rimmington, 2nd Holly Rimmington. Later the horn sounded and the Ledbury hunt appeared with some baffled looking hounds their usual finely tuned pack discipline disappearing when they smelled the delicious meat. With fun, laughter, the event had been extraordinary with over five thousand people attending, and with high spirits and a community effort, the Ox Roast day had exceeded all expectations and declared an unresounding success. The question posed by members of the public to committee members was “Can we do it again next year?”.
We would welcome comments on your experiences of The Community Day on Saturday and The Ox Roast Day on Sunday.
This posting welcomes constructive comments please. Thank you from the Ox Roast team.
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‘The Beast’ arrives
At precisely the planned time, ‘The Beast’ arrived in Ledbury High Street outside the Market House ready for tomorrow’s Ox Roast festival.
Watched over by Norman Stanier and Gabe Cook, the vehicle was manoeuvred into position ready for the cooking process to commence so that it will be ready for consumption at 12.30pm on Sunday June 2nd.
Whereas the original 1953 ox was roasted over an open fire, food hygiene regulations no longer permit this so it will be roasted in the enclosed trailer under carefully controlled conditions by experienced ox roasters to ensure it is completely cooked by the time people come to eat it.
Needless to say, a close eye will be kept on this vehicle while the cooking is in progress!
Community Day underway
June 1st – 12.00. The summer weather has brought people out at last and the different Community Day Activities are now thronged with visitors.
If you haven’t bought your Ox Roast tickets yet for tomorrow then hurry! There are not many left.
Don’t forget that, in addition to the Ox Roast itself, there is a food, drink and craft fair, plus entertainment throughout the day on the Ox Roast Stage.
A Park and Ride system will be in operation on Sunday 2nd from Ledbury Rugby Club and Pugh’s Auction field on the Ross Road (A449) as some of the town centre parking will not be open. Please look out for the signs
Just a reminder that there is a wedding at St Michaels Church this afternoon so the church is not open for tours between 1pm and 4pm.