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So successful was the first Walter de Kancia Festival at Hemdon that it could well mark the start of an annual three-day event in the village.

Organised to include a flower show, fete, dog show, musical entertainment and craft demonstration, the  festival celebrated 700 years since Walter de Kancia became the first recorded rector of Helmdon.

Little is known of de Kancia but it is thought he probably had something to do with the restoration of Helmdon’s ancient church.

And certainly, the church, and rectory grounds of the present rector, the Reverend Roger Caldwell, were well chosen for the tribute.

The Festival opened on Friday with a flower arranging demonstration by Brian Halliday which attracted 160 enthusiasts mainly from flower clubs and women’s organisations from Brackley, Buckingham and beyond.  This was followed by supper.

On Saturday the fete was opened by Mrs Gabriel Magnay of Sulgrave who was in turn presented with a bouquet by five-year-old Rachel Loader.

Helmdon’s Frank Cernik provided a puppet show, there was a colourful demonstration of “fun and fitness” and later, a fun dog show organized by Mary Gidman.

Later, Frank Cernik introduced an evening of words and music in the beautifully decorated church.  This featured the Church choir, Pattishall organist Richard Yates, music from Helmdon school directed by Brackley music tutor Rey Lear, solos by Felicity Storer of Woodend  - a member of the Huddersfield Choral Society, handbell ringing led by Edith Shellard, an organ piece by Helmdon farmer Mr Richard Watson, and a bell medley by Dawn Law’s Girl Brigade Handchimers.

Festival Eucharist, conducted by the rector opened the Sunday programme followed by craft demonstrations from Mike Gidman (wood turning), Joan Grant (spinning), Lisa Oldfield (patchwork), artists Susan Gladstone and Eric Mansfield and others.

In the evening there was music from Brackley Jubilee Choir conducted by Magdalen College schoolmaster Edward Palmer with Sidney Hearn on the organ.

Main helpers were Bob and Gay Wallis, Nora Nicholls, Jeanne Hughes, Celia Terrey, Mary Gidman and Susan Lidgley and it was estimated the profit – for the church funds – would be over £1,000.

Probable Banbury or Brackley newspaper




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