Item BCA - 2018.1455 - Arnold Woodley's scrapbook of the Pumpkin Club

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BCA - 2018.1455


Arnold Woodley's scrapbook of the Pumpkin Club


  • March 30th 1969 to Oct 24th 1997 (Creation)

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pdf of 68 items

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Arnold Woodley started this scrapbook with newspaper cuttings which record its inception in March 1969. In 1979 he handed his scrapbook to Max Norman to continue adding items. In March 1969 The Pumpkin Club was formed. Meetings were held in The Eagle Inn in Church View and the landlord Reg Absalom was made chairman, Arnold Woodley was the secretary and Jack Horne the treasurer. The object was to grow the heaviest pumpkin and all entries would then go to the Fruit & Flower Show and Auction held annually in the Horse Shoe Inn in Bridge Street. The proceeds from the auction to be given to the SPAJERS (society for the preservation of ancient junketing which gave all its funds to the senior citizens of Bampton). The entry fee was fixed at 2s 6d (12½p) per year which included 3 seeds from which to grow their pumpkin. The club started with 33 members but by July it was 77.
At the first grand weigh-in Mr Joe Buckingham came first with a pumpkin weighing 51½ lbs and Mrs B Benton came third with a pumpkin weighing 49½ lbs. Mr M Smallwood from Suttons seeds was in attendance and judged the entries.
Over the coming years the annual event became a really well supported event. Collections were made around the village for items to make up grocery boxes which were auctioned off after the grand weigh-in and marrows were also included in the weigh-in. Other villages began to have the same sort of event and after the local weigh-ins, inter-village weigh-ins took place. More money was raised to help support Bampton’s senior citizens.
Arnold also encouraged the return of a very old game, Dwile Flunk and this was played in the back yard of the Eagle. There is a cutting about it and you can see Bill Daniels having to pour a chamber pot of old beer over his head while Arnold, Bill Govier and Licensee John Shuker look on in great amusement.
In 1983 the club organised a Street Fair of May 2nd which was much enjoyed and Mr & Mrs Sweetingham ran a weekly bingo to help raise funds. Senior citizens were given a Christmas Cake each year.
In 1986 Nicola Gardner aged 11 was crowned the May Queen with the crown put on by the 1985 winner, Cheryl Connaughton. In 1987 Zoe Rouse was crowned May Qu een. In 1988 ITV’s Country Ways program followed the growing of the pumpkins from seed to plant and Tony Francis and cameraman Peter Rance filmed here. 1989 May Queen was Sarah Paintin. Jenna Hughes-Jones was May Queen in 1990.
The Club organised a May Bonnet competition in 1988.

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