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REMEMBER WHEN: Daneside fetes
PHOTOGRAPHS depicting Northwich’s summer fetes of yesteryear has prompted more information about how family and community pulled together to make them special.
Davenham woman Josephine Betts grew up in the Daneside area, living at School Way with her grandparents, parents and younger siblings John and Susan Birtwistle.
She vividly remembers the fetes in the area, which have been pictured in the Guardian in recent weeks, and the work that went into them.
“It had a strong sense of community and that sense of community was, for many years fostered by a group of mothers, who formed the Daneside Voluntary Organisers Committee (DVO),” she said.
“Supported by some of the fathers the DVO organised beetle drives, jumble sales and dances to raise funds for outings and parties and fetes.
“For several years the fetes were annual occurrences and in 1952, coronation year, I was the queen.
“My consort was Brian Venables and my bearers of the bouquet, crown, sceptre and sword were Ann Neild, Paul and John Brady and Thomas Barlow.
“Brian and I, and two of our retinue, travelled in the procession in a small, rather ‘posh’ horse and carriage.”
As a teenager Josephine, now of Fountain Lane, took over the training of the retinue, holding rehearsals throughout the summer holiday.
“The children processed to the Gold and Silver Quick Waltz,” she said.
“At rehearsals the music was usually provided by my singing while the children counted the steps.
“At our more ‘technical’ rehearsals my boyfriend, now my husband, Ted Betts, provided the music – he was in charge of the handle on the wind-up gramophone.”
Ted was also instrumental on the day itself when Pooles of Northwich provided the music.
They had a van with a loudspeaker system but Ted travelled in the back and moved the needle each time the record ended.
Josephine said: “This was a good neighbourhood in which to grow – neighbours had close contacts, supported each other and kept an eye on everyone’s children.
“Our family had its share of hardship and sadness but we did have a great deal of fun and our overriding memories are those of a very happy childhood.”
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