Thursday, 21 June 2012

It's our Cheadle Festival!

We have fingers crossed for sun on Saturday as the Together Trust celebrates its 91st Cheadle Festival here on our site at Schools Hill, Cheadle. The family fun day is the social highlight of the year for the charity, as it lets service users, staff and the local community all come together, as well as raising much needed funds. It also allows us to promote the work we do within the area and a fun time can be had by all.

Partakers in ‘It’s a Knockout’ at the Cheadle Festival 2011

But step back in time 91 years and you’ll find yourself at the first ever garden party hosted by the Manchester and Salford Boys’ and Girls’ Refuges and Homes. This was held on the 23rd July 1921 and was known popularly as the Belmont Fete. It was opened by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Sir William Kay and saw 2000 individuals pass through its doors, raising £858 (the equivalent today of around £18,000). The fete raised much needed funds for the charity, which relied on donations at that period, and was the highlight of the year for the children living within its grounds. Entertainments included flower arrangement competitions, teddy bear sales, dances, concerts, games, a brass band and parades. Sports events were also partaken in, such as tug of war, balloon bursting competitions, football dribbling competitions and slow cycle races.

Events schedule for the Belmont Garden Fete, 1939

In 1925 the fete exceeded £1000 for the first time, the equivalent today of around £30,000. The fete was organised each year by the Belmont Garden Fete Committee, which comprised of a group of dedicated Society members and volunteers. Smaller committees were also formed to arrange various activities such as the flower show, refreshments and entertainment. In some years a fancy dress carnival, which started in the centre of nearby Cheadle, was held.


Entry ticket to the Belmont Fete, 1939

Smaller garden fetes were also organised at other homes to raise money for the service. At the Bethesda Home on George Street, Cheetham Hill and the Seaside Home Tanllwyfan, at Colwyn Bay committees were set up to organise family fun days. At Bethesda (which had a fete from 1895) the day helped to not only raise money for the home but also to bring the work of Bethesda to the notice of the public. Arts and crafts that the children had made were sold at the fete each year.

The Cheadle Festival always proves to be a family fun day out. But don’t take my word for it, come along on Saturday and see for yourselves!

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