Given that June was a cold and sometimes wet month, we were again fortunate to enjoy good weather for this, our 26th annual Open Day. All week the forecast had been for a cold wind and heavily overcast skies, but the day dawned sunny, dry and quite fair, and remained so all day.We were very grateful!
The entertainment was continuous all day, starting with a two hour session from The Animal Man, when dozens of youngsters got up close and friendly with a range of exotic animals and reptiles , followed by Loony Lenny who provided his unique brand of fun, magic and mayhem, and then Kris Krendo staged his super Punch & Judy Show, followed later with his own comedy and magic show. Andy Casserley was on hand all day in his gazebo stacked with musical instruments (woodwind, string and percussion) to introduce and encourage countless youngsters to create musical sounds for themselves.
There was a greater range of stalls and sideshows this year, and we newly welcomed the Lapal Pioneers who staged a sweet tombola and a catch a duck stall, and The Stonehouse Gang who set up a recruiting and information table. Other stalls included our own Super Tombola with top prizes including a meal out for two, a teddy bear tombola, two bric a brac stalls, John Sturmans Seed and Pet Supplies (Blackheath), Pink Faces (face painting), a Beekeepers stall and demonstration , Reike Master - Kate Jones, Urban Farm plant stall,and new this year - Ken and his hanging basket demonstrations . Ongoing amusement for the kiddies was also available in the form of a Bouncy castle, and there was an all-day ice cream van , together with our own ever popular Refreshment Rooms in the Unit serving home made cakes, sandwiches, crisps and other snacks, and both hot and cold drinks. Two of our Trustees also set up a stall to encourage applications from Volunteers to the Urban Farm Project. Information leaflets were available for Winterbourne House & Garden and also Fircroft College.
We logged well in excess of 1,000 visitors overall who enjoyed the attractions and entertainment on offer. On a rather sad farewell note, Loony Lenny (aka John Price) retires in July and will not be performing again. He has loyally supported our Open Day for almost twenty years and made hundreds of our young visitors laugh over that time. We shall miss his super act and good company, but wish him well in his retirement. Thanks John ! Woody's One Man Band sent apologies because he was unable to attend due to illness, and we wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him next year. Last but by no means least many many thanks to all those who contributed to the staging and content of this Open Day which was financially one of our most successful in terms of our much needed funds. A super effort!