Monday, 18 May 2015

The Rotary Club’s Festival of the Fleece

Sophie Grigson, declaring the day open.
On Monday 4th May, Cogges played host to a special event organised by the Rotary Club of Witney; the Festival of the Fleece. This event was organised in honour of the Rotary’s Diamond Jubilee. The event was free and attracted an estimated 2,500 visitors. In fact, it was so busy that the people organising the barbecue ran out of food by 1.30pm. But worse than this, the bar appeared to run out of beer. Fortunately another barrel was discovered and saved the day. There were activities and events for everyone, including wool weaving, craft stalls, a teddy bears picnic and a cookery master class, by the celebrity chef, Sophie Grigson, to name but a few. Ms Grigson herself cut the ribbon to open the celebrations and the fun began.

Sue Tucker demonstrating her skills.
A host of attractions, stalls and displays recalled Witney’s heritage and links to the wool trade, including a fascinating, vintage film, demonstrating how blankets were made 100 years ago. The wool theme continued, with Sue Tucker, a local artist and one of Cogges’ many volunteers, sitting in the sunshine, demonstrating how to weave using a wooden, table top weaving loom. Those who wanted, could choose their own hand spun and dyed wool and decide for themselves, what they would like it made into. 

Teddy Bears Picnic in the orchard.
Unusually for an English Bank Holiday, the sun shone, adding to everyone’s enjoyment of the day. The teddy bears picnic took place in the peaceful surroundings of the Cogges orchard, although with so many families attending, it didn’t stay peaceful for long. Once everyone had finished their picnics, the children enjoyed activities, such as playing old fashioned games or trying their hand at making sheep masks or a fish on a pole. John, the husband of Sue Tucker, ran a sketching session for children, using an antique spinning wheel. 

Traditional games in the farmyard.
The months of hard work and planning on the part of members of the Rotary Club and Cogges' staff and volunteers, really paid off. Sue Tucker wrote, 'Bathed in sunshine the whole day was delightful, with families and people of all ages , enjoying Cogges at its best.' Indeed , what better venue could have been chosen to celebrate a Festival of the Fleece, than our own Cogges Manor Farm.

Part of Sue's exhibition, Cotswold sheep.
"I will always love you" 2015 Neil Cap.
Cogges is also taking part in the Oxfordshire Art Weeks, which runs until the 25th May. Sue has an exhibition of her craft work in the café and Neil Cap BA (HONS), another volunteer and local sculptor, is also displaying some of his sculptures in the courtyard.

Photographs courtesy of Cogges and Sue Tucker.

No comments :

Post a Comment