Country fairs and water carnivals

Calrton Ives of Blue Hills Farm with one of the sheep he was going to shear at an open day.

Calrton Ives of Blue Hills Farm with one of the sheep he was going to shear at an open day.

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An ox roast, sheep shearing and a water carnival. These were all hitting the headlines in the Spenborough Guardian back in the summer of 1973.

Around 5,000 people flocked to Whitcliffe Mount Grammar School for the country fair which was organised by Spen Valley Lions.

The Ox Roast in the grounds of Whitcliffe Mount School run by Spen Valley Lions

The Ox Roast in the grounds of Whitcliffe Mount School run by Spen Valley Lions

The star attraction was a huge ox, which had been roasted for up to 12 hours the previous night.

The 10cwt beast was donated by Cleckheaton butcher David Metcalfe and it was cooked on the field in an oven specially constructed by Alfred Briggs Textile Engineers for VE Day celebrations in the Spen Valley.

The cooking was in the hands of Raymond Buckle of Roberttown, who was president of the Dewsbury and District Butchers’ Association, and Mr Metcalfe, who was the senior vice-president who lit the oven at midnight and supervised the cooking throughout the night.

The roast provided enough meat to fill 3,000 sandwiches, the first of which was auctioned by the Mayor of Spenborough Ald Ken Sowden.

The Mayor of Spenborough Ald Ken Sowden launches the Water Carnival at Spen Swimming Pool.

The Mayor of Spenborough Ald Ken Sowden launches the Water Carnival at Spen Swimming Pool.

Other attractions of the country fair included a display from the Blue Eagles, a team from the Spen Valley Freefall parachute Club. From a height of 4,200ft Alan Dewhirst and Terry Patton landed bang in the middle of the field, and the third parachutist Frank Peel landed just outside the area. The money raised from the country fair was to buy special beds for the new geriatric unit at Staincliffe Hospital.

Animals are always a favourite with Spenborough Guardian readers, and it was no different 40 years ago.

Our second picture from the archives shows Carlton Ives of Blue Hills Farm in Birkenshaw shearing one of his sheep.

Mr Ives was holding an open day at his farm.

Our final picture shows just how busy life was for a mayor. Ald Sowden is again in the thick of the action, opening a Water Carnival at Spenborough Swimming Baths.

He launched a radio-controlled boat called the RMS Spenborough, which had been made by Sam Barraclough, a member of the Model Boat Society.

The carnival also featured knock-out games including a pillow fight between Spenborough Girls and Dewsbury Boys which involved the teams trying to knock each other off a plank, suspended over the water.

Other teams had to paddle a dinghy across the pool and score points by bursting balloons fastened to ropes, and there was a water polo match between the Dewsbury and Spenborough teams.

There was a display by the Bradford Diving Club and life saving by the West Riding Police Cadets.

The 30 members of the Spenborough Knockout team were hoping to compete in the televised It’s a Knockout series the following year.