‘Shepherds Meet’ Evening raised £1,700 for the Northern Fells Group

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The Shepherds’ Meet

Sat 3rd May saw Caldbeck Parish Hall packed out, people with an interest in the village history and tradition, those interested in the Cumbrian dialect and family and friends of those taking part.

The evening began with Emma Armstrong and Stuart Hird reading the piece about living in the Lake District that they read to Prince Charles on his recent visit, followed by an Ethel Fisher poem about making a Tatie Pot.

 Tatie Pot was then served. This was produced by several volunteers at Denton House whilst enjoying a good natter.

Following this Kathleen Ashbridge gave a short introduction to Harry Lamb, highlighting some of his achievements. Harry Lamb’s grand daughter was in the audience. This lead us to the reading of the script entitled The Shepherd’s Feast written by Mr Lamb and broadcast by the BBC from The Oddfellows Arms in 1937. This was performed by members of the Lakeland Dialect Society led by their chairman Tommy Coulthard. This was based on a traditional Shepherd’s Meet of the day starting with the election of the chairman and the claiming of the stray sheep and progressing on to the merriment of singing lakeland songs and telling a tale or two.

During the interval the raffle was drawn, the winners are too many to name as there was a total of 18 prizes to be won.

The evening concluded with other members of the Dialect Society joining in, many of whom had travelled from all parts of Cumbria. During this session Eleanor Benson read the poem written by Harry Lamb about the opening of the Parish Hall, and Jimmy Nicholson from Aughertree telling a few tales.

The evening concluded with Jim Cox singing ‘John Peel’ , the original words and tune, the chorus was the same as we know it today and everyone joined in wholeheartedly.

Jim also gave the vote of thanks. Oh and I did a bit of introducing throughout the night.

Apart from the Dialect Society there are a lot of people to thank for their support:

  • Firstly, the locals taking part, Emma and Stuart, Kathleen, Eleanor, Jimmy and Dr Jim.
  • The History Society who sent the original script to the Dialect Society and who set up a display of Harry Lamb’s work plus other bits of local interest.
  • There were some photographs of the ladies making the Tatie Pots for the John Peel Day in 1954, which caused a bit of interest with people trying to remember names and in some cases seeing  themselves.
  • Caldbeck Players who helped to set up the stage and hall.
  • Andrew Ward who set up the sound.
  • The Young Farmers who also helped with setting up the Hall.
  • The Cricket Club who provided the bar, including a barrel of Skiddaw Ale which went down very well.
  • Susan and Alan Armstrong for allowing us to take over their kitchen to prepare the food and their support with the catering. Also others who produced the desserts.
  • An extra thank you to ladies (and a couple of men) who helped to put together the Tatie Pot and for serving of it, clearing away and washing the dishes. Some of whom worked away most of the day.
  • Squires Mounsey and Watson, the doorkeepers.
  • The raffle ticket sellers and all the businesses and individuals who provided raffle prizes.

I hope I haven’t missed anyone out. Well I need to thank all of you who were quick off the mark and managed to get tickets. I think we could have sold at least another fifty or more. I enjoyed listening to people reminiscing and  humming hunting songs to themselves as they left , commenting that ‘you cannot beat a bit of good traditional entertainment’ and wondering when the next one will be. (Not for a while yet!!)

What began as a simple idea when I couldn’t get more tickets for the production at The Theatre By The Lake turned out to be a grand community event and everything came together successfully, raising £1700 for The Northern Fells Group.

Thank you for an enjoyable but exhausting evening. 

Marjorie Watson 

And thanks from ALL OF US to MARJORIE for a wonderful, memorable evening!