Redhill Village Life - Irene Bullock
This appeared in the June 2008 issue of the Village Journal
|Redhill Village Life
On Friday 3 June 1977 my husband and I, with our three daughters aged 6, 8 and 10, came to live at Winters Lane, Redhill. This was the weekend of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee celebrations. We knew no one, only having been introduced to our next door neighbours (the Ashman family) the previous week. Sylvia Ashman came to visit and asked us whether the children would like to come to a junior disco to be held at Redhill Village Hall/Club on the Saturday evening. We took our daughters along and were immediately made welcome, the Ashmans introducing us to the Perrys, the Stokes, the Youngs and the Vowles to name but a few. The friendships between these families still exists today.
On the Monday morning the then Redhill vicar Dennis Bennett arrived at our house with three Silver Jubilee mugs, one for each of our children. We advised him that the children had already been given some Jubilee mugs; he however insisted that they take them as they were now part of the village and were to attend the local primary school.
The Revd Bennett also asked us to join the rest of the village at the then Redhill Football Field at Winters Lane for further celebrations. This we did and there were children's games, food and drink provided, with a sing-song around the piano and fireworks to finish the evening.
On 30 June 1874 Redhill V.A. School was opened by the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Our daughters attended from 1977 until they moved on to Churchill Secondary School, the youngest leaving Redhill School in 1981. Sadly due to the fact that in 1984 the school became one of the smallest in the County with only 16 pupils remaining, it was forced to close on 20 July and the remaining pupils were bussed to Wrington Primary School.
Our daughters were still attending Sunday School and also were members of Redhill Church Choir. By this time my husband and I had been invited to join the Redhill Club Skittles teams, Alan playing for the men and myself playing on the ladies team, and we still play for Redhill Club now.
Early in the 1980's my husband, myself and several other villagers started the Redhill Youth Club based in the Village Hall for children aged 11 to 18 years, as there was nowhere else in the village for them to go. We were already members of the Redhill Village Hall/Club Entertainments Committee. and my husband had become Chairman of the main Committee succeeding Horace Ashman. Sadly the Redhill Youth Club, like the School, also had to close as children became adults and moved away from the village due to the lack of affordable housing and no children were left to replace them.
On 29 July 1981 Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer and celebrations were held at Redhill Village Hall. Most of the villagers attended and, with members of the Womens Institute, we helped with the provision of food, drink and entertainment. Two of our daughters were married in Redhill Church, both in 1991 by Reverend Basil French, and they held their evening wedding receptions at Redhill VillageHall/Club the third daughter already having moved away from the area by this time. Dennis Bennett, Basil French and latterly Brian Matthews were great advocates of village life and joined with us at the Club particularly Brian who was an avid Bingo fan and helped also with the organisation of several events.
In May 1995 the 50th anniversary celebrations of V.E. Day were held at Redhill Village Hall/Club. There were sports and games and a children's tea party held on the Recreation Field, following which there was a tea dance for the older village residents featuring many war time songs accompanied on the piano and much flag waving. Everyone dressed in the costume or uniform of 1945 even if only to sport a union jack hat and wave a flag! In the evening there was a pig roast and dance held and at dusk the oldest resident of the village at 92 (Lottie Richards) lit a bonfire commemorating the beacon which was lit at Redhill during World War II. This was followed by a firework display. Again villagers, members of the W I and Club Committee members joined forces to make the event a success.
The arrival of the new Millennium was heralded with a bang with celebrations held at the Village Hall/Club on New Year's Eve including fireworks. In June 2001 festivities were held at the premises with an outdoor band, pig roast and evening dance again as a joint village event, Redhill Church also benefiting as it received 50% of the money generated for its roof fund.
Since the Entertainments Committee was formed in conjunction with the Main Hall/Club Committee many other events have been staged -the (still ongoing) Bingo evenings, dances, whist drives, firework night celebrations and harvest suppers with various bands performing. These events have been staged in addition to letting the Hall to various clubs and societies and, including bar sales, enable the Club to fund the upkeep of the Village Hall which was opened in 1911 and became dependent on Club funds from 1935. Without these funds the Village Hall would have to close and the Village would lose its focal point. The School, Village Stores and Post Office have all been closed due to lack of support so only the Hall and Church remain. In latter years due to lack of support of its own functions Redhill Club has been forced to hire the premises to people from outside of our local villages to boost the funds. In the main this has been successful, with the exception of the disabled bikers’ weekends which will never take place again.