We have recently been given a copy of the 1946 Wickford and District Carnival program for the event that ran between Saturday 3rd and Bank Holiday Monday, the 5th.
However, the event was more than a carnival and fete as in recent years. It was also a horse show and an athletics meeting.
In the foreword to the program written by Col.H.W BURTON and Dr. Robert FREW, the joint presidents,
“The object of the Fete is to provide funds for a Memorial to the men of Wickford who gave their lives in the War. A public meeting of Wickford people recently decided unanimously that the most appropriate memorial would be a recreation ground, suitably equipped for popular sports, such as football, cricket, tennis, and a playing ground for children.
We earnestly appeal to the people of Wickford, and beyond, to give their whole-hearted support to the committee and helpers, to make the fete a great financial success and provide a fitting memorial to those who so gallantly fought and died that we might inherit the blessings of peace”.
The events took place in the Rectory fields in Runwell Road, now used as allotments.
The horse show had events such as ‘Best Suffolk Mare or Gelding’, ‘Cleanest Farm Horse, Harness and Cart’, children’s jumping competition.
There was a juvenile sports meeting, where boys and girls could enter events such as a 100 yards flat race, tug of war and a blindfold driving race (blindfolded boy as horse driven by girl with string reins!!)
The schedule of the Grand Carnival commenced in Castledon Road, along London Road, High Street and Runwell Road to the carnival field.
The Carnival court was led by the the Queen and her maids of honour:
Queen – Miss Kathleen Clarke, Maids of Honour – Miss Betty Alderton, Miss Gwen Johnson, Miss June Loveday and Miss Doris Newland.
The Mala School of Music and Dancing, by kind permission of the Principal, Margaret Upton, also presented a series of Variety Concerts in a large marquee.
On the Monday a further athletic sports meeting was held on the field, where running, walking and cycle races were held. Prizes consisted of healthy rewards such as beer and cigarettes.