Coming together as a community is always important for a village. Like many villages in the Cotswolds, Ampney Crucis has an annual Village Fête and this is a regular fixture in the calendar. However, in 2012, there was a bonus. The first weekend in June 2012 had been declared a national holiday to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. It was hoped that communities across the country would join together in street parties, picnics, the lighting of beacons etc, to mark the happy event. There was no way we were going to turn down an opportunity like that!
As a comparison you can also read how the village celebrated Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
Part 1 - The Planning
The village had some recent experience of street parties. 12 months earlier, we had enjoyed something of a 'dry run' when Anna Lockhart organised a very successful party to celebrate the marriage between Prince Wiliam and Catherine Middleton. Anna agreed to take the lead in setting up a similar event for the Diamond Jubilee and planning for the Ampney Crucis village street party started early in 2012. The Parish Council decided at the outset that it had to be a community effort i.e. paid for an run by the community. Anna asked our other expeirenced organiser, Rosanna Armitage (who has played a leading role in the Village Fête for many years), to help her with the event and the first task was to set a budget. The Parish Council setup a Jubilee Fund with the aim of raising £2,000 that Anna and Rosanna felt was necessary and advertising for funds started via articles in 'The Ampney Times', posters and a direct approach to villagers by letter and email.
The level of support was from across the village was outstanding and, as a result, over £3,000 was raised through individual donations ranging from £5 to £250. Many others gave donations of goods and services which enabled Anna and Rosanna (together with the small team of helpersw they had by now assembled) to plan a day to remember.
Sunday, 3rd June 2012 was party day and all village residents were invited as were all pupils and teachers at the village school and their families. This included a number of families in Harnhill and Driffield and so we invited all of them as well.
As with every outdoor event in 2012, you more or less had to work on the assumption that rain was a distinct possibility, so there were two plans for the day. Plan A was to repeat the successful format of the Royal Wedding party in 2011 which was to have the party in the main village street alongside the Donkey Field and Lavender Cottage (36, Ampney Crucis).
However, the weather of the previous couple of months had always meant that both location and format might have to be reviewed and, as the week's weather became increasingly worse as the big day approached, Plan B (i.e. move everything to the school playing field) swung into operation. A message went out on Psst!, the local Village Network, calling for helpers and, within 48 hours, the grass had been cut and an array of colourful marquees and awnings had been erected. On the Saturday, all the food and was collected and stored in fridges across the village and the drink found its way to a number of sheds and garages. On the Sunday, it was all brought out of storage, the tables were laid out and everything was ready.
Article taken from Ampney Crucis Diamond Jubilee 2012 - A Year to Remember by David Vessey