Villages' peace celebrations

Villages' peace celebrations

[The Luton News: Thursday, September 4th, 1919]

A wonderfully happy and harmonious spirit pervaded the Peace Day celebrations of Slip End, Woodside and Pepperstock which were held on Saturday [August 30th]. The villagers had determined that it should be a day of real rejoicing and no efforts were spared by the organisers to see that this effort should be substantially produced.

Everybody worked hard to ensure an excellent programme, and it was pleasing to see the gratifying achievements which culminated in Saturday's proceedings. Although in view of the fact that so many took a hand in arranging matters, it is rather invidious to mention any names, yet special praise should be given to Mr C. A. Lissaman, Chairman of the Organising Committee,; Mr F. Clarke, vice-chairman; and Mr F. Dyer, secretary, who were responsible for appointing the sub-committees and fixing up the various events.

The three villages were en fete for the occasion, and the houses and farms were lavishly and prettily decorated with flags, bunting and mottoes, whilst the streets were gaily festooned with streamers.

A splendid procession of schoolchildren, decorated cars etc started from Mr Walker's farm at noon and proceeded round Slip End and Woodside to Stockwood Park where, by kind permission of Mrs Crawley, sports, teas and concerts were held. The procession was headed by a band from the Luton Comrades of the Great War, and extended for a distance of nearly half a mile.

Eight decorated cars were entered and these were very cleverly and prettily designed. A little girl dressed in white and mounted on a white pony represented Peace, and there was also a charming group of little children dressed as fairies. Ex-servicemen were present, and Girl Guides, Brownies and Boy Scouts also took part.

On arrival at Stockwood Park, a drumhead service was held in front of Mrs Crawley's house, conducted by the Rev R. Hyne, and a short but inspiring address was given by the Rev E. A. Ferguson.

The speaker said they all intended, as far as they possibly could, to make it a real Joy Day, because they realised that they had the right to celebrate the coming of Peace by such festivities. Still they would never forget their brave fighting men who had made the supreme sacrifice and, although they could not see them, they all believed that they were with them and rejoicing with them that day.

Another important point he wished to impress upon them all was that, although Peace had been secured, they could not lay down their arms and and say they had got all they had fought for. They would have to continue to fight for the Peace of the Empire, and a very difficult time was in front of them. They must sill preserve the same spirit of courage and discipline and self-sacrifice. If they were not prepared to do this, they could not hope for a lasting Peace.

The sevice concluded with the singing of the National Anthem.

Afterwards a sports meeting was arranged. For this there were numerous events and the crowd had a laughable time watching competitors tilt the bucket, climbing the greasy pole and catching an energetic and slippery pig.

Arrangements had been made for the entire population of the three villages to have tea, and this was served under big marquees near the sports ground. The schoolchildren were first catered for and they had an excellent spread of tea, bread and butter and an ample allowance of cakes and buns.

The next sitting was for ex-servicemen and war workers, and they were given a hearty meal of ham, tongue etc. The old people and other inhabitants followed them and they were also provided with the best of good cheer.

Altogether it was estimated over a thousand people were fed, and the expenses of this were paid by voluntary subscriptions, amounting to £118.

In the evening there was a concert at which an interesting and effective display of morris dancing was given by 150 schoolchildren, under the conductorship of Mr C. A. Lissaman, who also contributed the song, 'Land of Hope and Glory,' the chorus of which was sung by the children. Twelve youngsters prettily gave a little dance, and 80 children sweetly sang a part song, 'Friendship'. Mrs R. Dunham contributed a song, 'The Carnival,' and a skipping rope song and dance was led by Miss Beatrice Fensome.

A fitting conclusion to the whole affair was the distribution of prizes by Mrs Crawley, after which the wreaths and flowers from the 'Car to the Fallen' were taken and placed on the village war shrine, and the Union Jack was lowered to half-mast.

Thus ended in a most appropriate manner the celebrations at Slip End which will never fade from the memories of those who attended.