In the days leading up to the event, many of the committee members and other volunteers had some sleepless nights as we readied ourselves for our first foray into the wide, open world…
…but what a wonderful event for our maiden voyage!!!
It is just a good job that it didn’t involve any literal sails as we would have found ourselves carried away across the Yorkshire Dales in the high winds that kept us on our toes over the whole weekend.
A number of members were already in the village as we spent the Friday evening there, along with other avid Ricardians. Richard’s boar banner flew open and strong in pride of place above the castle keep, however the same winds that honoured his memory also blew out the freshly lit beacon before many of us could witness it (quite disappointing for all us pyromaniacs out there).
Up early on the Saturday we set out once again into the beautiful July sunshine, showers, sunshine, showers…but after tying our woollen murray and blue table covers down, with murray and blue ribbon, attaching the society banner to the front of the stall and readying our trusty tarp to protect the table during any unfortuitous weather, we set up our informative leaflets, booklets and many other wonderful items for sale that were generously donated by kind members and their friends.
We were in the market square and took turns to look around Middleham and the other events occurring including ‘King Richard and Anne Neville’ talking about their life and times, a medieval camp set up within and beyond the castle and musicians and dancers both in this area and also down in the square.
Even though we were not on the main route of event goers heading to the castle from the parking areas we think that our first day was a great success, speaking to many people who seemed genuinely interested in our cause and leaflets and booklets were especially popular, as well as many purchasing window stickers which are now hopefully making their way around the country in the back windows of cars.
Saturday evening found many a Ricardian in the Key Centre to attend lectures by Annette Carson, John Ashdown-Hill and Philippa Langley and then off to bed to make ready for another early morning.
On Sunday, we were excitingly allowed to set our stall up along the north side of the castle moat, although fear gripped us as we imagined ourselves down in its depths, unable to escape, as we retrieved merchandise if the wind gusted as strongly as it had the day before, luckily there was only one close call and none of us were claimed by the castle’s great defences.
Afternoon came with some of us leaving to attend the second set of talks, this time in the beautiful collegiate church of Richard’s, St. Mary’s and St. Alkelda’s.
It is also important to note that on both days we were the last stall to pack up for the day, despite the difficult weather on the Saturday… loyal to the last!
Now for the Sunday evening, a pub quiz arranged and hosted by our secretary, Brenda Cubbon, held in the Richard III Hotel. If we thought we were in for a relaxing time, with pie and peas, or canapés, we were in for a rude awakening. The questions were brutally hard and competition was rife. We were even stumped on some of the questions related to Richard III himself! However booby prizes were offered in this round so that those that needed it, had some reading material to go away with to learn more about Richard’s early days. The raffle raised much needed funds, and we were extremely grateful to the owner of the hotel, who generously donated the funds raised for the food too.
If you are ever in Middleham, we highly recommend this establishment and its warm reception and delicious food (and I highly recommend their sticky toffee pudding too!!!).
As we left Middleham on Monday morning, in bright sunshine and calm skies, we may have been quite exhausted, but were very pleased with what seemed to be a great success. We learned much that will help us plan even more effectively for future events and met many wonderful people of all ages to share details of our new society, and raised some much needed funds to help us at this time during our first year and all that involves.
Now for our next event… our Official Launch being held in the great city of York, beginning on 30th September.