Championship Week

We often look back with what seem to be rose-tinted spectacles but in many respects village life in earlier times was a lot friendlier and people had more time for each other.

In September 1958, the whole population of Yapton took part in a “Championship Week” to aid the village hall repairs fund. Events were organised every evening and all afternoon on the Saturday. The Village Crier (Mr Deegan), suitable attired in green satin coat, white breeches and black three-cornered hat, announced the events.

As well as the usual competitions for ‘Best-Kept Cottage Garden’, flower decorating and cake-making, there were events for badminton (outdoors on the village green), tennis (at Berri Court) and a ‘Home Decorator’ championship with the judge visiting the homes of the competitors to assess their decorating skills. Snooker and darts were judged in the village hal! and teas and refreshments were organised by the ‘YoungWives’ Group’.

On the Wednesday were perhaps two of the more unusual events: the ‘Glamorous Grandmother Championship’ and the ‘Yapton Flitch’. The latter wasn’t, as the name might suggest, a prize for the best presented side of pork, but was actually the prize, to be given to Yapton’s ‘Happiest Married Couple’! Judging was by a panel of six spinsters and six bachelors but I do not know who won the competition.

There were walking and running races (boys and men only - it was deemed unbecoming for ladies to be seen running) as well as singing and piano playing competitions and essay writing for the youngsters. There was something for everyone - the aim being to involve the whole village in the championships. Apparently the event was even televised for national TV!


The finale to the week-long celebrations was a ‘Dance Championship’ in the village hall followed by a presentation of all the championship certificates to the winners of the week’s events. The week was rounded off with dancing till midnight to music provided by Roy Russell on his vibraphones.

Geoff Westcott
December 2005

(Originally published in Yapton News & Views, January 2006)

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