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George Yorke opens the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Fête

George Yorke Opens the QDJ fete
George Yorke Opens the Queens Diamond Jubilee fete
Monday 4 June, 2012

Madam Chairman,  ladies and gentlemen

it is an honour to speak at the opening of our Jubilee celebrations - an honour I hasten to add earned purely by my longevity and is in no way related to any merit in me.

As to longevity, I came to live at Shawford after roughly the time our beloved Queen came to the throne.

May I take the moment of your time by sharing with you some memories of Shawford 60 years ago.

At the railway station you would find it staffed by two full-time uniformed railwaymen. You will find a cosy waiting room with the daily papers laid out on an mahogany table.

In addition to the main line, you could choose the scenic route. The little engine puffed its way across the brick viaduct which still, somewhat dilapidated, bestrides our water meadows. It then ambled to Alresford and and points east. The name Beeching had not yet been heard in the land.

And then consider Shawford Down. Successive road improvements have not yet gobbled sizeable chunks of the Down. And the Chalkhill Blue butterfly had not yet given up its unequal struggle against man's encroachment.

But despite all the physical changes our parish still keeps its essential character and is still a very pleasant place to live.

People who come here to live tend to stay, and indeed in this marquee are a number of residents who have clocked five decades or more.

This happy state of affairs is due to people – residents who get together and form committees and, unsung and unpaid, get things done – things  which make life so pleasant for all of us.

What better example than the huge voluntary effort, under the co-ordinating genius of Una Stevens, that has brought this festival into being.

I declare our Compton and Shawford Jubilee celebrations open.

Let joy be unconfined.