A fantastic week of celebration at Castle Village’s Marquee Week

Diary posted

17th August 2018

Castle Retirement Village, Berkhamstead

This July residents at Castle Village enjoyed their annual Marquee Week – a week full of events and celebrations based in an around a marquee!

Here is a review of this wonderful week, written by the residents themselves:

Welcome Party

The first event took place on Monday and Marquee Week Chairman, David Corke, told us that 105 residents attended the ‘Welcome Party’. They enjoyed delicious food and drinks, organised and served by Monica Tisdale and her team of charming waitresses. The food and drinks were paid for by a donation from the late Gerry Burt. Hilary McNair led a toast to Gerry, who did so much for the village, from its start for nearly 15 years and left us a generous legacy to be used to enjoy ourselves as he would have done. His son, Mike, was attending with his wife and responded by saying how much his father had liked village life and hoped we will all continue to do so. Thank you, we will do so. Guests were given an unexpected special surprise treat when Monica and her waitresses performed a cabaret and danced to Dancing Queen. Quite a night!!

Marquee Week, Castle Village, Hertfordshire


Luncheon Club

Tuesday was Luncheon Club with guest speaker Mike Brace – 
It’s Ability That Counts. It certainly is, and Mike proved it. He talked for over an hour with hardly a pause about various topics, based on his life. He was partially blinded at the age of ten by a firework accident, and complete loss of sight soon followed. He saw an opportunity to rehabilitate and to become accepted by taking part in sport, trying as many as fifty over the years, including football, cricket [using balls that rattle!], walking, running, skating, skiing ~ he eventually became a Paralympic skier.

In the wider field he became a social worker, leader of disabled charities, Chief Executive of Vision 2020 UK, and Chairman of the Paralympic Association. For this amazing work and achievements he was awarded an OBE in 2005, and CBE in 2009.

We were promised that the talk would be entertaining, and so it was. Hardly a minute went by without him telling a joke or putting an amusing slant on his tales. He had the audience in stitches quite often. In short, it was an inspiring talk by a truly amazing person.

Finally, we are delighted to say that for the second year running the event was a sell-out, with 57 of us including the Speaker and guest squeezing into the restaurant, where we once again enjoyed a naughty ice-cream dessert.

Deer Drive

About 20 or so residents took part in the Marquee Deer drive. This is Castle Village’s own version of the better known Beetle Drive. It was enormous fun with lots of comments about the individual drawing of the deer. The winners of the evening were Angela De Winter and James Cassidy who received a very well deserved prize. Well done to them.

Wednesday Supper with Music

Marquee Week, Castle Village, HertfordshireWednesday night offered the traditional combination of both a culinary and a musical treat, with a choice of fish or chicken with chips from David and his team, and music from the Jolly Jazzers who play for charity. The marquee was packed ~ seventy eight tickets were sold and there was enough space for dancing, which proved there was still life in at least some of the old dogs.
 Preparing the marquee for the next day was scheduled for 9pm but the audience had other ideas
~ there were at least a dozen or more dancers still going strong at half past. The band were still playing until the last people left at something after ten ~ a marathon performance especially considering the temperature. All in all an it was an excellent evening enjoyed by a capacity crowd. Thanks to David (and girls) and the Jolly Jazzers.

Thursday Village Market

A good crowd thronged the Marquee to enjoy the many pleasures of this year’s market. Alongside the village cake stall were others featuring the usual Rumblers Farm stall, selling fruit, veg and splendid jams, Aloe Vera Products, Traveltime World holidays, wood turned bowls, nail treatments by Hayley, original painted silk scarves, The Hospice of St Francis, with Jill Lewis making coffee for those in need. Carole and John Harrison ran the tombola again, and had assembled some fine prizes for those who drew the lucky tickets. The climax of the morning at noon was the Raffle Draw, splendidly managed this year by Una Furlong, who had some great prizes on offer, with the winners drawn by Maggie Finch and announced by David Corke.

Thursday ‘Majority Rules’ Quiz

This Thursday night event was the second of a new type of quiz, organised and presented by David Walters. He posed the contestants a series of questions, to which each team, comprising one or two people, gave a written answer. David’s friend, Anna, collected these, he read them out and the winning answer was the most popular. Those who had given that answer scored a point.

The many questions were very varied, ranging from “If you could only keep one possession what would it be?” to “What feature of a man most attracts a woman?” and “What is your favourite food?” The secret was obviously to pick a popular answer, even if it meant fibbing. The winning team was Maggie Finch and Vera Holland, who won a bottle of wine each.

Friday Marquee Week Show

The show, which was attended at two performances by 111 guests, began with Dad’s Army, a tribute to the incredible 50 years that this has been a gem of British TV. It had a script written by Neil Castle, with all his usual skill and expertise, and was directed by Donald Richardson. The cast comprised Wolsey Jameson, Alastair Cuthbertson, David Corke, Marilyn Corke, Neil Castle, Keith Raven, David Clark, John De Morgan, and James Cassidy.

An interval followed, during which the audience were treated to a free drink and a choice of snack items, all provided by a generous donation from the former Farmery Court resident, John Miller, as a gesture of thanks for his happy time here.

It was followed by Mum’s Army, a selection of songs and sketches relating to women’s lives during the Second World War. These were performed by a group of Castle Village Ladies whose names I have been forbidden to include. Let’s just say that they were all splendid. They were accompanied by pianist Jackie Robinson, who as always played with great skill. This part of the Show was devised by Anna Sladden, who also provided a song sheet with the programme, so the audience could join in their favourite songs.

So, what was the result? Truly amazing!
 The acting was all splendid, with some really outstanding performances, and the singing and dancing of the ladies was superb.

Saturday Gala Dinner

Exactly 100 tickets were sold, and this year, for the first time, guests were given a choice of main courses, duck or salmon, an amazing offer by David Prodger, given the extra work involved.
 As always, he cooked splendid food, and his staff did an amazing job, carrying the meals many yards into the Marquee, and serving swiftly and with their usual charm.

The entertainment was provided this year by Press Button B, a highly talented and charming couple who pleased their audience at a previous concert with their choice of familiar songs and their skilful performance, and did the same this night.
 So, once again, a splendid conclusion to a varied and fine week. Roll on 2019!!