‘Deep sorrow’ after decision to discontinue Old Dalby Day events

It attracted thousands of people every year for three decades but, sadly, organisers have decided Old Dalby Day won’t be held again.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 12:00 pm
A scene from Old Dalby Day 2017 - sadly the popular event is to be dissolved EMN-201011-112219001

The event, which featured stalls, displays, shows and family entertainment, was cancelled last year because of a shortage of volunteer helpers.

An online meeting, arranged earlier this year to assess public support, attracted less than 10 villagers and then the ongoing coronavirus pandemic compounded the problems of putting it on.

And now Old Dalby Day charity secretary, Russ Hamer, has confirmed that ‘with deep sorrow and regret’ the organisation is to be dissolved.

Russ Hamer and some of the other Old Dalby Day volunteers pictured back in 2018 when they were appealing for more help to keep the popular event going EMN-201011-112208001

Mr Hamer told the Melton Times: “The event had grown, over decades, from a small village get-together to a monster of a day involving a car show, dog show, horticultural show, stalls, rides and entertainment.

“This, along with the ever-increasing traffic and safety measures required, meant the organisation required a substantial group of people to plan from early in the year.

“Unfortunately, too few people attended the initial 2019 planning meeting to even form a committee.

“An appeal and subsequent public meeting attracted a similar number and so the 2019 event had to be suspended.

(From left to right): Old Dalby Day two years ago - Sharon Barber, Barry Lewell, Sarah Moulds and daughter with reserve best in show working spaniel Brior, Alison Clarke with winner of best in show husky Honey, Lynne Marshall and Kate Warren Price PHOTO: Supplied EMN-201011-112728001

“A resident wide survey conveyed mixed feelings about the event.

“There was no shortage of ‘on the day’ volunteers but only a tiny amount of residents indicated they might commit to helping plan through the year.

“With so many residents already heavily involved with the church, village hall, cricket, scouts and school during the event, or retired, or simply so busy with work it is understandable.”

He said the uncertainty on when public events would be allowed to be held due to the Covid situation had played a part in the decision and the lack of interest in the recent online meeting had helped trustess make the decision to wrap up the charity.

Winning knight Joshua Nicholson with children who entered the fancy dress competition at Old Dalby Day in 2018 PHOTO: Jim Patman EMN-201011-113011001

The assets associated with Old Dalby Day, which are presently in storage, will be offered for sale with local organisations given first priority.

The revenue resulting will be added to the existing funds and, as was always the tradition, allocated by the trustees as grants to local organisations. The funds presently held were enough to put on another Old Dalby Day even if no one attended.

Applications for a grant can be emailed to [email protected] before February 28 next year and allocations will be made shortly after that date.

Go to www.olddalbyday.old-dalby.org.uk to see a full list of assets available.

Mr Hamer added: “Although this is, to some, bitterly disappointing news there is still plenty of hope for the future.

The village hall, church, scouts, school, cricket club and others will, no doubt, put their not inconsiderable organisational skills into operation once again as soon as this horrible virus allows.

“As one attendee at the last meeting suggested there may well be an Old Dalby Weekend, designed entirely for residents, with events planned and coordinated between the groups.

“I certainly hope so and I hope younger residents will get involved.

“In the meantime, the trustees would like to offer heartfelt thanks and pay tribute to the scores of people who have given so much of their valuable time and enormous talent to making all those Old Dalby Days so successful and memorable.

“They should be proud.”