Countdown to Village Day 2003
As this site prepares to cover its fifth Village Day with yet another photo gallery, a feature is being republished looking back to how the tradition began.
How it all began
In the winter of 1957, as the local primary school was about to close for the Christmas holidays, the then headmaster, Mr A.W. Harris, looked out of his office window and had a thought that was to lead to a tradition that has lasted to this day.
As he watched the children make their way home wrapped up against the winter chill and with the first snowflakes starting to fall, his thoughts turned to the warmth of summer and it was at that point that he decided the school should have an outdoor swimming pool.
He called a meeting and invited parents to discuss the idea. He told them that there were no swimming facilities in the area and convinced them of the importance of teaching their children to swim.
His argument was so persuasive that less than four months later the building work began.
Throughout that summer of 1958, gangs of volunteers, parents and school staff, worked at weekends and during the light evenings until, at the end of September, the pool was finished.
As they worked they were supported by the school catering staff who provided gallons of tea and coffee to keep the workers going.
The following May, the first child took the first dip in the new Brookmans Park School swimming pool. By the end of that summer, and records show it was a hot few months, more than 100 children had learnt how to swim.
To raise funds for the building of the pool the Parent Teachers Association agreed to organise a Village Day, which was to be a joint venture for the whole community.
The first was held in the summer of 1959 and subsequent Village Days helped raise the funds for changing rooms to be built and the purchase and installation of heating and a filtration plant.
The programme for Village Day 1960 carried a report on the first event the previous year.
"As many of you will know, our first Village Day, held in June of last year, was a great success both socially and financially. The day dawned bright and sunny, and the sun continued to shine the whole day long, enabling everyone to enjoy the many events that took place in the arena as well as the many stalls and sideshows, both in the grounds and in the school itself."
Village Day has continued every year since then with the exception of 1962.
This year it falls on Saturday June 21 and organisers are hoping that the weather this year is as good as it was on the first Village Day.
What is certain is that the community spirit referred to in that report of 1960 still appears to be as strong today and thatís what makes the event such an important part of the life of Brookmans Park.
Local author Lilian Caras has written a history of Brookmans Park Primary School, offering an insight into how the school has grown over the past 50 years.
The pool was closed in the early 90s.
10 June 2003
Previous Village Day photo galleries