Dr Masimba Mavaza in CORBY, United Kingdom
Newly-elected United Kingdom’s Corby Town mayor, Zimbabwean-born Mr Tafadzwa Chikoto, wrote another piece of history yesterday when he was hoisted during the town’s Corby Poll Fair marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Mr Chikoto was carried by four men around the Corby village to wild cheers and celebratory claps from a huge crowd.
The weather was perfect with the sun shining and the crowds were up with the larks when the Corby Pole Fair got underway without a hitch at 6am sharp.
The bells of St John the Baptist Church in Corby Old Village had been ringing since 5am to signal the start of the 2022 Corby Pole Fair.
Hundreds of locals turned out to hear the first charter reading by the Parliament Stone outside the church.
Rev Paul Frost – as is tradition – was given the honour of reading the charter granted to the village in 1585 by Queen Elizabeth I.
Afterwards, Rev Frost, Mr Chikoto and the village’s oldest resident, June Thomson, were lifted aloft and carried through the streets of the village where the charter was again read outside the White Hart and in The Jamb.
The Corby Pole Fair is a major community celebration for the town.
The date yesterday links the original granting of the Royal Charter to Corby by Queen Elizabeth I in 1585 and coincided with the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend, created to celebrate the long years of service by Queen Elizabeth II.
This unique tradition comes around only every 20 years, attracting large crowds to enjoy outdoor attractions, entertainment and of course, the reading of the Royal Charter at the three entrances to the village at dawn.
There are lots of historical stories associated with the Pole Fair, from its evolution as a small Viking settlement, to the right to hold fairs granted by King Henry III in 1226, and the story of why Queen Elizabeth I granted the Corby Charter after an accident in a bog.
This year’s event was telling these stories through a variety of engaging activities, including a pageant, a living history encampment, as well as Open Days at Corby Heritage Centre for visitors to explore Pole Fair archives dating back to 1902.
There are numerous other traditions that take place at every fair, including floral gateways to the old village area of Corby, a greasy pole competition and a roast ox.
Previous fairs have also included markets, performances, historical re-enactments and a large fun fair.
All visitors to Corby village are also expected to pay a small toll to enter the fair on the day, or risk ending up in the village stocks.
The fair was being organised by a steering group of local volunteers and cultural organisations.
There was a community breakfast, a picnic, music, dance, walkabout performers, a carnival parade, funfair and lots more.
As part of entertainment, academy students put on a spectacular pageant bringing to life the story of Corby’s charter.
The pupils told the tale of how Elizabeth I had an accident in woodland near Corby and was rescued by villagers. She later granted a charter to the village.
The play is from an original script by Elspeth Robb, written in 1947.
Corby Town is proud to have a diversity of leadership in its council. — Vazet2000@yahoo.co.uk