Plans unveiled on bid to mark 500-year-old Hartlepool village festival from home

Villagers have announced plans to celebrate an ancient festival in a different way after coronavirus put paid to its traditional events.

Sunday, 17th May 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Sunday, 17th May 2020, 10:05 am
Annual Greatham Feast village fete parade last year.

Greatham Feast, which has been held in the village for almost 560 years, is unable to hold its annual parade, fun day on the village green, and other activities due to the Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings.

Feast organisers initially decided not to do anything this year because of the lockdown and to keep people safe.

But after speaking to residents, they have announced plans for a small number of competitions and fun events that villagers can do in their own homes.

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Annual Greatham Feast village fete parade last year.

They include a cake competition, fancy dress contest on what would have been Feast Saturday, June 27, and encouraging residents to decorate their homes.

It comes as the village tradition, which dates back to the 15th Century has never been known to be cancelled, even during wartime.

Cheryl Hutchinson, of Greatham Feast Committee, said: “We are trying to do little things so it hasn’t been totally cancelled.

“If the war didn’t cancel it this shouldn’t.

“We are looking at having a cake competition which we have a trophy for, people can dress up in fancy dress, asking people to decorate their houses and have a party in their garden, then to send us pictures and video to judge. “It will be along the lines of what we did for VE Day.”

There are records of public events being held during the Second World War in Greatham when large numbers of troops were stationed in the village including in 1940 and 1944.

The annual Feast Saturday is generally attended by hundreds of people mixing together on the village green so cannot take place this year.

Greatham Community Centre, which held the annual Bonny Baby Competition and Pensioners’ Tea, is also closed due to the lockdown.

So are pubs that normally hold darts, dominoes and yard of ale competitions.

The feast began as as a celebration of the birthday of St John the Baptist on June 24 and this is its 559th year.

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