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Remember When: Kittens, donkeys, scarecrows, owls... and a Big Friendly Giant

Welcome to Remember When, our weekly delve into the Advertiser archives to see what was making headlines this week 35, 40 and 45 years ago. If you recognise your younger self in any of the pictures please get in touch to share your memories.

Staff reporter

Staff reporter

Remember When: Kittens, donkeys, scarecrows, owls... and a Big Friendly Giant

1973: The fanfare was the star spectacle of St Joseph’s international fete in Altwood Road.

‘La Renaissance’, from Quevaucamps in Belgium, featured a 50-strong brass band with 24 boy and girl drummers and 30 majorettes.

The crowd at the fete also enjoyed the Sioux Indian Dancers, fresh from appearing before US president Richard Nixon at the White House earlier in the year.


1978: RSPCA inspector Trever Caldwell and staff member Sally Fowler were looking for homes for 20 kittens, plus several cats.

They included two kittens who were rescued from a dustbin in Maidenhead.


1978: Dorothy Ansell retired after spending nearly 30 years as the cook at Cookham Dean Primary School.

Mrs Ansell had been producing about 100 meals a day, with the help of four assistants, and was presented with a book made of children’s illustrations of the meals they had especially enjoyed.


1978: The Mayor, Cllr Neville Whiteley, started the first race at the annual donkey derby organised by Furze Platt Scout Group and Ranger Venture Unit.

He was spotted coaxing his favourite with a carrot and the ploy nearly worked – the donkey was first past the finishing post, throwing its rider off en route.


1983: Work on the ‘missing link’ in Maidenhead’s road network was set to start.

A project to complete the Western Relief Road, which would join Braywick Road with the town’s ring road, was scheduled to start in September after more than a decade of planning and postponements.

It would create a new dual carriageway linking the railway bridge with Frascati Way.


 1983: ‘An adventurous ball of fluff’ was adopted by Mike and Gillian Sessions, of Orchard Cottage, Firs Lane.

They took in Otto the owl chick after the baby bird was found by friends, wet and bedraggled under a tree, only a few days old.

The couple’s cat, Dumpy, was scared stiff of Otto, who invaded her carpeted cat box and started eating the mice and birds that she killed.


1983: Children’s author Roald Dahl paid a visit to Lowbrook Primary School, Cox Green, as part of a special book week.

The BFG writer autographed old and new copies of his books and chatted to pupils.

Another writer, Mary Rayner, and local author David Clutterbuck also visited during the week.


1983: Cookham village’s first joint fair, organised by 1st Cookham Scouts, was held on the Moor (main picture).

About 2,000 people attended the fair, which involved many organisations in the village.

Scarecrows were among the attractions, with children invited to make their own. First prize was awarded to the Robert Scott Cubs, closely followed by 10-year-old Lisa Rickman,

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