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Remember When: Village festival revives art of marrow dangling to find a spouse

Remember When: Village festival revives art of marrow dangling to find a spouse

Welcome to Remember When, our weekly delve into the Advertiser archives to see what was making headlines, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years ago this week.

If you recognise your younger self in any of the pictures please get in touch to share your memories by emailing 

1969: Traffic came to standstill in the town centre for the biggest carnival Maidenhead had seen in years.

A parade made its way around York Road, Park Street, Broadway, Queen Street, High Street, King Street and Bridge Avenue as thousands of children and adults watched on or took part.

1979: A tornado damaged more than 100 homes in Windsor but left the Maidenhead area virtually untouched – with one major exception.

An 80ft section of disused barn lay in ruins at Orchard Farm in Littlewick Green.

Farmer Arthur Westacott said he was in his greenhouse when he heard a strange noise before he saw the leaves and branches of a large tree on the south side of the farm ‘being whirled around upwards’.

The incident caused £2,000 worth of damage.

1979: The ancient marital rite of marrow dangling proved to be a major crowd puller at Wargrave Village Festival in Mill Green (main picture).

Organisers had to get over a few hurdles, such as no one knowing the rules, but were able to piece together enough information to make a modern-day adaptation of the contest.

In it, the ‘marrow’ (for this event, a marrow-shaped boat buoy) is strung from a long pole on a piece of rope. One team stands in a circle around the pole, wearing helmets, while the opposing team grabs hold of the ‘marrow’ and whirls it around in an arc.

The ‘marrow’ must complete a circle before it starts hitting and knocking people down. Traditionally, the last person standing has to marry the person who whirled the marrow.

1979: Former heavyweight boxing champion Henry Cooper was the star attraction at the 1st Bourne End Scout Group donkey derby in Wooburn Park.

Cooper agreed to open the event through a friendship with Faberge sales and marketing director John Cardick, who had two sons in the troop.

1984: For the first time in 19 years, the Marlow Donkey railway service made a welcome return on Sundays.

Following years of campaigning by the Marlow-Maidenhead Passengers’ Association and financial help from Berks and Bucks county councils, British Rail re-instated the Sunday service for an experimental 10-week period.

1984: Veteran cycling enthusiast Terry Quantrill took an 1876 penny farthing bicycle to Larchfield Junior School.

Dressed in period costume, Mr Quantrill gave a talk on the history of the bicycle and gave several pupils and members of staff the chance to ride it.

1994: A brave Holyport man who tackled a burglar red-handed and sat on him until the police arrived was praised for his ‘quick-thinking and very courageous actions’.

Sales manager Brian Vickers, of Springfield Park, grabbed the raider as he tried to escape with stolen videos from a nearby house after flagging down the help of another man and catching up with him. He secured the burglar in an armlock and sat on him until police arrived.

Supt David Drye, area commander for Windsor and Maidenhead, commended him for his ‘public spirited actions’.

1994: Television superstars Mr Blobby and Noel Edmonds joined more than 10,000 youngsters, carers and families at the annual children’s day at Booker Airfield, near Marlow.

Noel’s charity Airborne had joined forces with the airfield to offer helicopter and plane trips as well as many land-based activities.

Mr Blobby made his entrance by hanging out of a helicopter and ‘waving frantically’.

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