John S White played King Henry VIII at the event. Picture: Claire Taylor
1,000 turn out for Community Heritage event
More than 1,000 people enjoyed brilliant sunshine when they turned out to support a community fete at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall.
The inaugural fete, on 12 September, received a Community Grant from Sutton Coldfield Town Council to help set up the event.
The neighbouring Tudor Community Sports Trust provided activities such as Crown Green Bowling tasters on its recreation area as a linked event.
The fete, opened by the town mayor, Councillor Terry Wood, who said: “I was delighted to be invited to open the Town Hall’s first Community Fete. The weather was kind to us, which helped everyone get into the swing of the event.
“Having so many people turn out to support really does show just what a brilliant community we have here in Sutton Coldfield and one that we are all very lucky to be part of. The organisation of the fete was a great effort from everyone involved and I would like to say a sincere thank you to all the people who helped make it a great success.”
Local community groups and businesses rose to the occasion by adding activities to their stalls such as biscuit decoration, quizzes and messy play. The UP Creative Community ran an interactive craft tent on the theme of the town hall’s forthcoming pantomime Cinderella.
Sutton Coldfield Litter Action Group generated enough support for 23 more local roads to be adopted for litter picking and visitors were able to study old maps of the area with Folio Sutton Coldfield.
The Town Hall hosted a coconut shy and band stage, and staff member and carpenter Colin Troman created a wooden storytelling stage in the grounds for performances through the day and a pair of stocks.
As part of the national project ‘Heritage Open Days’, the town hall conducted five backstage and heritage tours over the day, which included rare access visits to the roof and the reportedly haunted ‘below stage’.
King Henry VIII, played by performance historian John S White, re-enacted the granting of the town’s charter to the delight of visitors and Andrew Mitchell MP joined him on stage to thank visitors for supporting the event.
The King also helped launch the town hall’s own charity mascot ‘Town Hall Tara’, a £10 fundraising toy based on a real Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was also there to meet and greet visitors through the day.
A live music stage featured local bands, co-ordinated by local musician Job Baker-Sullivan of Ceol Agency and was hosted by presenters Sam Rabone and Lauren Hill.