The Alton Lions ‘Hi-de-Hi’ themed Summer Event in Alton’s town centre Public Gardens captured the family fun atmosphere of the classic holiday camp heydays of the 50’s & 60’s. Held on 9th June, this is the fifth year that Alton Lions have teamed with Treloars to raise funds for the children at the renowned Physically Disabled School and College.
The day got off to a familiar holiday camp start with Gladys Pugh (Carole Samuda) waking up the visitors with the famous ‘Hi-de-Hi’ jingle and together with Geoffrey Fairbrother (Paul LeFeuvre) outlining the day for the ‘campers’ and providing music of the day.
Already the ‘camp’ was stocked with traditional activities provided by the many stalls from other local organisations and charities challenging visitors to try their luck at chess, juggling, bowl for a pig, tombola, hop-scotch and others.
There was bouncy castles, a steam ride on model railway, iconic cars and traditional camp games including ‘glamorous Granny’ and ‘knobbly-knees’ to encourage all to join in the fun. Chalet maid Peggy Ollerenshaw (Lion Jackie Barnes) was on hand to encourage the campers to join in (or else!)
The Town Crier (Stan Witcher from Medstead) announced the official opening, which was performed by Sue Hodder, Alton Town Mayor, with Elvis Presley (Dave Hurral from Bentley). Elvis had recently arrived on a flying visit in a classic 1950’s pink Cadillac supplied and driven by Tony Vincent from Four Marks. Lion Moira Baker, the event organiser led the Yellow Coat Cheer Leaders (Alton Lions) in welcoming Elvis into the Camp and encouraging him to sing to the Campers.
There was great entertainment for all the family with local band ‘Unknown Legend’ getting everyone in the right musical mood of the time. Topper the travelling clown entertained individual and small groups of children (and adults) with his magic tricks, juggling, unicycling and ballooning.
Professor Moon delivered the traditional Punch & Judy puppet show, which had children screeching with delight as Mr. Punch got up to his usual politically incorrect antics. Professor Moon also mystified children and adults alike with a special magic show involving his audience in his bewildering conjuring tricks.
A special and on going treat for all the family was created by Gamegoer in the country animals display area. The ferret racing was amazingly amusing and exciting, the clear enthusiasm of trained gun dogs was matched by the discipline of their behaviour and the hunting Hawk looked majestic and when released moved like lightening.
There was no chance for enthusiasm to flag with a beer tent, teas, coffee and cakes, a BBQ and ice cream to refresh the campers ready to enjoy Bee Vagra demonstrating hula-hoop techniques and then joining in with the fun. The afternoon’s entertainment was ended by ‘Tripwire’ a local band providing a rousing melody of hits from the era.
This year’s Lion President, Peter Bacon, drew the raffle numbers and closed the day first by thanking all the event sponsors which included Alton Town Council, Top Marks Executive Coaches, Timms Turkeys, Liftmaster, Chris Chandler Motor Engineers, Harry’s Carpets, Newbury Building Society and The Toy Shop. The sponsor funds being used to pay for all the splendid entertainment in the camp. Secondly and most importantly, the Lion President thanked the visitors for their attendance and reminded them that the event was designed to raise funds for the children at Treloar’s School and College (which for this year’s event will be in the order of £1700), to provide an occasion for other local organisations and charities to raise their profile and funds for their own activities and of course for the campers to have fun!