1974 was the year when national radio came to Timsbury. The Conygre Hall had been going for just about twelve months when it hosted the long running “Any Questions” programme. The chair was taken by David Jacobs and the panel consisted of the M.P.s Edward Du Cann and Christopher Mayhew, actress Billie Whitelaw and Michael Clayton who I seem to remember was associated with field sports. Conygre Hall was packed for the live Friday evening broadcast on Radio 4.
To celebrate its anniversary the Hall held a Festival Week in May but the bumper selection of events were not well supported. I recall going to a superb Medieval Banquet on Bank Holiday Monday but a cabaret night featuring Felix Bowness who was later to make his name as the jockey on Hi-di-Hi attracted only 50 people and meant big losses for the organisers. Other events in that week included community hymn singing, a summer fayre incorporating a donkey derby, a concert for the over 60s, children’s parties and disco, a festival dance and Old Tyme Music Hall.
Bulging biceps were the order of the day at Conygre Hall when the Norton Sports and Sauna Centre together with the national Body Building Association presented the West Country heat of Mr. and Miss Great Britain competition. Over 400 people attended and amongst the guests was Precious Mckenzie, three times Commonwealth Games and Olympics weightlifter. The audience was entertained by impressionist comedian Bill Owen who came from the comedy hotbed of Midsomer Norton.
Earlier in the year Teresa Moon from Bloomfield reached the national finals of the competition to find Miss Ballroom Dancing 1974. Teresa’s dancing partner was her fiancé Bruce Mellor from Clutton with whom she had been dancing for 2 years. I would be interested to know how she fared in the finals.
The guest speaker at the annual dinner and dance of Timsbury Cricket Club was HTV news reporter Ken Rees who went on to work on national television. The club celebrated promotion to the second division of the Bristol and District League and principal award winners were Cuthbert Brain who was Clubman of the Year and Alan Berry who won the teenager cup. Later in the year the club made a special presentation of a tie to Donna Rutherford, a 15 year old from Calgary, Canada who was staying at the home of Phil and Lil Cleaves. It was part of an exchange visit with Norton Hill School and weeks later Nicola Cleaves paid a reciprocal visit to Calgary.
It was a good year for pub sports in the village. The New Inn (later The Guss and Crook) won both the league championship and K.O. cup in the Chew Valley Shove H’penny League and Jack Hasell Junior won the Singles Cup. Meanwhile Timsbury Royal British Legion won Division 2 of the Chew Valley Darts League with The Seven Stars runners-up.
A number of organisations and individuals donated trees for a planting ceremony on the Recreation Field. Trees planted near the Conygre Hall were given by the village Horticultural Society, the Guides and Brownies and the W.I. Trees adjacent to Bloomfield Road were donated by the Horse Show Committee, the Parish Council and several parishioners. A copper beech presented by the Parish Council was planted at St. Mary’s Primary School.
Timsbury was shocked by the death of two well known residents in 1974. Roland Pickford who had been Chairman of the Parish Council from 1953-1970 died suddenly at the age of 60 just a day after he had sung with Timsbury Male Voice Choir in Warwickshire. Roland, a talented thespian had been a founder member of the W.E.A. Dramatic Society and had joined the recently formed Timsbury Theatre Group. He had also been a steward at Tabor Church and had worked actively for the Labour Party. In February Timsbury had said goodbye to Teddy Gale, who died at the early age of 53. A member of the Royal British Legion and a local darts and football player he had been a convener for the TGWU at the FBG Trident factory at Temple Cloud.