Digging through a ten-year-old copy of The Village for the snippets produced on the right of this page brought back many happy memories of the days when villagers from all over the area would congregate for the Alvechurch Alight procession.
The event was, sadly, doomed by its own popularity: a handful of volunteers couldn’t continue to carry the responsibility, especially as Messrs Health & Safety increased their involvement.
It wasn’t just about the one night, either. After months of organisation, there were weeks of lantern-making workshops, costume-making, drumming and drama rehearsals and the hours and hours put in by so many people to grow the vegetables, make the wine and paint the pictures that were entered into the Craft and Produce show.
All of this, of course, created a deep sense of community spirit, one that is remembered with great fondness by so many people, but particularly by those who were small children at the time.
It was a slice of magic for them, like the overnight appearance of the Mop Fair but without the prices.
Nostalgia is a powerful feeling and we often hear people wish this could all be brought back, but if you look around it is still here.
New generations of volunteers are springing into action bringing us such events as the Alvechurch Big Picnic (which is happening again next year), a regular Blackwell summer event and last month’s walking celebration and pig roast in Barnt Green.
There are bound to be hiccups as volunteers run out of steam. There was no fete and flower show in Burcot this summer for the first time since the 1950s because, we hear, the committee needs new people to help out.
But community spirit is alive and thriving – and it is particularly important today as each influx of residents arrives to occupy homes on newly built estates. There’s no better way to quickly feel part of village life than to join in an event with your neighbours.
So, here’s power to the elbows of all those who put in so much effort for the common good – and long may parish councils thrive to give them the support they so richly deserve.