Tom Cobley lend me your old grey mare

The world-famous Widecombe Fair took place last week in the pretty Dartmoor village.

Thousands of people came along to see displays including sheep shearing, the Dartmoor Hill Pony Display team, a parade of Austin Seven motor cars, a hawking display, the Uncle Tom Cobley novelty race and a Tug o’ War competition.

A fine display of vintage farm machinery entitled ‘Farming through the Ages’ organised by Rodney Cruze, demonstrated how farming has evolved over the years. The Dartmoor Border Morris Dancers provided entertainment and laughter.

Chairman of the fair Gerald Smerdon said: “It all went very well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We had some new things in the ring this year that went well. We had the arrival of Francis Partridge, a local lad who’d done a sponsored cycle in memory of his dad. He cycled from Spreyton where Tom Cobley is said to be buried. We gave him £500 for the Lodge at Torbay Hospital.”

The mist did come down at one point, so much so that the Uncle Tom Cobley Downhill race had trouble finding the start line. There were stalls selling foods from all over the world and music on three stages including the great Geoff Lakeman, father of Seth and Sean, back at this years’ Widecombe Fair playing his concertina.

The Widecombe History society had some really interesting displays where I found a copy of the Widecombe Chronical and Dartmoor Gazette from 140 years ago.

Stuart Clarke

Author: Stuart Clarke

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