Residents’ Association says lack of volunteers to blame as 2017 Colnbrook Apple Fair confirmed cancelled

Residents looking forward to the annual Colnbrook Apple Fair will be disappointed to learn that the event has been cancelled this year – due to a lack of support.

Cancelled: the Colnbrook Apple Fair will not take place this year because enough volunteers have not come forward.

Cancelled: the Colnbrook Apple Fair will not take place this year because enough volunteers have not come forward.

It has been confirmed that the Colnbrook Apple Fair, the highlight of the village’s social calendar, has definitely been cancelled this year.

The Colnbrook Residents’ Association, which has assumed responsibility for organising the event in recent years, says that residents have shown insufficient interest in stepping up to organise the event.

The fate of the Apple Fair was confirmed in an announcement in the Parish Council’s Summer newsletter, distributed to households in the parish over the past week. However, it was first mooted in last September’s newsletter when the CRA warned that more people needed to come forward and volunteer if the event was to return.

This week’s newsletter said:

“The publication of the last Parish newsletter saw us basking in the success of the Apple Fair which raised around £7,000 for local groups. In that report we advised that unless we were able to recruit a considerable number of volunteers to help with the running of this event we would not be holding an Apple Fair in 2017.

“Sadly we have not had enough volunteers come forward to enable us to organise the event this year”.

The CRA had most recently appealed for volunteers at the Annual Meeting of the Parish in April, but only 3 members of the public attended and the appeal was not publicised more widely.

This year, instead, a series of smaller events organised by individuals and different groups are to be publicised as a Colnbrook Fun Day, to be held in July rather than September.

The annual Apple Fair, which once attracted residents from across all the neighbouring villages, has seen mixed fortunes in recent years. Small scale events in the grounds of the Village Hall and the Ye Olde George car park have not attracted residents in sufficient numbers to make money. Something of a resurgence came in 2013 when the new Hilton Terminal 5 in Poyle hosted the event, with shuttle buses to and from the residential areas.

The Hilton event saw a record turnout and a profit of £3,000 but nevertheless saw a demand from village groups for the fair to return to Colnbrook. In 2014 a hastily arranged fair returned to the George but failed to attract numbers. 2015 and 2016, however, saw record-breaking Apple Fairs in the Colnbrook Recreation Ground. Helped by the introduction of an on-the-gate fee, sponsorship, and widespread support from local businesses, profits jumped to £5,000 and then to a record £7,500.

Organising the Apple Fair is no mean feat. With 2 arenas and a huge marquee; over 80 stallholders; competitions; entertainment; dance troupes and morris dancers; exhibitions from local groups; caterers, hog roast, and bars; bouncy castle; donkey rides; and, of course, the logistics of bringing the fire tender out of storage for the day, there is much to coordinate.

Whether or not the Colnbrook Apple Fair will return in 2018 remains to be seen. As the CRA noted following last Summer’s Fair: “The small team we had this year were very pleased with the outcome but totally shattered at the end of it”.

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