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   Verwood Village Activities.  

Until December 1925 a village fair was held annually on common land behind the Church of England on Church Hill.   This was an event to which the villagers looked forward and to which stallholders came who sold anything from fruit and brandy snaps to boots. There were also amusements amongst which It is understood were hoop-la stall, coconut shies and roundabouts.   It is recorded that the children played truant from school for this event.

Five years later brought the first Verwood Whit Monday Carnival, since then apart from the war years, this has been an annual event and one of the most important days in the life of the village.   This event is organised by a Carnival Committee which meets at regular intervals during the year and is held in the Recreation Ground. The carnival is opened by the Carnival Queen and during the day there are various spectacular entertainments for all ages as well as a procession of previously judged fancy dress, consisting of serious and comic tableaux and mounted characters.   The villagers also run stalls and sideshows and until recently a fun fair visited the village. Throughout the day village organisations give a helping hand and those organisations which need financial assistance benefit from the proceeds.   The Memorial Hall was built and financed from this source, and the swimming pool (now closed) at the Verwood County Junior School (Hillside), was helped greatly by the carnival.

"The Memorial Hall and part of the Recreation Ground".

The village is fortunate in having an excellent band, the Verwood Prize Band. Its origin is not accurately known, but it is thought that it was formed in the 1870's, although there was a small combination known as "Shearing's Band" in the 1860's.   This band appeared to be semi-professional as it is understood that they went away for days and sometimes weeks at a time playing at country houses, fetes and other events. Their music was arranged by their leader whom it is said, "used to write out the music himself under a haystack".

There was another small band or orchestra attached to one of the chapels before the "Shearing's Band" was formed. It consisted of cello, violin, piccolo, clarinet, tenor saxhorn, trombone and a keyed bugle, which was invented in 1810 and was a much used instrument until about 1855.

A January 1904 copy of the Western Gazette recorded "The Verwood Temperance Brass Band (under Bandmaster M. Ferrett) paraded the village on Bank Holidays and gave a selection of carols and other pieces".  I am not sure, but it seems possible that this band was a forerunner of the present band.

The Verwood Prize Band (Verwood Concert Brass) began contesting soon after the First World War and apart from during the Second World War they have continued to do so under many musical directors.   In 1968 they were fortunate in having as their Musical Director, Graham Coote, and in the late 1960'ss have won awards at Oxford, Bristol, Swindon and Bournemouth. Later at Hammersmith the band achieved second place out of fifteen bands and fourth place, out of nineteen bands, the other winners being Sheffield Recreation, City of Cambridge and Hammersmith Borough.   From these achievements one can see that the Verwood Band is well able to hold its own and content bands from large towns, The band now known as the Verwood Concert Brass has successfully continued till the present day and now has its own Band Hut. 

In 2005 the Verwood Concert Brass won the West of England Championships and competed in the National Brass Band Championship of Great Britain held in Harrogate during September 2005. 

Newcomers of any age to the village, have every opportunity to join an activity as can be seen from the following list of leisure time activities:-

Playgroup, Scouts, Guides, Brownies, Cub Scouts, Venture Scouts, Rangers, Youth Clubs, Young Wives Group, Women's Institute, British Legion Club, Mothers' Union, Women's Social Hour, Women's Guild, Horticultural Society, Football, Cricket, Tennis, Badminton, and Bowling Clubs, Conservative, Liberal and United Nations Associations, Women's Voluntary Service, Amateur Dramatic Society, Pantomime Society and the Old Age Pensioners'  Evergreen Club.

Copyright P Reeks.     


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