East Boldre residents have been busy pulling off two successful fundraising events over two weekends in 2013.
The two day exhibition over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend drew in a steady stream of visitors on both days. And the following Sunday, villagers laid on refreshments and an exhibition for the Southampton and New Forest MG Owners Club who were touring the forest and calling at the twelve New Forest wartime airfields.
The village hall was built as the YMCA Concert Hall for the WW1 Royal Flying Corps Training School at East Boldre. Its direct link with the forest's airfields and its permanent gallery of historical photographs made it an obvious pit stop for the MGs' tour. Over 100 cars of all ages called in to enjoy the villagers' hospitality and look at an exhibition of the four local wartime airfields.
The previous week, on Bank Holiday Saturday and Sunday, East Boldre Village Hall hosted five exhibitions inside the hall while the New Forest Producers' Market set up their stalls on the village green outside. Visitors also enjoyed the demonstrations of forest crafts, the collection of vintage tractors and Jim Vardy's steam powered threshing machine.
Tony Johnson and Robin Street told the organisers they were very pleased with the response to their new exhibition of restored photographs, original documents and period magazines and newspaper articles. And Peter Brown, who has taken his exhibition of ancient forestry to several major events throughout the South of England, said that he has never had so many visitors at his exhibition before.
Gareth Owen from the New Forest National Park Authority's 'New Forest Remembers WW2' project, brought a collection of wartime memorabilia including photos and documents, and some military hardware in the form of a collection of shrapnel and fragments of mortars and shells, and pieces of crashed aircraft that were recovered from the forest.
Tools for Self Reliance who sell second-hand tools for charity not only sold a lot of tools but several villagers returned on Sunday to donate their unwanted tools. The only disappointment was that most of the market stallholders sold out on Saturday and they didn't have enough stock for Sunday so only two returned for a second day's trading.
While the events were being planned our main concern was the weather but in the event it was perfect both weekends.