The History and Ethos of Frampton Country Fair
In the 70’s the Gloucestershire Wildfowlers Association (GWA) held two Sports A’ Field days, one at Frampton and one at Whitminster. This sowed the seed for the future.
Paul Walkden and Theo Rhys-Jones were involved in the planning and preparation of those two days and in 1986 Paul Walkden joined the Committee of the GWA of which Theo Rhys-Jones was Chairman. Paul was the driving force behind the decision to establish an annual country fair, with a view to creating a welcoming and hands on approach to the countryside - open to all ages and backgrounds. He discussed the idea with Rollo Clifford hoping that the GWA could use land on Frampton Court Estate at Frampton; Rollo was enthusiastic and gave his blessing to use the area around the gravel washer for the first Country Sports Fair that September. This area is still used today to funnel our visitors to one of the current car parks.
Paul continued as organiser for six years during which time the Fair grew in popularity, needing more time than Paul could give it on his own. After some discussion with Rollo it was agreed that the Estate Office would take on the organisation and, as a result the event was relocated to the Polo Ground and Park in front of the Court where it is still held today.
Theo remained actively involved until his death in 2007 and is much missed. His brother, Chris Rhys-Jones, continues to support the Fair as a Steward to this day. The organisers of the Fair, still including Paul, were joined by another staunch member and recently retired Chairman of the GWA, Haydn Jones in 1989.
Many people still don’t realise that the Fair is a major fund raiser for charities and good causes relating to the countryside and local area and full details of those that benefitted from the 2014 Fair are listed in the Fair’s Programme. It is manned by a vast and enthusiastic army of volunteers who work tirelessly helping the Fair to remain true to its roots.
Frampton Country Fair still provides a great day out for people of all ages and all walks of life. Helping to promote, preserve and conserve our wonderful countryside, whilst moving forward in a modern world and celebrating all those that live and work in it.
Under the excellent custodianship of Rollo and Janie Clifford, Paul Walkden, Haydn Jones and Daniel Lord, the Fair continues to grow and flourish on the theme “The Living Working Countryside” as it encompasses all that is truly great about the countryside and all it represents.
Long may it continue to do so.