Hundreds visit exhibition to learn about Ringstead’s past

Crowds at Ringstead Heritage Group's inaugural coffee morning. The event was a huge success with up to 300 people going along to learn more about the village
Crowds at Ringstead Heritage Group's inaugural coffee morning. The event was a huge success with up to 300 people going along to learn more about the village
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Hundreds of people turned up at an event designed to show them more about their village’s past.

The traffic in Ringstead was brought to a standstill as up to 300 people made their way to Ringstead Heritage Group’s inaugural coffee morning.

The event, held in the village hall, included a display of more than 60 old photographs as well as write-ups of farming memories from the 1940s, and press clippings of events from the 20th century.

A prominent exhibit was the lost painting of Ringstead School, by J L Carr, who was the interim headteacher during 1952.

There were also a number of BeBe dolls and toys on loan including a four-foot tall teddy bear, which once belonged to Albert Fox, general manager of BeBe Dolls, which was based in Ringstead.

During the event the group was given an anonymous donation of a blue and pink bear, made by BeBe Dolls, which will now be a permanent memento of that company’s past association with the village.

David Ball, author of two “Ringstead People” books, was able to encourage and advise other residents to begin tracing their family ancestry. He sold out of all his books at the coffee morning, but is reprinting second editions which will be available to purchase at future events.

A raffle was held, with more than 25 donated prizes including a top prize of a food hamper. Together with the money raised from the refreshments and donations the total raised was £345, which will now be used to organise other events and seek community funding so the group can begin recording people’s memories of the village.

Residents who were not able to get to see the exhibits have been told the heritage group will be hosting a similar event in the future in the village’s social club’s large function room. This event will be open for longer to give more people the opportunity to look round.

The group’s next planned event is a Ringstead Heritage Trail Walk around the village on Sunday, May 3, from 11am to 3pm.

The trail will start and finish at Ringstead Village Social Club and is intended to be a family event to encourage the village’s younger residents to look and learn about the past history of the village with their parents.

Three prizes will be awarded and there will also be a small exhibition of memorabilia about past commercial and retail businesses which thrived in the village during the early 20th century.

For details about Ringstead Heritage Group contact Roger Kinsey on 01933 460676.