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Chickenden Farm hosted the event and, apart from being a beautiful location with two excellent oast houses, it played an interesting role during World War II. If you look at the pictures above, you can see that there are a couple of memorials at the farm for the Staplehurst Advanced Landing Ground, so I decided to do some more research into their background.
RAF Staplehurst was an airfield built in 1943 adjacent to Chickenden Farm as a prototype for the temporary landing fields that would be created on mainland Europe after D-Day. Both Canadian and American airmen and support crew used the airfield and they were stationed on the farm. The two memorials commemorate the airfield and those who died there while it was in use. For more information, click on the following links.
Anyway, back to 2015! It definitely felt like autumn when we arrived at the farm due to a chilly breeze and overcast skies. However, this was more than compensated for by the warmth of the welcome that we received. There was an enthusiastic crowd who gave their full support to the dancers and musicians and many joined in with the audience-participation dances.
The first dancing session featured Prescot, Colne and Milnrow. This was followed by Churchtown with plenty of additional have-a-go members of the audience.
By now, the sausage barbecue was ready and the organisers very kindly insisted that we go first. The sausages themselves, supplied by Staplehurst butchers W J Crouch, were absolutely delicious and there were plenty of salads and other accompaniments. This was followed by tasty desserts and tea and coffee. All in all, a fantastic spread.
Suitably rested and refreshed, it was time for the second set of dances, namely Annie's, Marston 6 and Aughton. By popular demand, another join-in dance was arranged and Sue led everyone in a sometimes chaotic Green Stocking. Much fun was had by all.
With the dancing complete, it was time to go. We must though record our thanks to the organisers for making us so welcome and providing such wonderful food and of course the audience who created a great atmosphere and joined in with tremendous good humour. And don't forget the band who were somewhat depleted in numbers but they still provided terrific support for the dancers.