I noticed that alongside the cups was a partial list of raffle prizes. The problem was that most of the tickets sold could only be identified by the purchaser’s telephone number, many of whom had gone home by the time the raffle was drawn. This led to a hilarious situation in that when the telephone number was announced someone in the remaining audience would recognise the number, call out the person's name and then allocate a prize for them. The box of tickets was up on the stage on a table. Halfway through, the box somehow took a tumble and all the tickets floated to the floor below like confetti. Nobody seemed too worried and the draw continued. To have even contemplated putting on a club show was a brave thing to do; the fact that it went off as well as it did was a great credit to the organisers.
The accident with the box of raffle tickets was the incentive for Delwyn Jones to come up with a novel solution that is still in use today. He used an empty tea chest and mounted it on a steel frame which allowed it to spin. At the top he made a lockable trap door giving access to the tickets inside. When it was time for the Raffle draw, children in the audience were invited to come up on stage and draw out a winning ticket.
We decided to join the Club and went to our first meeting in October which was held in an upstairs room in the old Woollen Museum. The success and general running of the show was discussed, during which a plea went out for a few more volunteers to help with the setting up and running of the show. I put up my hand and said I didn’t mind moving a few chairs and tables. So a meeting was arranged for the show helpers so they could discuss the show for ’89.
I cannot remember where we met, but I certainly remember the outcome. Elsie’s daughter was unable to continue as Show Secretary and a replacement was needed. Ten years in the RAF should have taught me to keep my head down at a time like this. However, I was conned ... there is no other word for it although hoodwink and sweet-talk do come to mind.
Show Secretary!! I didn’t have a clue what was involved although as time went by I began to realise that I should have kept my head down a bit more. Elsie’s daughter did leave me all the paperwork she had gathered during the setting up of the first show so that helped enormously, but nonetheless it was a very steep learning curve.
I was Show Secretary for the next two years during which time we all learnt by trial and error. I find it quite hard to look back at those years and remember what happened and when. I remember we managed to persuade a few people into donating cups for various classes. I made a few novelty awards for things like the heaviest marrow and the longest runner bean.
In 1991 David Clark took over as Show Secretary and I went on to be Club Secretary. We had always lost money running the show despite our best efforts in selling raffle tickets, charging a nominal entrance fee and other small efforts. However, David came up with the brilliant idea that we should produce a Show Schedule in which contributors could place an advert of their own design and pay a small fee for the publication. All members of the show committee were asked to go out and get as many adverts as possible. Steve Stephenson was our computer wiz and he put everything together for the printers to make a very presentable Schedule.
As the show gained popularity with exhibitors, we struggled to find enough space to display everything. I remember that on one of the earlier shows we had to put exhibits on chairs: there was just no more room on the tables. Armed with a rough proof of our new schedule, I went to Fedwen tentage and asked if they would let us have the use of a few tables for the show. We offered to collect and return them from the yard and also put a large and free advert in the show schedule. They agreed and have been providing the tables for us ever since. We, the Gardening Club, are very grateful.
By Don Todd
The very first Show ....
It was just by chance that we met John and Maggie Branston who were walking down the lane past our bungalow. They stopped and said “Hello”. We had only moved to Wales just a few weeks previously so it was nice to talk to somebody who could give us any local information. During the conversation they told us about the Gardening Club and that they were having their first show at the Red Dragon Hall. That was in September 1988. Hilda and I went to the Show not knowing quite what to expect, after all we were both “Townies” and apart from helping my Dad during the war, “ Dig for Victory”, I didn’t have much of a clue about gardening.
What a pleasant surprise we got: I was amazed at the amount of things there were spread out on the tables, and the people were so friendly. The Show had been organised by members of the Watt family: Elsie was the Club Treasurer and her daughter was Show Secretary assisted by her Dad. Many other enthusiastic members of the Club were involved including Elwyn Lewis, Chairman, Mathew Moore, Club Secretary, and Harry Upton and his daughter.
These photos were taken of the very first show. I think it was a jolly good effort considering nobody had done anything like this before. There were a few cups for various things; the tray was donated by Elgin who owned the shop opposite the hall - this was for the best in the cookery class. T he people sitting at the table were Mathew Moore, Elsie Watts’s daughter, Valerie, and the gentleman overseeing the proceedings was Arthur Watts. These photos were taken at the very first show. I think it was a jolly good effort considering nobody had done anything like this before.