Alstonefield Wakes

St. Peter’s Wakes Weekend

The Wakes have their beginnings in the middle ages. They were originally a religious festival when villagers would hold a feast of dedication of their local parish church, linked to their Church’s patron saint’s day.  In Alstonefield, St. Peter’s day continues to be celebrated, on the nearest Sunday to that date. Festivities often extend to the Saturday.

Wakes 2015

Thank you to those who turned out to support the Wakes weekend activities in June, either helping and/or taking part – all in aid of St Peter’s church.

Special thanks to Richard and Tara Allen, Millie and Ruby, and Claire and Richard Linley, who worked hard organising the family activities on Saturday – everyone had a great time on the playing fields and the sun shone! Then later that same evening, Richard suddenly sprouted gorgeous blonde locks, some seventies fashion style and morphed into DJ Bongo for a fantastic 1970’s family disco. A great night enjoyed by the people who came along.

Grateful thanks also to the small, but cheerful band of people, who helped make cakes and serve afternoon tea in the village hall on Sunday prior to the Wakes procession. Thankfully, the weather was fine, so we were able to hold the Wakes Service outside as planned (thanks for sorting the chairs Rob Wood and Martin!) with the musical accompaniment of Warslow Silver Band.


Noel Peat presented cheques on behalf of the Leaden Boot committee to Alstonefield Friendship Club, The Village Hall, St Peter’s Church and the First Responders.


Photographs courtesy of Martin Snodin.

Wakes 2014

The weather did its best to keep everyone guessing but eventually the sun did make an appearance for the Wakes celebrations and all was well! Family activities were enjoyed on Saturday afternoon, and a family friendly rounders match took place on Sunday afternoon – all ably co-ordinated by Tara & Richard Allen. The Rounders match was a gentler affair than the usual ladies versus men cricket match and no casualties were incurred this year!

This was followed by afternoon teas organised by Jo Wood and Caroline Siddons in the old school garden, with additional support from Bridget Lipp plus Alexandra Beloe and her very willing group of  friends. Noel Peat made a very generous, and much appreciated, donation to the Church on behalf of the Leaden Boot Committee.

Warlsow Silver Band led the annual procession to The George Green for the Evening service where, unlike last year, the singing (and the Vicar) didn’t have to compete with a  cold blustery wind!

Wakes 2013

The children both enjoying AND providing the entertainment on Wakes Saturday 29th June. A lovely start to our celebrations, which continued on Sunday with the Ladies v. Gents cricket match and Wakes Service on the George Green. More photos in the Gallery – CLICK HERE

Report on the Ladies v Gents cricket match by Ian McKay……..

Gentlemen play Hardball leaving Carnage in their Wakes

In the most ferociously competitive cricket match on Wakes Sunday, there was little gentle about the men’s determination to avenge last year’s drubbing at the hands of the Ladies. Unable to rely on cricketing ability alone, Captain Richard Allen’s tactics were clear from the outset- exploit the female abhorrence of suffering.

 Captain Cathy Reavy, oozing confidence after the intense net sessions, had no hesitation in electing to bat first. The reverend Anne, eager to impress the visiting Archdeacon, was quickly off the mark, before she tickled one of Preston’s nasty balls on to her inner thigh succumbing to mortal pain and a ballooning quadracep. At the other end, Tara Allen, clearly distraught at the sight of this suffering on earth, gave her wicket away in anger. Pauline Hambleton strode, colossus like, to the middle, amid the sound of knocking male knees and would be bowlers feigning injury, such were the painful memories from last year’s Hambleton hammering. In less than 4 overs, a painful start to the innings had been turned into a rampant 55 for 3 off 10 overs, as Hambleton smashed 7 boundaries in her brutal 41, before the ageing Linley defied gravity and held on to a stunner. Gargoyles captain Smith’s rugby shirt caught a bullet of a shot amidships too, as the men gave everything to the cause. None more so than Kevin Turner’s whose diving stop on the boundary was quickly followed by a round trip to A&E for a damaged shoulder.

Back to the cricket and Annabel Simms was as graceful a presence as has ever been seen on the Alstonefield ground, making a serene 24 not out. Cathy Reavy and Siobhan Smith, making her cricketing debut, looked calm in the face of more hostile bowling.  W. Ides was steadily accumulating runs too, before Annie Dobson and Sarah Longyear brought a stylish flourish to the end of the innings with some delicate arcs of the willow, including a lofted drive from Longyear which broke Captain Allen’s little finger.

Ladies 105 all out. Actually not all out because Linda Munn had to ferry the reverend Anne to her sofa and Sara Lipp was the ambulance driver for the A&E day out. It could even have been three short for the Ladies, but Tara Allen ignored Captain Allen’s remonstrations for massage and ice to his bent digit. Short the Ladies may have been, but this was a competitive total on a slow wicket.

The Ladies were further buoyed by the arrival of Carrie Ross after lunch with the Archdeacon. None the worse for wear, she proceeded to give a near faultless display of glovework behind the stumps, as captain Cathy Reavy called for relentless accuracy from her attack.

It worked, a promising start by Thomas Linley was abruptly ended by a Pauline Hambleton straight one and John Reavy played all round a tempting length from Sarah Longyear. Peter Linley hit the rope, but then appeared transfixed by the steely eyed Tara Allen and her deceptive flight. 3 wickets down, all bowled and only 21 on the board. Another Linley appeared, process of elimination suggests this was Richard, to be joined by the ever sprightly Ian Longdon. These two batted without compassion or mercy, both making unbeaten 20s, in a “the end justifies the means” display of ruthless aggression. 81 for 5 with 7 overs left, but there were more twists and turns to come. Patrick McIlroy played freely until he too got a snorter from Pauline Hambleton. Andy Preston looked like he knew which end to hold, before he fell, like so many others, for the guile of Sarah Longyear and when captain Reavy tucked Andy Farmer up and removed his leg stump we were all set for the dramatic denouement. Brian Ross had other ideas. Perhaps being involved in just a few too many dramas of his own and on the back of that very nice lunch with the Archdeacon, he and a heavily splinted captain Allen in support, calmly went about knocking off the 18 runs needed for victorious revenge. 106 for 6 and a 4 wicket win for the Gentlemen. Mission accomplished, but at a high price.

The large crowd had witnessed two distinct sides of the game of cricket. Leather on willow and the gentle ripple of appreciative applause, was there in abundance, but it was interspersed with the smack of leather on flesh and bone, icepacks and the smell of hospital disinfectant.  Anyone for tennis?

Wakes 2012

The weekend started with sports and games between the showers. The children happily ignored the rain and enjoyed the various activities organised so superbly by Claire Linley. The Bellringers had also organised a Mobile Belfry,which provided a great chance for everyone to have a go at bell-ringing.We were beaten by the weather on Sunday when the Ladies v. Gents Cricket Match had to be postponed.* However, the tea went ahead very successfully in the Village Hall, followed by the Procession to the George Green led by Bishop Geoff Annas of Stafford. The sun shone for the Wakes Service, and the Warslow Silver Band played superbly to those of us who braved the winds until 8.00 pm. SEE PICTURES OF THE WEEKEND HERE

Note – The Cricket Match has been re-scheduled for Saturday 8th September at 4.00 pm. Bring your own picnic to enjoy afterwards.


Wakes  2011

The weekend kicked off with a Sports Spectacular on a sunny Saturday afternoon,  which brought villagers out  in force to compete  in welly wanging, plate smashing, ‘rat bashing’, bagatelle and races galore, finishing with the traditional tug-of-war. Well done, Claire, for organising a great afternoon of fun and games for all ages.

The weather stayed fine for Sunday with village cricket and cream teas. In the cricket, the ladies put up a good fight against the men, but couldn’t quite produce the form they needed to maintain the lead. See the full match report below.

The teas and strawberry scones served in the Old School Garden after the cricket were delicious. Many thanks to Margaret and Muriel.  And those of us present were fortunate enough to witness the donations of £1000 each to the Village Hall and St. Peter’s Church by Noel Peat on behalf of the Leaden Boot. A fantastic achievement.

Meg Handscombe with her “secret recipe” Alstonefield Wakes Cake

Meg Handscombe’s crisp fresh mint biscuit won the official Wakes Cake competition (pictured here with Judges, Richard & Sue Grandjean)  but Jo Wood took the ‘people’s favourite’ award with her tasty mixed spice and crystallised ginger entry.

A huge number of us marched with the Warslow Silver Band to the George Green where Vicar Anne gave a very moving service in front of a record crowd. The celebrations continued into the night with pizza, coffee and candelabra….    Photos of the weekend can be seen in the GALLERY.  Also, please have a look at the Forum which has a link to a Staffordshire blogspot with a photo and complimentary comments about our village.

Gentlemen Play Fast and Loose with Ladies in front of Large Crowd

In an uncompromising, tension racked game, with more family sub-plots than Murder on the Orient Express, the Gentlemen just managed to pull it off. Victory with just two overs to spare was sweet revenge for last year’s humiliation and it was fitting that captain Richard Allen struck the winning blow, after his inexplicable decision to put the Ladies in first so nearly backfired.

There was some divine strokeplay from openers Anne Ballard and Tara Allen, until shouts of “oh yes” proved premature and the vicar’s stumps were splayed by a straight one from Alan Hayes. Carrie Ross entered the fray and with the intimidating threat of “it’s the spare room for you” presumably if one of husband Brian’s balls managed to slip through her defences. Fighting fire with the demonic church warden, John Reavy was brought into the attack and was promptly given two warnings by the umpire for his bodyline attack on Sue Lovatt.

Meanwhile the cricket match continued. Ladies skipper Cathy Reavy was plundering anything loose and picking up singles at will and real momentum was building as Annabel Simms, Meg Handscombe and Marie Mcllroy showed how easy paced the wicket was, with some lusty blows into the crowd. Claire Linley paid a brief visit to the middle to say hello to family members, so it was left to skipper Reavy with 34 runs to carry the Ladies innings to the Mr Whippy heights of all out for 99.

Captain Allen had some serious talking to do after a sloppy fielding performance, especially from the experienced Rob Handscombe, made worse by the provision of an irresistible array of temptation in the village hall, all designed to take a Gentleman’s mind off the job in hand.

Peter Linley opened the batting as if to the manor born, guiding his father to a stand of 20, before Cathy Reavy’s inswinger had Linley senior in trouble, quickly followed by Thomas Linley who failed to spot her back of the hand slower one.  Annabel Simms dropped one on to Peter’s bails, ending a classy knock and, there being no more Linleys, Patrick Mcllroy strode to the wicket, dismissing his first ball to the boundary with disdain. Pin point accuracy and a refusal to give any width, from Pauline Hambleton and Meg Handscombe frustrated the Gentlemen’s scoring  and when Cathy Reavy brought herself back into the attack, she immediately wreaked havoc with Patrick’s timber before getting one to catch veteran Ernie Allen unsighted as he adjusted his helmet and various other equipment. The pre-match money had been on warden Reavy to show his class, which looked like a good investment, until Sue Lovatt got one to pop up from nowhere and caught him high on the splice for 14. Rob Wood showing no visible signs of leash marks, soon broke free, reaching double figures in no time, before Simms got one to nip between his legs. After his three wickets, Alan Hayes was in the mood for making yet more hay, as he couldn’t help bludgeon the ball to all points, top scoring with 18 before becoming Cathy Reavy’s fifth victim. With 6 overs left and the Gentlemen on 79 for 8, the Ladies had a sniff. Cometh the hour, cometh captain Allen, ably assisted by the now banished Brian Ross, to steer the Gentlemen home, courtesy of some surprisingly elegant strokes.

100 for 8 with 2 overs to spare, but the real winners will be the lawyers.


Report on Wakes Weekend – 2010

Saturday 26th June

The playing field came alive on Saturday afternoon with happy faces, excited children and great games & races  for the start of Wakes weekend.  The children entered the races with an abundance of enthusiasm, relishing both the taking part and an element of competition – they were all winners!   The afternoon ‘hotted up’ with the s’ races – we saw Ernie Allen & John Reavy make a brave attempt in the ‘three-legged race’ against stiffer and younger competition – and the tug-of-war, so nearly won by the ladies, went to the gentlemen in the end, but only after a number of  extras  joined the team when they were looking like losing!

A quick change and the festivities moved to the Street Party.  For Thomas and Peter Linley, the transformation was incredible and they won joint 1st prize in the fancy dress competition as ‘Tweedledee & Tweedledum’.  But all the children entered into the spirit of the day with fantastic ‘Mad Hatter Tea Party’ costumes.

Over 110 people partook in a fabulous buffet on a lovely summer’s evening under the village bunting. A rain shower later in the evening didn’t succeed in dampening our spirits, and those who moved under the trees celebrated by candlelight into the night.

Sunday 27th June

John Reavy guided 23 parishioners through a stimulating history tour of the church and churchyard.  John pointed out architectural details and interesting artifacts, including parts of Saxon crosses, dating back to 850 AD. The tour was followed by tea and a brief slide show of the skeletons uncovered during the Rainwater project.

Later, In glorious sunshine, local families followed the Warslow Silver Band as theyprocessed from the Village Hall to the George Green. Rev Arthur Hack admirably filled in for our ill vicar, Anne Ballard.

Nearly 80 people enjoyed the open air service on the green with customers from theGeorge joining in the hearty hymn singing.  At the end of the service, John Reavy announced that after just one week of the Lead Appeal, with personal giving by generous parishioners and £375 from the Cricket Club, we have raised £1,050.

After the service, the band continued to play popular tunes as children played and s enjoyed a glass of wine and cheese toasties!  The band generously refused their fee, preferring to donate it to the Lead Appeal.

A heartfelt ‘ thank you’ from St Peter’s PCC.  A blessed and glorious weekend was had by all.

Click here to see over 100 photos of the weekend.