Market Lavington Museum

Church fête 1961

Well, Hello ‘me old pal, me old beauty’. That was a familiar greeting from Walter Gabriel, the character played by Chris Gittins in the radio programme, The Archers. We will see him later.

On 17th June 1961, St Mary’s Church in Market Lavington held its annual fête in the garden of Clyffe Hall. (See Market Lavington Village Fete.) On this occasion, Bob Arnold, who played Tom Forrest in The Archers, opened the proceedings. (See Bob Arnold opens Market Lavington Fete.)

Bob Arnold on the steps at Clyffe Hall

A recent donation to Market Lavington Museum included various souvenirs of that event, kept by a local couple. This included a leaflet of photographs of the cast of the popular serial, based on a farming community.

Inside we see pictures of the cast with their character names above and their real names below the photo.

Bob Arnold wrote inside this copy, signing his real and character names …

… and dedicating it ‘To Mrs F G Shore’. Florrie Shore, née Burbidge, spent her childhood in School Cottage, now our museum building. She married Bert Shore from West Lavington and the couple made their home in Market Lavington. (See A wartime wedding, A greetings telegram and 1940’s wedding cards.)

Bert and Florrie had also preserved three signed photographs of characters from The Archers. Walter Gabriel (me old pal, me old beauty), Tom Forrest and Ned, Jack, Peggy and Tom in the Ambridge pub, The Bull.