The start of the new Millennium was celebrated in the Parish with a range of special events during the year 2000. The following were the highlights (The reviews are taken from the Deddington News):

New Year's Eve in the Market Place

"Midnight. The Millennium bugs didn't bite. The sky didn't fall on Chicken Licken's head. Revellers in the Market Place listened to the church bells, watched the big screen and celebrated in friendly rather than in riotous fashion. The Parish moved smoothly into the 21st Century. Thanks are due to many individuals and bodies for this (see below). During the short Ecumenical Service in the Parish Church, the South Door was symbolically opened and the new year's sunlight streamed in, banishing shadows. For one participant at least, this was the most moving moment of the official celebrations." 31 December 1999 DN, Kristin Thompson (editor).

"The Millennium Eve has come and gone. No one knew how the Market Place gathering would turn out but the crowd was estimated at over a thousand. Everyone knew when midnight struck, thanks to the large screen and Big Ben. I know I was there because I have seen a photograph of a Monk and a Bear, who look suspiciously like the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the PC, and an Arab in the background who is, apparently, me. I would like to express my thanks to the bellringers, to inn landlords for agreeing to stay open, to residents who took police advice and parked their cars elsewhere and to Dennis Freeman, our Parish Steward, for clearing up the champagne bottles etc. next morning." February 2000 DN: Jim Bell, Chairman, Millennium WG

20-22 January 2000: Pantomime: Wizard of Whatsit and the Millennium Bugs

"We like our Pantomimes to be traditional and the authors of The Wizard of Whatsit and the Millennium bugs,, Jean Flux and Molly Neild, had that in mind when they wrote the piece. It was bang up to date with computer technology and at the same time gave us old-fashioned magic spells and invited audience participation. We had a very good evening, booing, clapping and shouting 'Oh yes, he did'. I wondered, though, whether if all the people in the audience were familiar with Glitches, Macros and Wysiwygs, or with the concept of Internet dating. In the end it comes down to goodies and baddies and we are satisfied if everything ends as it should. The bugs worked well together, speaking and moving confidently. The woodland animals were charming, but I think more precise and imaginative dancing would have helped. I don't think individual actors should be picked out, but Hercules, the endearing pink rabbit, and Victor's graceful and lithe performance will be something to remember. The computer theme does not lend itself to pretty village scenery. We missed that and more reference to local affairs, though the woodland trees and daffodils made up for much. Jim Flux's production was inventive, with enough explosions and flashes to keep us on our toes, though we missed him on stage. Special mention must go to the lighting and sound effects department. The lovely costumes and all the ingenious props represented many hours of devoted work. We enjoyed the music, played and devised by Elizabeth Reed, and the singing, with and without audience. It is amazing how many people are listed on the programme, and we, the audience, thank them all for giving us such an entertaining and enjoyable evening" February 2000 DN, Marianne Elsley.

19 February 2000: Songs of the Century (Parish Church Charity Concert)

Songs of the Century posterYOUR SONGS OF THE CENTURY, Parish Church, Sat. February 19, 7.30pm. "It began as a casual suggestion in the December '98 issue of the DN. It has developed over the past year - the result of much hard work - and blossoms this month as an innovative Millennium Concert in the Parish Church. We all chose the songs, John Cresswell and Angela and Norman Stone compiled the '50 Best' list, Linda Bloxham and the Choir have now made their concert selection and John Cresswell has written a linking narrative. It's an evening that promises genuine pleasure, an occasion both to hear and to join in with some of the century's best popular music. Your music. There won't be a flat moment. Proceeds to British Heart Foundation. Tickets: £3 from Post Office and Library". March 2000 DN, Kristin Thompson (Editor).

YOUR SONGS OF THE CENTURY. "There was that indefinable anticipatory buzz in the air as soon as we arrived in the Church porch. Somehow people knew they were going to enjoy themselves. We did. The Church Choir, augmented by talented local musicians, sang 17 songs from the Village Top Fifty List and added three others of their own choice. Feet tapped out the rhythm of Alexander's Ragtime Band. Female eyes grew misty over the Nightingale in Berkeley Square. Heads bent as neighbours shared quiet reminiscences both before and after singing Lilli Marlene. Perhaps the younger members of the audience were more familiar with Yesterday and Bridge Over Troubled Water, but they too joined in with Keep the Home Fires Burning and We'll Meet Again - simple melodies that still cast their spell. Linda Bloxham, George Fenemore and Jim Flux were the three amirably contrasting soloists and Ted Johnson and Ken Smith sang a sharp, pointed ditty, We are the D-day dodgers, to the tune of Lilli Marlene. The concert ended with a swelling rendition (there is no other phrase) of You'll Never Walk Alone. The linking narrative, written by John Cresswell, was more than background words. It was a social document, deftly bringing to brief life the composers and events that helped to shape the musical history of the century. John Cheney spoke the narrative from the pulpit as to the manner born, adding his own comments and asides that kept the audience chuckling. The Church was crowded and, after deducting expenses, over £600 was raised for the British Heart Foundation (the Vicar's choice of charity ). There are many people to thank for this splendid evening - Linda Bloxham (a soloist at the last moment) and the Choir, John Cheney, John Burdon (accompanist), Angela and Norman Stone who worked on the original top 50, programme and poster designers, the refreshment team. Their success was not haphazard. It was the result of months of planning and hard work, with John Cresswell as the driving force. Their tribute must be the words of so many of the audience as they left the concert - "The village should get together like this, again." Well, there are plenty of songs left……" March 2000 DN, Kristin Thompson (Editor).

Much of the success of Songs of the Century was due to the enthusiasm, organisation and hard work of John Cresswell, even though he was ill. Sadly he died only three months after the concert. Of the many tributes paid to John, the following was written for the July DN issue by John Cheney:

"May I, through the DN, send a brief tribute to my good friend John Cresswell. When he was seriously ill, but still working on his Songs of the Century project, he asked me to be the concert compere. One could not refuse a request from such a courteous and charming man. That the evening was a success was very much due to John's efforts. It was especially lovely that he was able to be there, to say a few words in his own special style. And he gave me a 'string-along' script second to none. Deddington has lost a dear friend. Our sympathy goes out to Ellen and all the family."

14-20 May 2000: MADD WEEK: Music, Art, Dance and Drama. The various events were covered in the DN for June 2000:

"MADD WEEK" MAY 14-20 (In aid of Katharine House Hospice)

MADD Week posterLive music at the Red Lion on the Sunday, Margaret and Tony Robinson playing contemporary folk music at the Deddington Arms on Tuesday, poetry at the Unicorn on Thursday, art at the Holly Tree and the MADD Revue at the Windmill on Friday and a wide-ranging concert in the Parish Church on the Saturday….. quite a week! Congratulations to everyone involved in this marathon. The Parish reaction? "Let's do it again." The DN sent its seasoned reporters to as many events as possible...

POETRY READING AT THE UNICORN. The poetry reading at the Unicorn was stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable. John Cheney was an inspirational MC and not only attracted a full attendance but succeeded (with the help of a little alcoholic lubrication) in getting many to come forward with their favourite or even their own poems - not necessarily the same thing! Special mention must be made of Elizabeth Edwards for reciting by heart and con amore. There was an enthusiastic response to a wide range of poets from Shakespeare and Hardy, Francis Thompson, James Stephens, John Betjeman and Philip Larkin to Ogden Nash and Roger McGough. Everyone had a thoroughly good time and those who did not participate seemed very satisfied with their evening. A big thank you to the Unicorn for letting us have their upper room without charge, and congratulations to John Cheney. Ralph Elsley

ART EXHIBITION AT THE HOLLY TREE. The Holly Tree Painters' Group (Peggy and Michael Baker, John Cheney, Bill Dickinson, Jo Mace and Norman Stone) produced an enjoyable, varied and well-presented exhibition with consistent quality of work which we have come to expect from them. It is interesting to see how individual artists have evolved as they try different media and subjects and learn from each other. Well done! Elizabeth Tothill

THE MADD REVUE AT THE WINDMILL. The revue produced by Gerard Sullivan was amusing and varied. Lively singing, dancing, music and sketches by local and visiting talent were all suavely compered by Norman Drake. As one who usually dislikes both brass bands and 'sing alongs' , such was the ambience and enthusiasm of the evening that I thoroughly enjoyed both. Judging by the reaction of the large and appreciative audience the Parish would welcome another show along similar lines. Molly Neild

CONCERT IN THE PARISH CHURCH. From the springy rhythms of Handel's Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, which opened the concert, to the tutti-frutti rendition of Scott Joplin's The Entertainer, which closed it, there was something for everyone - as promised. Local hero Alex Soddy was hugely popular, whether as solo pianist, duettist, accompanist or ensemble player. Ruth Hollely sang beautifully, Rosie Nixon was a nimble flautist, John Stradling a valiant trumpeter. The five-piece string section played well throughout, taking four centuries of music in their collective stride. Many thanks to all who helped to provide such a splendid finish to MADD week, and notably to organiser, musician and compere, Donald Lane, for making it all happen. Norman Stone

Extracts from John Cheney's version of the Vicar of Bray which he sang in the MADD Review:

"It's really good fun in Deddington
I'm glad that I reside here.
Despite the Council, I'm ready to announce I'll
Always hope to abide here.
In my tiny fort up in Grove Court
I'm as snug as a bug in a rug, Sir,
I've no need to manoeuvre when I use the Hoover,
I can do the whole place from one plug, Sir."

"A Police Station new for Bob Donohue
To go with his smart new uniform.
If his car's outside then he's inside
Unless he's in the Unicorn.
But respect I must show and not come to blows
For he's larger than me I fear, Sir.
On the village's June Pub Watch List soon,
I do not wish to appear, Sir"

"In Deddington there's the Crown and Tuns
And many another pub, Sir.
You'll come to no harm in the Deddington Arms
Nor the British Legion Club,Sir.
The Holcombe Hotel is rather swell
And the Red Lion's on my list, Sir.
And true to form there's the Unicorn
If you really want to get - blotto."

"There's a tiny person I've based this verse on
Who whizzes around like an arrow
She always has a smile, shouts hello from a mile
I call her the electric sparrow.
Now her abode's on Hempton Road
And there's no one else so spry, Sir.
So I'll plant a kiss on our beloved Pat Bliss
When she's 50 in July, Sir."

Stop Press

Gerard Sullivan reported that £954.21 was raised by MADD WEEK for Katharine House Hospice. At its June Meeting, the Parish Council agreed to add £200 to this sum.

4 June 2000: Family picnic in Daeda's Wood

"Take a day of sun and breeze and scudding clouds; add about a hundred people, nearly all of them children; mix in cheerful voices and whoops of laughter as muscles strain at the tug-of-war; sprinkle with earnest frowns of concentration on the scent of sixteen treasure hunt clues; stir the whole lot with sturdy young trees and a multi-coloured tangle of wild flowers - and there, more or less, you have the Millennium Family Picnic on June 4.Not the whisper of a radio, no sneaking the wild flowers and, afterwards, not a scrap of litter. I thought it was magic. Thank you to the FoDW team for making it possible, and to the Woodland Trust for their support and funding." June 2000 DN, Sylvie Spenceley.

3 July 2000: Youth Club Video (official showing)

"All those who came to the Windmill Centre in July to see the public showing of the Millennium video made by the Deddington Youth Club will have appreciated how much hard work had gone into it. The theme was Deddington, Past, Present and Future. Youth Club members were involved in writing the script, filming and editing it, under the professional guidance and tuition of Mark Harvey-Smith of Oxford Film and Video Makers. The leading light behind the scenes was Gay Brewer who chased up her small team and worked tirelessly to make it all happen, especially during the build-up to the public showing. The evening was a great success. Thanks to the Club's efforts we now have a permanent record of what life was like in the parish at the turn of the century, as seen through the eyes of the youth of the Parish." At the second showing, the audience was also able to see a video of a Deddington Carnival made some 20 years ago by Ian Fergusson. If anyone would like a copy of the Youth Club Video, please contact Gay Brewer on 01869 338097." September 2000 DN, Jim Bell.

17-30 September 2000: John Henry Newman Exhibition

"John Henry Newman (1801 - 1890) was one of the great English churchmen and men of letters. Newman made the first speech of his life in Deddington on September 19th 1825. It seems appropriate to celebrate his life and times in this Millennium year, which is also on the eve of the bicentenary of his birth.. The exhibition contains portraits, books and memorabilia relating to Newman and close associates of his. We hope that as many people as possible will from the Parish will visit the exhibition." September DN 2000.

"An exhibition on Cardinal Newman, his life and works, his varied and wide-ranging activities beyond the religious and ecclesiastical spheres, opened in the Town Hall on September 17th. The exhibition is the achievement of Brian and Elizabeth Carter, with many original exhibits well arranged and clearly labelled, of much interest, in particular to people who know of Newman as the writer of the text for Elgar's Dream of Gerontius rather than as a theologian. In the unavoidable absence of Dr. Ker, Brian Carter stepped in to open the exhibition and explained the links between the Deddington area and Newman, unfamiliar even to those who thought they knew the subject!" October 2000 DN, Frank Steiner.

10/11 November 2000: Millennium Map exhibition

"PUTTING DEDDINGTON ON THE MAP. On the evening of Friday November 10th at the Holly Tree, Deddington Map Group concluded three years of planning and hard work when they presented the first facsimile edition of their Deddington Millennium Map to the Parish Council. There were display boards showing how the Deddington Map, together with the individual maps of Clifton and Hempton, the Farms and Fields map and the complementary leaflets and book, Discovering Deddington, had been produced. Councillors and those involved in any way in the Map's production, raised a glass to salute this substantial and fitting marking of the Millennium. Mary Robinson, the Group Secretary, spoke about the many skills that had been needed to complete the project and of the enormous amount of time that the volunteer contributors had given to the work. In reply Jim Flux, Chairman of the Parish Council, accepted the Map on behalf of the Parish and congratulated the Group on their very fine achievement." Christmas Issue DN 2000, Editor.

DEDDINGTON MAP GROUP. "Superb!" "Fantastic!" "A Great Legacy For Years To Come!" "Totally Fascinating!" "A Brilliant Way To Mark The Millennium!" These are just some of the comments by people of all ages from all parts of the community when the Deddington Millennium Map was unveiled at the Holly Tree Club on 10 November 2000. It was a busy and exciting event, with the sales table doing a brisk trade for the parish. A few days later the Map was installed in the Parish Church in time for the Christmas Bazaar on18 November. The Map Group is now working with the Parish Council, chief funders of the whole project, on what versions of the Map may be needed for specific public locations. Meanwhile, prints of the Deddington, Clifton and Hempton and Farms and Fields sections of the Master Map are on sale at Hayward White in Deddington Market Place, Deddington Library on the High Street, and Castle Antiques, Clifton. Copies of the book Discovering Deddington and the 6-leaflet set Mapping the Millennium are also available through a number of local outlets. I sign off for the last time this year by quoting another comment. "A Wonderful Effort By A Super Team" My thanks to the Group, the Parish Council and all of you for your support." Christmas Issue DN 2000, Norman Stone.

Charles Newey (on behalf of the Millennium WG of the Parish Council).