Willey Fete tinged with sadness

Lutterworth Town Band.
Lutterworth Town Band.
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Organisers of this year’s 50th Willey Street Fair said the popular event was tinged with sadness.

Tributes have been paid to Anker Morris Men member John Dell, who sadly died from a heart attack at the event.

Mollie McNara.

Mollie McNara.

John, from Rugby, was one of the founder members of the team when the group started in 1975.

Joe Oldaker, of Anker Morris Men, said: “John had danced throughout the 40 year life of the team to date.

“His death was doubly shocking as he had no history of heart problems, and was within a week of celebrating his 60th birthday. We mourn the loss of a much-liked team member and friend.

“Also, John’s family and Anker Morris Men are deeply grateful to the people of Willey, who quickly rallied round to try and save John’s life, and offered support to all during the afternoon.”

Anne Bevin.

Anne Bevin.

David Tithecott, who is on the committee, said John’s death was a tragedy.

“The fair went brilliantly well and we raised more than £3,000,” he said.

“The day was tinged with sadness. What happened was a tragedy.”

Proceeds will go to the Victorian village hall that used to be a school and also to the restoration of St Leonard’s Church.

Visitors to the fete earlier this month enjoyed a brass band, ice creams, donkey rides, stalls, children’s games and cakes and teas in the village hall.

Celebrity Celia Sawyer, presenter of BBC’s Your Home in Their Hands and Channel 4’s Four Rooms, was scheduled to launch the event, but had to cancel due to illness.