Docking’s fourth Hare Fair held in St Mary’s Church and surrounds on Saturday drew hundreds of visitors eager to discover arts and crafts.
Stalls offered textiles, jewellery, pottery, glassware, cakes, biscuits and bread, ceramics, artwork and a variety of competitions jostled for space in the aisles of the church.
Also on hand were musicians Jenny Barker and Edna Stafford soothing any stray savage breasts with French flute music interspersed with extracts from and Gilbert and Sullivan operas.
One stall was run by former local government officer, Pat Jarrett, who turned her hand to stained glass after retirement.
“When my garage fills up I go to fairs to sell some of my work,” she said.
“What I do now is definitely more exciting than working for the government.”
On another stall 11-year-old Bethany Frost, from Bircham Newton, displayed her baking skills and found willing customers.
“I often bake with my mother and grandmother,” she said. “I like baking and I think I might want to be a baker when I grow up.”
Light refreshments and lunches were provided at modest cost and helpers were kept busy feeding the inner man and woman.
In the grounds yet more stalls tempted people to spend money in support of the church.
One such was Mike Lancefield who uses beeswax from his own hives to make candles and plaques depicting religious scenes.
There was a Nativity scene, the Last Supper, a replica of Durer’s famous engraving of praying hands and, also, for fun, small skulls which make convenient (if rather scary) night lights.
Other organisations benefited, too, such as the 1st Docking Brownies, who manned a stall with a game of chance using large playing cards.
The fair is so named because of the Hare family, resident in the village for many generations and, although now rare in many parts of the country, because of the abundance of animal hares locally.
“We hope to make £2,000 for church funds,” said the rector, Rev Peter Cook.
“It costs a lot of money to keep an ancient and beautiful church like this going.”
Repairs have recently been completed on a leaking roof but more funds are needed to renew rain damage to the interior plaster. “We obviously want to hand on this special church in good condition to future generations.”
On Saturday, October the 24, Eton College’s organist together with the college choir will give a concert. “We have had a long connection with Eton. This church was gifted to them by Henry VI,” said Rev Cook, adding.
“In those days churches made money, now they cost money.”