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The most successful Cradley Day held to date took place on October 2nd, 2004

Cradley Then and Now celebrated its fourth Cradley Day on Saturday October 2nd 2004 at Providence Church Hall.

The Deputy Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Ian Kettle and his wife, Mrs Joan Kettle, were invited to open the day at 10 a.m. Most of the stalls and displays were ready by then, and so the Deputy Mayor declared the day open, and our Chairman Irving Billingham made a short speech of welcome. Councillor Kettle then toured the displays which included:

Steve Bloomer - Paul and David Mortimer of the Derby County Rams Trust

Finds from digs along the Stour - Glen Billingham

Handmade walking sticks - Bryn Williams

Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry, Stourbridge Branch

The Friends of Dudley Archives and Local History Service

St. Peter's Church Crafts - Joan Williams and Beatrice Moss

Paintings by Sid Farmer

Cradley Links - web site and family history, Nigel Brown

The Attwoods - Patrick and Sylvia Shaw

Cradley Crafts - Muriel Bennett and Anita Knowles

Haden Hill Calendar - Jackie Kendall

Raffle - Meryth Fletcher

Local History Book Stall - Pat Harris, June Farmer and Beryl Bowen Davies

Refreshments - Sue Llewellyn, Bev Walton, Julia Walton, Rona Taylor, Sarah Guest

Displays of old pictures, directories and pictures from the last two Cradley Then and Now trips

Councillor Kettle was presented with a Cradley Then and Now Book and a Cradley Timeline, and Mrs Kettle with a Cradley Chainmaker Peg Doll. Mrs Kettle expressed an interest in the bread pudding competition, saying that she would have entered had she known about it beforehand.

At 11 o'clock, John Cooksey presented his slides of Cradley in a room just off the main hall. Always a popular speaker, his talk was very well received.

The entries for the bread pudding competition started to arrive, and by the time the deadline was reached at 12 noon there were twelve entries. These were received by Peggy Grove. At 12 noon Jim Hackett read some of his Cradley Poems again in the small room, but by this time there were so many people busy talking that it was difficult to drag people away to hear the poems. People discovered old school friends, distant relatives and friends not seen for years.

A sudden downpour did nothing to dampen the atmosphere, although a large puddle appeared by the fire door, which was quickly dealt with by Bev with her mop and bucket.

Just after one o'clock, Tommy Mundon appeared ready to judge the bread pudding competiton together with Cradley Then and Now's resident bread pudding expert, Laurie Harris.

They sampled small pieces of each pudding, which had been labelled with letters of the alphabet so that they wouldn't know who had made which one. Photographs were taken, and after much debate the winner was eventually decided.

Tommy gave out certificates to all the entrants who were there. Unfortunately the winner (Mrs Glenice Bloomer) had returned home, but the salver will be inscribed and presented to her at the next Cradley Then and Now meeting.

Tommy was thanked for taking part, and presented with a bread pudding to take home. The rest of the bread puddings were then sold, which appeared to be the highlight of the day for some people! During the entire day people were arriving, leaving and coming back again. Visitors came from France, Devon, Malvern, Great Yarmouth and many other places.

At three o'clock Barry Blunt gave a talk on A Mirror to the Flock, the notebooks of the Rev. James Hesselgrave "Tommy Two-sticks" Thompson, which Barry and Margaret Bradley have been transcribing and will shortly be published in their History of Cradley series.

The day came to a close at 4 o'clock with the drawing of the raffle and thanks by Jill.

Judging by the favourable comments and feedback received, this Cradley Day would appear to be the best one yet.

Cradley day 2004

Cradley Day 2004: Cradley Links co-webmaster Nigel Brown ponders questions on Cradley family history

Cradley Day 2004: in the foreground, Muriel Bennett talking to Don Cochrane, author of "To Parts Unknown"

Tommy Mundon, Jill Guest and Laurie Harris and the bread pudding