Strings attached for fun at this year's Higham May Fair

Higham May Fair puppeteers Anne Rawlinson, Jack Heyworth and Terry Butterfield
Higham May Fair puppeteers Anne Rawlinson, Jack Heyworth and Terry Butterfield

Higham’s annual May Fair will this year include a series of puppet shows for children.

Visitors to the fair will be able to enjoy the selection of vintage “Pelham Puppets” owned by Higham villager Terry Butterfield who started his collection at the age of six with his first puppet “Jiminy Cricket.”

The puppets are just some of the attractions at Higham May Fair between Saturday May 4th and Monday May 6th.

There will also be live music, majorette displays, ferret racing and on Monday, local children will be Maypole dancing - a tradition which recently returned to the village after a gap of 50 years.

Terry, who now has more than 60 puppets all aged between 50 and 70 years old, said: “It’s good for the children to see these string puppets that we engaged with in our youth.

“Being handmade, they’re all unique which makes them so good. I really like the actions that they have and their own little personalities."

Rehearsals are underway for performances of “Hansel and Gretel” and “Little Red Riding Hood” with puppets including the woodcutter, wolf and witch taking to the stage at Higham May Fair over the Bank Holiday weekend.

They’ll be performing on Saturday and Sunday at St John’s Church on Higham Hall Road.

The fair will also include the village’s now famous Maypole dancing on Bank Holiday Monday.

Children from St John’s CE Primary School in Higham will perform traditional ribbon dances around the village’s now famous Maypole at noon and 2pm.

Puppet shows will take place on Saturday at 1pm and 3pm; and on Sunday at 2pm and 3pm.

Terry credits a childhood watching Thunderbirds and Stingray for keeping his enthusiasm in puppetry.

Retired teacher, Doreen Whalley has taken on the role of narrator for the performances. It’s the first time she’s done anything like this.

She said: “I feel privileged to be taking part. It’s great fun. I’m looking forward to seeing the children’s faces. I think they’re going to be thrilled.”

The charitable fundraising event aims to collect money for local good causes.