1988 Dover Pageant - write Up Dover Express Friday 6th May 1988
Connaught Park was alive on Bank Holiday Monday with the Dover Castle Pageant, attracting about 5,000 people.
Special emphasis was put on the 4OOth anniversary of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, so the event was opened by Sir Francis Drake (Mr Terry Richardson) lighting a beacon in the attendance of Lady Drake (Mrs Anne McFarnell).
But Elizabeth I (little nine-year-old Charlotte McFarnell) had to be quickly taken off her horse, as it bucked in agitation at the surrounding noise. The Armada theme continued with the retelling of the whole episode through a play directed by Mrs Vicky Brown, and put on by children of St Mary's Primary School, Dover.
History was summed up by the Grand Pageant Parade featuring about 200 people from everything from Roman ladies, Medieval knights, and cavaliers to impoverished Victorian boys.
Miss Dover, Wendy Parr, and her princesses, Michelle Chapman and Sarah Johnings, judged as the best dressed man Ian Whittaker, of the Dover Stage Hotel (alias Henry VIII) and the prize-winning (Victorian) lady was Angie Yaney, of Cowper Road, River. Best dressed children were four-year-old James Goodacre, of Priory Hill, Dover, and Jamie McGavin (seven) of St Mary'& Primary School.
The historical theme was maintained all day with the Shepway Big Band playing 1940s Glenn Miller music and youngsters peering at World War Two US Army jeeps displayed by the Invicta Military Vehicles Preservation Society.
The Duke of York’s Military School Band, the Pipes and Drums of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Rangers also provided music and entertainment, majorettes from Ashford and Ramsgate, Dover Gym Club and the Squires School of Dancing.
The park thrived with an encampment of stalls and displays. Local motor dealers displayed their wares directly behind 1959 Rovers and Humbers from Dover Transport Museum Society, and organiser Mike McFarnell charity stalls did very well from the day. Energy and determination was shown in the several chariot races with the overall winners. the Rowleys Snooker Club team.
In the ladies race the Sainsbury's team won dramatically as its chariot skidded and hurtled onto its side at the finish. The only casualty, after bodies picked themselves up from the grass, was a buckled wheel.
A spectacular moment was the fighting and weapons demonstrations by the 14th century re-enactment group the Order of the Black Prince. They provided deadly accuracy in their archery and some ferocious-looking mace and swordfights.
Organiser Mike McFarnell concluded: "It was a great day, certainly I received favourable comments, and the weather was good.
More people participated in the events though, the crowd was down on the 9,000 we attracted in 1985. "One disappointment was ' that the Rotaract Club, who controlled the gates, were. only able to raise £2,000 for Guide' Dogs for the Blind.