The event was much more ambitious, thanks largely to the HLF grant. Our first step was to engage an excellent designer, Zoe Kay of Art Bypass, who gave the whole exercise a distinctive ‘look and feel’, starting with a campaign of posters and flyers.
We wanted to attract the kind of audience which doesn’t usually attend village events. Those whose roots are deep are for the most part less well-off than the socially mobile incomers who now occupy the centre of East Meon. We leafleted every house in the village, knocking on doors to explain what we wanted them to do.
We involved the local primary school, describing attractions designed primarily for children who we hoped would drag their parents to the event. There would be period costumes, hired from Hampshire Wardrobe, in which they could dress up. There would be a demonstration of mediaeval spinning, in which they could participate. There would be a quiz, the answers to be found in the House History panels. Above all, there would be a re-enactment of life in Saxon times, including the battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings, master-minded by Peter O’Sullivan, who was leading the Saxon survey project in which the Group had agreed to participate.
We ran a successful public relations campaign, with two ‘bouts’ of publicity in the local press (which also ran excellent coverage of the event itself, sending its photographers).