Way back in 1992 I attended the last Aughton Pudding Festival, which was so memorable that I determined not to miss the next one, scheduled as they always are at 21 year intervals. (The first one was held in 1782.)
This time the event took place on a glorious sunny August Bank Holiday Monday.
The 156 good folk of Aughton, who are listed as supporters of this event in the souvenir programme, all deserve medals. What an incredibly good show they once again masterminded and what an enormous amount of time, energy and planning must have been involved.
Aughton is a scattered and sparsely populated rural parish of outstanding scenic beauty, and to mount a show of such superb quality and organisation is no mean feat.
The residents would not be human if they did not quail at the thought of so many thousands of visitors descending upon their peaceful patch of Lune Valley countryside.
But all the ‘front of house’ helpers could not have been more welcoming.
From the operation of the extensive car parking and one-way traffic management on country lanes, to the cheerful serving to long lines of customers at the food, drink and ice cream stalls, all went like clockwork.
The fruit pudding itself was suitably enormous and richly deserves its honoured place in the Guinness Book of Records.
The cooks themselves certainly did not stint on the quantity or quality of the ingredients. The festival’s historic anthem – reproduced in the programme – calls for a hogshead of rum. The dictionary tells me that this means a full cask of spirits, which must explain why on the drive back home I feared I might be successfully breathalysed by the police.
The banter among other visitors in the queues was all about memories of the last festival, and hopes of surviving to witness the next one in 2034.
Our thoughts were neatly summed up in the anthem’s conclusion:
May thy glory, O Aughton, ne’er fade,
But to finish my song I must haste –
The next time the pudding is made
I hope I may be there to taste.
Coun Ron Sands
Lancaster City Council