Event of the Week: Murder in Bishop’s Waltham

15/06/2014

Murder Mystery Raises Funds for Senior Lunch Club

The citizens of Bishop’s Waltham, Hampshire took a trip back in time on 3rd May to solve a murder mystery and help raise money for their town’s senior lunch clubs. The WWII-set mystery saw participants dress in period costume, while all the detectives received a case file and briefing, and proceeded to question suspects throughout the town centre.

This mystery was written especially for the town in the 1940s to involve local businesses, and it was revived by The Town Team, which was established to promote Bishop’s Waltham. Event organiser Robert Shields says they wanted “to provide community fun and raise money for the senior lunch clubs.” Those clubs are run by the Bishop’s Waltham Care Group three days a week, and have been helping seniors socialize and get healthy meals for nearly 40 years.

Murder

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Bishop’s Waltham began as a Saxon village, and even though it was burned down by Danes in 1001 AD, it went on to become one of the largest villages in Hampshire. In the 19th century, it became a prosperous market town and was home to a gasworks, brickworks, cattle market and several merchants and agricultural suppliers. The town has fought to retain its character by cherishing small, local businesses, and is home to the ruins of Bishop’s Waltham Palace, which was destroyed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War.

While solving the mystery was the main order of the day, participants were also treated to tea and 1940s style cakes from The Country Market, drinks, a full dinner and dancing to a live band playing period music at the town’s Jubilee Hall once all investigating was completed. Sarah Goddard won a £50 voucher for cracking the case. Shields notes that a big highlight was “the enthusiasm of everyone throughout” the day.

The occasion was promoted via local press, the parish magazine, posters and emails, but Shields says around 60 percent of attendees learned about it through word of mouth. He adds that any event can come together if you take one thing to heart. “Plan, plan and plan. Have a strategy; outline the concept and the planning assumptions first,” he says. “Have a good and experienced team that you can trust to do what they say they will do. Your whole service,” Shields declares, “was absolutely excellent and I would recommend you to anyone.”

How do you plan large, community-based events?

 


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