The Shelford Feast goes back to medieval times when it was more likely to have been a festival celebrated around a special day in the calendar. Prior to the Second World War, the Feast was held on the sports ground where Leeway Avenue is now, moving to the land behind the former De Freville Arms in the 1930's. The last of the pre-War feasts was held in 1938 after which it ceased to be held until revived in 1994. Today, The Shelford Feast is celebrated on a Sunday in early July on the Recreation Ground in the centre of the village of Great Shelford.
The revival was the brainchild of a local man, Jerry Brown, whose father Basil had taken part in organising the Feasts which took place in Shelford before the Second World War. Jerry grabbed a few pals, told them how hard the school would be hit by educational spending cuts and the group called The Bunch was born. In six weeks The Bunch had organised a Feast in the grounds of the village school and all proceeds were given to the school which went on to survive a challenging period of austerity.
Over the next decade, The Feast grew in popularity and gave rise to a number of additional events during the week preceding Feast Sunday. It is now known as The Shelford Festival & Feast, with The Feast for short. In 2022, the running order of events was changed with the Feast Sunday now falling at the beginning of a week-long Festival.
A regular annual village event, The Shelford Feast maintains the tradition of bringing the community together to celebrate, all with the aim of having a good time whilst raising money for local good causes. The Feast has raised over £371,000 which has gone to village causes, mainly those which help young people, and has entertained all who have attended.
The criteria for a grant from the Shelford Feast include (in no particular order):
- Being a local charity or non-profit-making organisation
- Financial need, especially where there is no alternative funding source
- Helping particularly the young, the old or the needy
- Where a contribution would make most significant impact
- Where there is a significant contribution to The Feast by the organisation or its supporters
We encourage people who are likely to receive donations to come and help at the Feast. If they can't help they might send their own supporters, or even to bake cakes we can sell at our tea and cake stall. If you feel your local organisation deserves a Feast grant do download a Grant Application Advice Form (PDF or Word).
Recipients of Feast Grants 2023
We are delighted to say that the 2023 Feast was one of our most successful events, with crowds at evening events, happy customers at the concerts and all-comers well fed and watered. We are very pleased to announce that we can give from the 2023 Feast over £24,000 to local good causes! Click here for a complete list.
Become part of a team of volunteers that gets its reward from the enjoyment The Shelford Feast brings to the village each summer not to mention the good causes it supports.
The Feast is organised by a committee known as the Bunch who meet throughout the year to choose the events and make decisions about how we go about things. While a worthy band of workers, the Bunch cannot do it all on their own. We rely upon voluntary helpers – and we can never have enough! Please contact Sarah Coppendale on 01223 842498 or email@example.com to offer your services, however small!
Teamwork is vital to the success of The Feast. For example we have teams of people who help set up The Feast over the week preceding the events and a team who help tidy away when all is finished. For this you should be practical, willing and reasonably fit. We especially welcome individuals with practical qualifications – skills that bring something special to the table.
We have another team that prepares, cooks and serves food throughout the week. You could offer to serve, do a turn on the till, prepare the food or assist with the barbecue on any of the nights during the week, or to be on the rota for Feast Day itself. A small team prepares and chops vegetables on the morning of The Feast while another team supervises the fires and stays up late to spit roast the meat.
Are you used to bar work? Our bar team is on the go every evening from Tuesday to Saturday of Feast Week plus most of Saturday and Sunday. We’d appreciate skilled helpers, who will work on a rota system. As The Feast is now a cashless event, even the innumerate are welcome.
Then there are the folk who work behind the scenes drumming up sponsorship and advertising, producing the programme and tickets – and of course this website. These are things that can be done in the months before The Feast and if you have computer, layout or design skills you can certainly help us.
Getting the idea? Many hands make light work and fresh blood brings new ideas to ensure The Feast has a long and successful future ahead.
If you are interested in even more such as being part of the organisers, why not talk to one of the Bunch (that’s people in the red Feast shirts) during the week? It’s a longer term commitment but if you can show you’ve helped us for a while and would like to join the decision makers – and if you’re younger than some of us – you could find yourself being very useful indeed.
Come and join The Shelford Feast team of volunteers!
The Feast is organised by a committee known as the Bunch who meet throughout the year to choose the events and make decisions about how we go about things - we're the folk in red shirts who you'll see running around events during the Feast!
While a worthy band of workers, the Bunch cannot do it all on their own. We rely upon up to 100 voluntary helpers for the weeks around the July Feast – and we can never have enough! Please contact Sarah Coppendale on 01223 842498 or The Feast at firstname.lastname@example.org to offer your services, however small!
If you are interested in being part of the organisers, why not talk to one of the Bunch during the week? It’s a longer term commitment but if you can show you’ve helped us for a while and would like to join the decision makers – and if you’re younger than some of us – you could find yourself being very useful indeed.
Come and join us!