Last Saturday (July 1st), Holborn Community Association once again participated in the annual Queen Square Fair [QSF]. A stone’s throw from both Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Mary Ward Centre, the square was abuzz with stalls, music and other forms of entertainment, with locals and newcomers enjoying the atmosphere on a lovely sunny day.
So, 364 days since the last QSF, what has changed for HCA? It was the first fair for our Older People’s Services, Andrew. He manned one of our stalls, ably assisted by Ruma, Hanna and volunteer Gloria. They sold knitwear, plants and bric-a-brac, with Ruma providing henna tattoos. Not far away, another HCA stall was run by Pilar and Bridie, who sold jewelry and were later joined by Gina. Meanwhile, the HCA leaflet and information stall was looked after by Hanif, Charles and caretaker John. The latter knew a fair few passers-by, who stopped to chat, and the trio braved a wasp attack and manfully prevented irregular breezes from blowing the leaflets away. Elsewhere, Millman Street’s knitting guru, Jane, was helping out on another bric-a-brac stall. She was pleased to have sold what she considered to be a “hideous” ornament. Still, one person’s garbage is another’s goldmine…
A few familiar faces popped along to give their support, including Paul, Head of Operations at Bedford House, along with his wife and nipper. Our CEO, Lucas, also turned up to support our staff and volunteers.
In the centre of the square, a variety of bands performed. The Sugar Sisters (minus HCA’s pal Heather, but with her hubbie on ukelele) were on early. Bahareque, a London-based Pan-Latin band sang Spanish language songs.
The Mary Ward Centre Ensemble featured singers from four local community groups, including HCA. Among our representatives were John, Canute and Norman. They sang Happy Together, Every Time We Say Goodbye, Nothing But Blue Skies, Bring Me Sunshine and Only Fools Rush In, among others.
There was a Jive Rock’n’Roll lesson, hosted by a bloke who gives classes. Various fair-goers danced to a veritable jukebox of classic 1950s hits, including That’ll Be The Day, All Shook Up and Johnny Be Goode (who, famously, played guitar like ringing a bell – therefore incorrectly: shouldn’t he have played it like a guitar?).
The Northern Celts again played, with only Whiskey In The Jar from their Irish rock set familiar to this reporter. As was Les Coughlan, who spoke to us last year. And he still bears a slight resemblance to Richard Attenborough (more Jurassic Park era than Brighton Rock).
By the time the HCA contingent left, the Dove Jones Band were on stage, before he joined them.
Elsewhere, in the garden were various stalls, tents and a bouncy castle run by other charities and community organisations. The St John’s Ambulance crew were, thankfully, underused, content to enjoy the sunshine and soak up the vibe. An artist drew likenesses of attendees outside the Mary Ward Centre, with both artist and sitter giving permission for the photograph taken of them (see slideshow).
There were a couple of oddities in the square, snapped by your ever-vigilant [shouldn’t that be never-vigilant? – HCA Bosses] reporter:
Further exploration of the square revealed a couple of statues. One was of Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, and suddenly something clicked: your HCA hack had assumed that the square had been named for the rapper and actress Queen Latifah. The latter’s mysterious failure to turn up was now solved.
All in all, a good time was enjoyed by all, and we look forward to next year’s Queen Square Fair. And now the obligatory slideshow:
Sales from HCA’s stalls added up to a tidy sum, said to be up on the total raised during last year’s event. Enough for an unscrupulous hack to abscond abroad on (writes unscrupulous hack from the safety of an offshore tax haven…). When lauded for overseeing this accomplishment, manager Andrew modestly attributed the fundraising success to Bridie, Ruma, Gloria, Pilar, Gina and others who worked on the stalls.
Woman of the day award should perhaps be shared between a lady from the Mary Ward Centre who cleared up litter of her own accord, and our own volunteer Gloria, who sacrificed her birthday to help run one of the HCA stalls.
The Sugar Sisters: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Northern Celts: https://www.bandmix.co.uk/thenortherncelts/
Dove Jones Band: https://www.dovejones.love/
Holborn Community Association would like to thank all staff and volunteers who helped make Millman Street Centre’s contribution to the fair a success and a fun day out.
Photos courtesy of: Andrew, Ruma and mainly Notes Smudger, who also reported