Tributes were paid at the official opening of this year’s Warwick Mops to Sir David Amess MP, who had died in such horrific circumstances the day before.
Sir David was the chairman of the Parliamentary All Party Group on Fairs and Showgrounds and was held in high esteem by the Showmen’s Guild, which counted him a friend.
As a mark of respect, Warwick Town Council scaled down the formalities that accompanied the opening ceremony at the first Mop on October 16, the second day of what is now a two-day fair.
Usually, there is large procession headed by the mayor and attended by town and district councillors, members of the Court Leet, lessee Tommy Wilson and representatives of the Showmen’s Guild.
Just a handful of people this year walked with the mayor from the Court House to the Market Square, where the opening took place. Furthermore, the customary civic tour of the fair was kept to the minimum, and the auction of the first slice of roast pig was given a miss.
The ceremony was conducted on the platform of the Re-Mix Miami that has graced the square during the Mop for many years now. Previously belonging to Midland Section stalwart Keith Stanworth, it is now presented by Aaron Bradley. The guests of the mayor were entertained to lunch at the Court House.
Like virtually every other back-end fair, there has been a gap of two years since the Warwick Mops were last held. The most obvious change in the fair since 2019 was South Wales Section member Denzil Danter’s Waltzer, a machine that has attended quite a few of the Mop fairs in the Midlands this year. This was positioned immediately opposite the imposing entrance to St Mary’s parish church, currently swathed in scaffolding, at the eastern end of the fair.
Otherwise, the composition of the fair was very much as before, with the lessee Wilson’s Amusements’ (Redditch) Dodgem, Orbiter and Jumper occupying the main square, supported by, among others, Keith Stanworth’s Twist and James Danter’s Freak Out.
For the second Mop a week later there was a change in the layout, with David Rogers’ Round Up taking the place of the lessee’s Orbiter.
The weather remained fine for the first Warwick Mop, and attendance was good. Autumn was making its mark by the time of the second Mop a week later (October 22/23), but the public’s support seemed unaffected.
Tommy Wilson’s bonfire loss in Redditch
Unfortunately, the Bonfire Night celebrations at Arrow Valley Country Park in Redditch, and the large fair usually provided in support by Tommy Wilson, did not take place this year because of “increasing costs and security issues”. The event was cancelled also in 2020, due to the pandemic.
This year, however, the council organised a week-long ‘Autumn Celebration’ instead, with a nightly light trail, music, children’s rides and food stalls from October 25 to 30.
Main photo: The Mayor of Warwick proclaims the 2021 Mops open with, left to right, Midland Section vice-chairman Steven Stokes, lessee Tommy Wilson and the town clerk looking on.