Just the ticket . . .

PUBLISHED: 12:24 16 June 2015 | UPDATED: 13:00 16 June 2015




In villages everywhere organising committees are planning the summer fete. Tony Redman offers his tips for raffle etiquette

Vicar and writer of And Another Thing... column for Suffolk MagazineVicar and writer of And Another Thing... column for Suffolk Magazine

Summer is nearly here, and summer means village fetes.

Dr Kate Jewell is an expert in fetes in medieval Suffolk, and according to her research these often involved dressing up, lots of food, dancing, getting drunk and gunpowder.

They had their origin in the remembering of local saints or special dates, and raising money for good causes, often to do with the parish church. Not much has changed in 500 years.

Every year, up and down the country, summer fetes are still part of village life.

Most fetes involve a raffle so here are the basic ground rules for playing your part in this important element of parish life.

1 First of all you need to get to the event as soon as you can after it opens, or even before that if you can. This will give you the opportunity of spiking the raffle with some better prizes if you have the inclination, which will also increase the number of tickets sold and lower your own chances of winning.

2 The earlier you can buy tickets, the better. Don’t worry about whether or not the purchase of tickets is obligatory. It is. It’s always best not to look at the great variety of potential prizes as this can be depressing, and you need to assume that whatever you succeed in winning, it’s likely to disappoint.

3 Purchase as many tickets as you can. The more you spend, the more likely the organising committee will be encouraged to buy some better prizes next time. Most village people will do the same, in order to shorten the odds.

4 Always stay to hear the draw called. If you are not there, others will hold things for you and deliver them to you later on. This is not necessarily a good thing. If you do have to leave early, make sure you leave your tickets with a trusted friend giving them clear instructions, bearing in mind that others will be watching what you take and coming to their own conclusions about your personal tastes.

5 As the draw gets going some people will be really happy for the second hand, slightly used Barbie’s outfit, and the bottle aged Blue Nun German Riesling, or that bottle of holiday liqueur bought on a whim and now past its best, but these will not be everybody’s cup of tea. You must ignore this point and carry on choosing things regardless.

6 On no account return things to the draw table. The drawer of the tickets will carry on until the very last item is left. The more people put things back into the draw, the longer drawn out will be the agony for everybody else, as nobody is allowed to leave until the draw table is clear. So in the interests of being a good member of the community it beholds you to take your prize, whether you want it or not.

7 Some of the prizes you may enjoy, but some you will not. Non-perishable items are best left to one side and slipped in unnoticed in the next year’s draw, by which time most folk will have forgotten about them, and previous owners will be beyond identification. The careful discerning types will be able to identify the boomerangs – those prizes which keep doing the rounds, but this is no bad thing and all part of letting the village know what good taste you have. Perishable items you do not want need to find another venue. This is where it pays to belong to more than one ‘community’. With any luck there will be another raffle somewhere else just crying out for prizes, and these items can then be harmlessly slipped in, earning you double brownie points with two different groups of people.

So now you see it. Village raffles are an essential part of village recycling policy.

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