Chippenham Folk Festival will never be the same, especially the Friday Schools Day. We have learnt that we have sadly lost Pete Hendy on April 7th and all send our best wishes to Marj, his loving wife.
Pete would turn up in Chippenham on a Friday morning in May and be ready to get involved in the activities as the different school arrived in their lines at the Neeld Hall and were directed to various folk activities in the many venues. Full of fun and jokes, chatting to friends about different gatherings over the time since they last met at Folk Camps, other festivals and many dances. He was ready and willing to get involved often along with the Downfielders Band at the social dance venue for the Friday classes. It is always great to see the band – Pete's pride and joy – with their success over many years and the gradual changing line-up as the youngsters develop and leave the Gloucestershire schools that make up the band line-up.
The highlight of the Festival Friday is when all the schools come back from the many different workshops and all sit in their groups in the hall waiting for Pete and the workshop leaders to call them up to demonstrate their new skills with dance, song, morris, clog, and swords. Then Pete would lead the finale of social dances in a very happy crowded hall. The always looked so happy with the day as the lines left the hall.
We will always remember that scene and are sure that Pete takes with him many happy memories of Chippenham Schools Day along with the memories of calling, teaching, music, folk camps, and the many skills he has passed on to others. Seeing him dance with Marj and his friends throughout many weekends is a memory that many are glad they have and will share with many others. What he has shared and passed down to others is a treasure that we are pleased to have encountered. Many thanks, great memories, we shall all miss you, Pete!