Villagers gather for the self-aggrandising picture
Villagers in a small community just outside of Petersfield gathered together for a group photograph to send to the local press after deciding nothing newsworthy was likely to happen there in 2011.
Residents of Celeb-by-Proxy held a coffee morning, a raffle, bade farewell to a retiring district nurse, appointed a new vicar, planted a tree, presented a charity with an oversized cheque for £9.56, grew a large marrow and waved off a posh kid on a year’s round-the-world trip funded by gullible readers of the Petersfield Proust, all to justify having a picture taken for the local media.
General busybody and retired primary school teacher Lettie Yourself-Down organised the photoshoot after she felt she was losing her matriarchal position in village society to the “hussy from number 22” who had started giving home-made jam to her neighbours.
Ms YD, as she’s known throughout her garden, explained: “It’s very important for a community like ours to feel we are getting something back for our high council tax banding.
“We move to the countryside to leave the cities and towns behind and forget about them – but it’s not right that they should forget about us. After all, where would they be without our 4x4s at Pony Club meets and those sneering looks when they come for a drink at our local pub?
“So to justify our existence – mainly to ourselves – we posed for a picture and sent it off to the local media. They’re bound to use it to fill a hole and it will make me feel very important once more.”
A spokesman for the local newspaper said: “We were delighted to receive the picture as we had no idea this village existed. According to the War Office, there was a community there once but it was requisitioned in 1940 as a training base for black-and-white film actors.
“Apparently John Mills and Trevor Howard were stationed there for a few months in the run up to the 1947 classic So Well Remembered. And we understand Mario Lanza used to sing in the pub for a few pennies.
“It would certainly explain why the picture we were sent was taken with a Box Brownie.”