Martin Clunes’ 10th Annual Buckham Fair judged “a great success!”


UPDATE: See Buckham Fair photo album submitted by Jen Jorissen:

The Buckham Fair on Martin Clunes’ property in Dorset offers everything you could want in a country fair–rides, food, dogs, horses, and, in this case, a chance to take a picture with Martin Clunes, star of “Doc Martin.” I attended the fair in 2014–an absolute riot! 

This year, Dorset County Hospital Charity Cancer Appeal was chosen as the beneficiary. It will receive a check toward building a new cancer center in Dorchester.

Jen Jorissen, Maplewood, Minn., has volunteered at the fair for the past four years. She very graciously shares her observations and photos. Thank you, Jen!


Jen Jorissen and Di Gilmour, from Florence, Ore., outside the beer tent at the Sponsors’ Reception.


Volunteering at the Buckham Fair

by Jen Jorissen

Every year for me has been like a homecoming because I get to see people I’ve met and friends I’ve made over the years–my “British Peeps” and  the “Clunatic” fringe. I stay at a B&B on a working farm about six miles from the fairgrounds. My hosts are lovely people who treat me like family!

What I do

My tasks as a volunteer have varied quite a bit: I’ve set up and taken down show rings, judges’ tents, chairs, and tables; sold official Buckham Fair merchandise; run refreshments to officials; pushed vehicles out of mud (but, fortunately, not this year!); pounded in signs; distributed straw bales; picked up orphaned garbage; directed lost visitors, and anything else I’ve been assigned.

I try to be a good ambassador, both for the Fair and for the Good Ol’ U.S. of A. (I figure we really need some good P.R. right now.)

A huge undertaking

Buckham Fair is a huge undertaking for a rural community. It’s managed by the Buckham Fair Committee, a small group of dedicated volunteers, including Martin and his wife, Philippa, who begin mapping out the next summer’s fair before autumn retires for the year. They are joined by others who help to execute those plans and manage the additional volunteers, especially at the fairgrounds on The Big Day.

Final attendance figures for 2018 are not in yet, but there is good reason to believe that this year may have set attendance and fundraising records: The parking areas were full; the weather was perfect (dry but with a bit of cloudiness, so not too hot); horse and dog events were chock full of participants; and the demonstrations were thronged with people. The amusement rides had good lines all day, as well as the food stalls and merchandise vendors. The beer tent is a perennial favorite!

Additionally, Fair Sponsorship was at all-time high numbers (including some 40 or so Americans).

Popular events

It is physically impossible to see and do everything, and I keep hearing about cool things that I missed! Martin is always very popular; events in which he participates draw the largest crowds. He judges the Specialty Dog Classes, like “Waggiest Tail,” “Best Fancy Dress” (in U.S.-speak, that would be “Best Costume”), and “Dog the Judge Would Like to Take Home.”

Martin’s “Doc Martin” canine co-star, “Dodger,” always appears to show visitors his tricks–and usually upstages Martin in the process.

Neil Morrissey joins in the fun

NeilMorrissey1-optNeil Morrissey, Martin’s co-star in “Men Behaving Badly,” made an encore appearance as judge in the specialty class, “Dog Looking even MORE like Neil.” Neil is a crowd favorite and a genuinely good egg! We had a nice chat, and he generously posed for photos for me.

Martin, Philippa and the Horses

Martin participates in a number of demonstrations in the main ring. My favorite is the Heavy Horse Competition. This year Martin and his Clydesdale “Bruce” took top honors.

Philippa judges most of the Specialty Horse Classes. I was hoping to catch some of them this year but missed out because I foolishly did not have my copy of the program with me and was off taking snapshots and visiting with fairgoers and their dogs (what can I say, other than I miss my poochers?!). {{{Sigh}}}.

I did see a small sample of the show jumping events; those kids can ride! I am a hack trail rider and do my best to be respectful to my horse, but she’s had much better training than I and has had to learn to be patient with me. She would be much better off with one of those accomplished youngsters!

Visit with Bruce and Ronnie

A popular new feature, oddly enough, was the addition of temporary stalls to house theBruceAndSmallFriend-optsm Heavy Horses. They provided a safe environment for both the horses and visitors to meet and greet–witness the little guy in the photo meeting “Bruce,” who was very gracious throughout a day of photo ops with his fans! His brother “Ronnie” was there as well, though seemed a little bored with the attention. He was often seen doing his best Greta Garbo impersonation:  “I vant to be alone.”

I enjoyed Buckham Fair, stem to stern! If pressed for my favorite part of it, I’d have to admit that spending time working and visiting with the committee members and volunteers are at the top of my list–right next to the very nice hug that I got from Martin!


4 thoughts on “Martin Clunes’ 10th Annual Buckham Fair judged “a great success!”

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