You don’t have to know anyone in this photo, or even where it was taken or why it was taken, for it to feel familiar.
It’s a timeless image of a gang of teenagers; but what makes it stand out is the way they are so natural and relaxed. No one is looking at the camera; it’s as if the photographer isn’t there.
Maria Brooks is the mother of one of the people in the photograph, Amanda Brooks. “My daughter says she can remember it. They all knew they were getting their photo taken but he took it when they didn’t know he was looking,” she says. “But that’s what makes it so much better and so natural. They’re just all there, just chilling.”
Some of the other teenagers who have been identified include Alison Ellicott, Robert and Shona McGinty, Michael and Sarah Wonnacott, Tina Spalard, Karen Bullen, Jonathan Parker, Kevin Leahy, Trevor Bisett and Kim Passmore.
The figures are gathered around the village pump, which is still in the centre of the square. It was during Winkleigh Fair which has its roots going right back in the history of the village.
Beginning with a church service and crowning of the Fair Queen it lasts a week and would cater for all ages. In years past there would be a fairground in the village with swingboats and coconut shys and there was always something for the children, from fancy dress competitions to circus skills workshops, recalls Maria. “In the evenings there would be wheelbarrow races and a tug of war, then there was ferret racing and donkey derby; everyone took part.” She adds, “I even did the maypole dancing once, I was only about eight I suppose, but everyone liked the maypole dancing in the square.”
How many villages still hold fetes and events like Winkleigh Fair. Many are in danger of ending due to a lack of volunteers to organise them and people wanting to take part in the activities. When events are held in rural communities, do you still see groups of teenagers hanging around like the ones in this photograph?