“Yer We Be – You Give It – We’ll Zell It”
Cossor’s Gang will be out and about during the second week of carnival, collecting your old collectables for their mega Jumble Sale and Auction, just leave anything you may have on your doorstep clearly marked COSSOR (to avoid confusion!). The�Gang are also�set up in their charity shop in Market Square these days, in pride of place overlooked by King Alfred’s statue – why not make a point of dropping�by next time you’re in Pewsey?
If you venture into Pewsey the Monday and Tuesday before carnival you�re likely to encounter a gang of brightly clad colourful characters trawling the streets on tractor-led trailers brimming with goods donated by villagers.
“Cossor�s Gang” are 16 people split into teams A and A+. Their rag-and-bone-style collection attracts anything from used plant pots to stylish dressers and DVD players.
On the Wednesday before carnival the Cossors sell jumble and bric-a-brac from noon and hold a spectacular auction from 6pm – which often continues into the early hours of the morning. Nick Wood, who drives one of the tractors, said: “I don�t know of anywhere that does anything like this.”
Their approach is sounded by a handbell. A particularly special bell is the Jewish Bell, donated by Beattie Townsend 30 years ago in memory of her late husband Vic. One of the team, local historian Roger Pope remembered: “She said, �Give this a ring for Vic when you pass our place.� And we do every time.”
Cossor�s Sale originated in the 1920s with the Butchers� and Farmers� Sale started by Frank Sheppard and Kitty Guilford, who used to sell bullocks, chickens, eggs and suchlike – nothing like the range of items on offer today.
In 1948 the event became Cossor�s Sale. So named after Clifford Goldsworthy, a fireman who for years – for reasons lost in the mists of time, but possibly because he was one of the first in the area to own a much-coveted Cossor radio – had been nicknamed “Cossor”.
During the 1960s and �70s the sale was held where the entrance now is for Bouverie Hall car park, between the post office wall and the Wesleyan Hall. Its rapid expansion means the gang now have sole use of the car park on the day of the sale.
A “stick man” is needed to keep the gang to a strict time schedule and ensure stops for food and water are not stretched out too long. When Wayne Hawkins joined Cossors in 1987 Mike Lavington was the stick man. Wayne said: “Mike wouldn�t come on the collection, but he was very good at getting us out. If you didn�t move he�d use the stick – literally.” �Wayne stepped in as stick man nine years ago when his predecessor Kevin Foulkes left to take charge of the main carnival procession.
One previous gang member, known universally as the Mole Man, or Mole – still to be spotted in the village in Cossor-style attire – was spoken of highly by Wayne as a great collector of donations for good causes during the team�s rounds –“The Mole Man used to get �600 in the box,” he said.
Cossor�s Jumble Sale was always organised by Clifford�s (Cossor) wife Olive Goldsworthy, and Don Andrews has for years looked after the money at the auction.
All the money raised by Cossor�s Jumble and Sale goes back into the community, helping local charities as well as contributing to carnival funds.
Gang members sacrifice a week�s holiday from their usual jobs to prepare for and run the sale.
On the days they are working as Cossors they are provided with food to keep up their energy levels, courtesy of various hostelries over the years�- “They�ve looked after us well,” said Wayne.
Cossor�s Jumble Sale is at Noon on the second Wednesday of Carnival and Cossor�s Sale starts at 6pm that evening.
�Story: Liz Boden
Cossor’s Memorial Cup (Car Treasure Hunt)
Organiser Carol Parsons, daughter of late carnival stalwart Cossor Golsworthy, was delighted with the turn out of 38 teams on 5th Sept 2006 for the inaugural Cossor’s Memorial Cup�which�took the form of a car treasure hunt.
Apart from being great fun for all involved, a sum in the region of �300 is expected for Carnival Funds. Carnival queen Angela Janenthirarajah did the honours in starting the teams off on a course which took in Burbage, Milton Lilbourne, Clench Common, East Stowell, Wilcot, Southcott and, in some cases, a hell of a lot more places besides!
First prize of �75 and retaining their title: Mick & Doreen, Shamo & Heather, Colin & Jan (it�s a big car!)
Second: The Reid Family from Pewsey�
Third: The Hibberds & Powells from Devizes
First: Mick & Doreen High et al
Winners 2006 – Cossor’s Memorial Cup plus �100:
Mundy & Stokes families – 86pts out of possible 95
Runners Up – �25
Routledge family – 83pts, awarded �25
Reynolds family – 83pts (travelled +1.2 miles)
Fancy Dress – Winners
Ian & Bernie Perry (Gorilla & Safari suit)