Houghton Feast stalwart still helping to dish up annual tradition after more than 50 years

The Houghton Feast is upon us once more and is helped, as always, by one of its greatest stalwarts.

Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd October 2019, 11:32 pm
Ready for action: Houghton Feast traditional ox roasting team member Ron Young, 91, is looking forward to this year's roast as much as ever.

Ron Young has helped at the 1,000 year-old Feast since the ox roasting tradition was revived in 1967, when he also helped to organise the parade.

Ron, 91, is a member of the Rotary Club, which plays an important part in the annual October event. He joined in 1972 and was president in 1987, when he took early retirement from the timber and sawmill industry.

Over the years Ron has also been a regular contributor to the Echo’s Down Your Way section for Houghton.

The ox roast at a previous Houghton Feast is always popular, as this queue at a previous Feast demonstrates.

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He is looking forward to the 2019 Feast, the ox roast in particular, as much as ever.

Ron said: “We take the ox on the Sunday afternoon and put it on a spit. It needs to be on there for 24 hours to make sure it’s properly cooked, so we take in turns to keep an eye on it.

“I’m 91 now and I’m in semi-retirement. I’m not as mobile these days, but I’ll still be around in an advisory capacity. I’ll be taking a shift watching the ox.

“We’ve got a good team at the Rotary Club. I must stress what a team effort it is.”

The start of the Houghton Feast always attracts big crowds.

The ox roast is the centrepiece of the Houghton Feast. It is held in commemoration of Rector Bernard Gilpin, who would roast and Ox or hog to feed Houghton's poor in the 16th Century.

This year it takes place on Monday, October 7 at 4pm at the Rectory Field in Dairy Lane. The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor David Snowdon, will carve. Proceeds from the sale of ox sandwiches will go to charity and there will be fireworks at 7.30pm.

The 2019 Feast begins on Friday, October 4 at 7pm with a spectacular community show on The Broadway. The carnival procession takes place on Saturday at 2pm, moving from the library to the Dairy Lane entrance of Rectory Park.

Over ten days to Sunday, October 13 there is a full programme of music, arts, sports, entertainment and community events.

Ron Young has been part of the Houghton Feast ox roasting team since 1967