Champagne Charlie


Of all our fund raising activities, Champagne Charlie deserves a section all to itself. We have often said that the West Wight Swimming Pool was built on hot dogs and Pomagne – let me elaborate.

I have already covered the fame of our hot dogs, but Pomagne was totally different. Pomagne was a cheap sparkling white wine in a bottle not unlike a champagne bottle. Champagne Charlie itself was a large wheel with numbers and an arrow on it, set on a large easel. Punters bought a number and when all the numbers on the board were sold, the arrow was set in motion and wherever it stopped was the winner of a bottle of Pomagne. People loved being seen with a bottle under their arm and we very happily ran this sideshow until we ambitiously decided to take a site at the County Show at Northwood.

As usual the queues mounted up with people eager to part with their money. Out of this mass of people appeared a member of the Isle of Wight Constabulary who kindly pointed out that it was not a good idea to award a bottle of drink to under-age winners and said we should offer an alternative price. This caused Barbara Richardson to hightail it off to the local cash and carry to buy yet more Pomagne and footballs – vast amounts of footballs – so many in fact that Barbara had a job to see out of the window of her car. Champagne Charlie continued to raise hundreds of pounds for the pool but a football as a prize did not have the same appeal as a bottle of Pomagne.Champagne-Charlie-001

We were quite happy to hire Champagne Charlie out to other organisations, along with other sideshows we had acquired or made.