Using one’s gifts – 3

The third in a series featuring church members with creative gifts

By Mike Rego – whose images may also be found elsewhere on this website

I bought my first ‘proper’ camera with money from my 18th Birthday, and then learnt to develop and print black-and-white film as a student at university using the Camera Club’s darkroom, which enabled me to experiment with different styles and to learn what worked and what didn’t. I photographed much ‘student life’, but as a geologist I also photographed landscapes which was very helpful as well as aesthetically satisfying.

The opportunities that I had to travel and live overseas with my career, often overseas and to remote locations, made me realise how fortunate I was to see so much that in a glimpse would be gone for ever, and that many would never even experience. Some things seem quite ordinary to us at the time, and then suddenly they are gone and forgotten, unless we record them. The seemingly mundane of the here and now becomes yesterday’s longed-for tradition.

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As a student, after my first-year exams I spent a morning photographing the decaying docks in Swansea — oh, how I wish I had spent more time there! — which are now a glitzy marina with bars, coffee shops, boutique hotels, trendy apartments and offices and no sign of the people that toiled there or the major industries they once supported. I have travelled to places such as Siberia, East Africa, and even regularly to North Korea since 2002, and there too there has been much progress, but always it is the people and the human spirit that shine through as the one constant. Even the landscapes around us — especially on Dartmoor — show the influence of not just the underlying geological story on the landscape, but also of mankind, eking out a living.

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I have been lucky to see so much on my travels, and even more to be able to record so much with my camera — whether it is an image of a factory worker in North Korea, a peasant farmer in Siberia, or sheep-shearing in North Bovey. We are all the same and I hope that my images of people especially help to show the uniqueness and commonality of the human spirit.

No Petticoats Here

A performance will take place at St Andrew’s Church at 7.30 pm on Friday 23rd November.  Tickets £3 from the Information Office.

Louise Jordan, the presenter, writes:

# is a project that tells the stories of remarkable women of the First World War through song.

These songs recognise the extraordinary and inspirational achievements of women working in many spheres.  From the women footballers who kept the sport alive during the First World War to the aspiring teenage journalist who dressed as a soldier and travelled to the Western Front on a bicycle, the women who risked their lives to treat the wounded yards from the German Front Line, an inventor and engineer, a master spy and the women who made the weapons of war.

Since the summer of 2015 I have been uncovering the stories of extraordinary women and their remarkable achievements.  During the early stages of my research I read that Dr Elsie Inglis, in her efforts to set up Scottish Women’s Hospitals during the Great War, was told by a Member of Parliament: ‘Go home and sit still; we don’t want any petticoats here.’  No Petticoats Here was born.

Petticoats 2

The research, song-writing, composition and delivery has taken fifteen months and has taken me from Portsmouth to Pervijze and from Ulverston to Ypres by way of many museums, battlefields, private collections, libraries and research centres.

Alongside writing my own songs, I have developed songwriting workshops to explore the folk tradition and the ways stories can come alive through song.  In August 2015 I piloted these workshops at SOCO Music and Salisbury Arts Centre.  The workshops are now available to book for schools, community organisations and festivals.  Please email me to discuss how these workshops can be adapted for your organisation.

See a trailer at: http://louisejordan.co.uk/no-petticoats-here

Using one’s gifts – 2

The second in a series featuring church members with creative gifts
‘Something fishy’ by Clare Benson

When I was clearing my mother’s house after her death, I found hundreds of handwritten letters from friends and family, dating back many decades. I made use of some of them in a series of collages of people in conversation; torn scraps with different handwriting suggesting voices filling the space between and around the figures. I enjoyed choosing the words; sometimes themes of conversation began to emerge — in this case, fish.

The collages were based on quick sketches I made in the café at a large hospital where I was visiting my mother, who had several long stays there during the last year of her life. At the time, the art group I belonged to was planning an exhibition on the theme of Conversations. This prompted a new direction in my work, which is usually focused on landscape.

Spending time in the hospital, I began to think about the human dramas happening there. Conversations across café tables must touch on matters of life and death more often than in the world outside, although there’s also plenty of mundane chat and jokey banter. Body language and gestures give clues to mood and relationships.

Clare Benson

The café where I did the drawings had a wall used for temporary art exhibitions, and my collages were shown there last year. There was a lot of varied and interesting art on walls throughout the hospital, and I was glad to contribute in a small way to making the surroundings seem more human, and perhaps lifting the spirits of people at a difficult time in their lives.

Ben and Felicia Baily’s trip to France and Belgium with the Royal British Legion

This past summer, we spent three days touring the battlefields, cemeteries and memorials of Belgium and northern France with other Royal British Legion members as part of a pilgrimage to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.  The first day was spent in and around Ypres, known as ‘Wipers’ by the British soldiers who could not pronounce the name! In the morning we visited Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world.  The site was of great strategic importance during the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917, as it lies on a ridge.  It was captured and recaptured by both sides repeatedly, even after the cemetery had been established.  The site contains three German pillboxes, one of which the cross of remembrance is now built on.  This pillbox was used as a field hospital at one time and the random pattern of the graves immediately round it indicates that soldiers who died here were buried almost directly outside the door.

Tyne Cot

 

 

Tyne Cot Cemetery

 

Cross of Remc

 

 

The cross of remembrance that was once a field hospital.

 

 This sort of evidence of the mass loss of life was constantly leaping out at us during the trip.  On the second day we visited the Somme memorials.  At the Thiepval memorial, Ben pointed out the grave of an unknown Devonshire Regiment Soldier and said to me, ‘If we were born 100 years ago I could be in there,’ to which I replied, ‘Yes, and I would never have known where you were.’Thiepval 1

Thiepval 2At the Thiepval Memorial

After this we visited Thiepval Wood, where the British were caught by their own gas as it slipped back down the hill into their own trench, and Delville Wood,where the entire area is an undisturbed burial ground of unidentified South African soldiers.

Finding Cyril Harvey’s name on the memorial to the missing at Arras

CH ArrasHowever, amidst the solemnity, the trip afforded much that was positive.  When we visited the memorial to the missing at Arras, we realised that one of our own was here.  Cyril J Harvey’s father ran the Half Moon pub in Manaton and built the Kestor as his intended knew dwelling.  Cyril is believed to have been killed at the battle of Arras on Sunday 31st March 1918 in a charge that was intended to retake a trench they had already won and lost earlier that day.  When we told our bus companions from the other Devon branches that we believed there was a Manaton boy here, everyone leapt into action and together we found Cyril’s name on one of the memorial walls.  We left a piece of paper bearing his story below the name, as though we were reuniting him with his village.

The new-found camaraderie formed between the Legion members in the course of the trip made the day of the march even more special.  On this day, standard-bearers and wreath-layers from Royal British Legion branches all over the UK marched through Ypres to the Menin Gate.  This was to mark 100 years since the start of the 100-Day Offensive, the campaign that finally ended this four year conflict.  Our entire bus had a photo together in our formal attire before leaving the hotel – as seen below.

Picture for RBL article

Once we were assembled ready to march – Ben with the other standard bearers and me with the wreath layers – a voice sounded over the loudspeaker:

‘Two miles down the road behind where you stand is Ypres railway station.  In the period of 1914-1918, half a million men from Britain and the Commonwealth got off those trains and marched down this road and they followed the route along the Menin Road to Passchendaele.  Today you are recreating that.’

As we marched, it did truly feel as though we were part of an historic event.  We both felt immense pride carrying the standard and wreath for Manaton.  We thought of the men on our own memorial in Manaton, and even though we were there because of terrible things that had happened, it felt a very positive thing to have brought the thoughts of the people of Manaton back to where so many had fallen.

Ben and Felicia taking part in the march through Ypres

Std bearers

 

Wreath layers

The bells ring again!

At 2.10 pm on Wednesday 29th August, the bells of St Andrew’s were heard for the first time for very many months.  And the following day, a change was rung with a privileged group of visitors witnessing the bellringers at work in the ringing chamber.  The pictures below show the refurbished bells being delivered back to the church by the Loughborough foundry of John Taylor & Co., before being reinstalled in a brand-new bell frame in the tower.

Though this represented a major milestone, there remains much work yet to be done.  Nevertheless, it can perhaps be said that THE END IS IN SIGHT!  Our congratulations to Neil and several others who worked with him in this massive, and potentially dangerous, task – while we give thanks to God that no injuries have been sustained beyond a damaged finger.

The matter of funding is still very much a live issue, and events and initiatives will continue to take place until the total sum is raised.  For this, see the update from The Friends of St Andrew’s below the photographs.

 

 

 

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THE COST of this whole operation is in the region of £50,000.  So far, the Friends of St Andrew’s have been able to promise £12,630 which includes a sizeable donation from the Sanctuary Lodge when they closed the Moreton Masonic Lodge.  A £10,000 grant was received by the PCC, but more funds are still required.

You may donate using the Friends’ fundraising page on virginmoneygiving.com – just search for fosta.  Using this enables us to claim Gift Aid on donations  where UK tax may be reclaimed.  Donations may also be placed in a sealed envelope for the attention of Julia Mockett (Treasurer of the Friends) and left at Moreton Information Centre.  Please include a note of your name and postcode, and agreement for us to claim Gift Aid if you are a UK tax-payer as this will add an extra 25% to your donation.

For further information on the details of this operation, please contact Joe Scaife or Dave Forrest who have been working on this tirelessly.  You may send them a message from the Contact form on this website.

St Andrew’s War Memorial now Listed

The following letter was received in June from the Listing Co-ordinator of Historic England:

War memorial west of the Church of St Andrew, Moretonhampstead, Devon – Awarded Listed Building Status.  List Entry Number: 1457158

P1030262P1030263 As you will know from our earlier letters, we have been considering adding the above memorial to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

We have taken into account all the representations made, and completed our assessment of the memorial. I am writing to inform you that having considered our recommendation, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has decided to add War memorial west of St Andrew’s Church to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The memorial is now listed at Grade II.

Please follow the link below to download a copy of our advice report, which gives the principal reasons for this decision. The List entry for this building, together with a map, has now been published on the National Heritage List for England. This List can be accessed here.

Listing helps us to mark a building’s significance and celebrate its special architectural and historic interest. It brings specific protection so that its special interest can be properly considered in managing its future. Listing does not mean, however, that no alterations can be made – in fact in the vast majority of cases applications to make changes to a listed building are approved. Further information about listed buildings can be found on the ‘Your Home’ pages of our website.

The local planning authority will now be preparing the statutory notices required under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

The rest of this letter concerns purely administrative matters, but the full text may be obtained from the editors of IN TOUCH – or use the CONTACT button on the website menu.

The Communion Wine at St Andrew’s

Commn wine picture

St Andrew’s has, for some time, been supplied with Communion wine by the Stellar Winery in South Africa.  Stellar is a fairtrade organisation — its workforce benefits directly from sales of fairly traded wine and grapes, while the linked Stellar Foundation manages development projects designed to improve the quality of workers’ lives and benefit surrounding communities.  The Winery prides itself on a product which is:

  • Made from organically-grown grapes
  • Ethically produced
  • Fairly traded

But the Stella Winery is more than just an organic wine producer.  Ever since the cellar was founded in 2000, they’ve been refining their ideas on how to create a healthy business that is environmentally, socially and ethically responsible.  Their aim is to make a significant difference to the part of South Africa in which it is located.

For instance, the Stellar Foundation has funded a much-needed pair of spectacles for Hailey, a Grade 12 pupil from a nearby village.  She was just about to start her exams when her original spectacles broke.  She is from a very poor family who would struggle to afford a new pair.  Hailey went on to pass her exams as one of the top pupils in her class.  Stories like this could be multiplied.

So, when you are next at the Communion rail in a service at St Andrew’s, you can give thanks for what the Stellar Winery and the Stellar Foundation are doing to improve the lives of people in South Africa.

Messy Church – in the Parish Hall, Moretonhampstead

Messy Church in 2018

The final Messy Church in 2018 is on Tuesday 4th December at 3.30 pm in the Parish Hall.  Come and join us for a song, a story, a prayer and of course Craft Time!  Not forgetting the meal we shall share before we go home at 5.30 pm.  All too good to miss!  If you haven’t been before, you will be sure of a warm welcome.

For further details, please use the CONTACT form on this website.

Welcome to all visitors

To all visitors and holidaymakers who find themselves in Moretonhampstead at this beautiful time of year, we offer a very warm welcome. Please feel free to visit our parish church dedicated to St Andrew and to join in our worship at any of the services taking place during your stay here. You will find great warmth and a friendly welcome.
For details of all services not only in St Andrew’s but also in all churches in our benefice, please visit our website at: moretonhampsteadparishchurch.org. We look forward to seeing you!

Light a Candle

Those of you who visit churches whilst on holiday or travelling will have often seen Votive Candle Stands where you may light and leave a candle as a living sign of a prayer, to cherish the memory of a loved one, to give thanks, or merely to contemplate where you are in the grand scheme of life.
There is now such an opportunity in your parish church of St Andrew; it can be found in the Lady Chapel, near the small altar on the right hand side of the Nave.
It is available for our community and visitors alike, including all who have no specific commitment to the Christian faith.  If you wish, you may leave a small donation but it is by no means necessary or expected.
Each year a charity will be chosen and the whole of that year’s donations will be made to it.
For the current year it is the Amos Trust (amostrust.org).