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Clayhidon Parish hall archive 2011


Busy autumn raises nearly £2,000

We’ve had a very busy autumn season at the Parish Hall with one event following another at dizzying speed – quite a challenge for the industrious band of hall volunteers who work hard to host events.
It has however been very satisfying because the gigs, quiz & shows have been of excellent quality and most enjoyable; but they have also earned a substantial sum of money, not far off £2K, which is being used to continue improvements at the hall. No wonder we are all feeling a little tired – roll on Carols by Candlelight which Clayhidon Friends will host!

Thunderous applause for Growling Old Men
The season started at the end of September with our first free-lance gig, the Trans-Atlantic band The Growling Old Men. Because of the brilliant reputation of banjoist Leon Hunt who has played here twice before people knew they were in for a rare musical treat & booked early so tickets sold out a month in advance! Our confident anticipation was well rewarded. 

The American contingent, John Lowell and Ben Winship, had the most beautiful voices (some likened them to James Taylor & John Denver) and were also respectively very accomplished guitar and mandolin players. The quartet was completed by UK guitarist Dom Harrison, another very talented musician. 

Thunderous applause followed by several encores signified the audience appreciation of the gig; it was also a real pleasure to hear back from Leon that the Americans thought that Clayhidon gig was the most friendly and enjoyable of their whole UK tour – so much so that they are keen to return!

Breathtaking pictures
The next event was in October - the V in A sponsored multi-media show Jurassic Journey presented by Ben Osborne. 

The breath-taking beauty of Ben’s photography, projected onto an enormous screen that completely filled the stage, was quite staggering. Coupled with a Ben’s hugely informed commentary on the formation and evolution of the coastal area, specially composed & beautifully played music and poetry at times profoundly moving and at times hilarious, this made for a most inspiring show. 

If you missed the show you may be interested to catch up by visiting one of the Jurassic Journey exhibitions that will be touring next spring. The nearest venues will be at Stockland and Sidmouth; you can get details from the V in A website .

Quiz success
Later in October came our Quiz Night, master-minded again by the amiable but challenging Peter Walter. The keen yet good-natured competition between the 10 teams that entered resulted in a well-deserved win for the Smith & Saunders team; but it’s safe to say that everyone else had a really good time too!

World music comes to Clayhidon
Our last big event on 11/11/11 was another Villages in Action show – Doudou Cissoko: Ancient Strings & Fabulous Things – our first world music event. This attracted a near capacity audience which included familiar faces but also drew in some “new blood”. 

Doudou, a Senegalese kora player, Alicia (Welsh in origin) who played a vast array of interesting African percussion instruments and Ule, from Norway, a highly accomplished guitarist who also played an African lyre and a curious South American mandolin made from the shell of an armadillo, combined forces to present a very special concert. 

It got most people jiggling in their seats, some dancing and, by the end of the evening, everyone standing up to clap, dance and sing altogether (and that included an 87yr old grandfather!) It was a rare privilege to hear this wonderful music from such diverse musical traditions right here in rural Mid Devon.

Join the fight for Villages in Action
Yet again we have the Villages in Action rural touring arts scheme to thank for these performances – our Parish Hall would be a much less exciting and lively place without these rare and special treats. The events have breathed new life into our hall and have brought together people who would not otherwise have met - we have all been enriched. 

Funding for this service is again under threat so if you can spare the time, please write to you Mid Devon District Councillor, Frank Rosamond email: and your County Councillor, Ray Radford – email: to express your appreciation of the service and to urge them to fight on our behalf to maintain funding.

These shows draw in audiences from the whole Upper Culm Valley who would have little access to such high quality live entertainment otherwise.

On a more mercenary note you can quote the fact that in this year alone the four V in A events that we were allocated: 2 plays, the multimedia show and the last gig, have helped us to raise in excess of £2K. This has helped to fund the kitchen improvements and redecoration, insulation of the hall and the forthcoming insulation and decoration of the gents’ loos and the hall’s back corridor. 
Volunteers! Watch this space – there is another self-help painting project in the offing!

Carols by Candlelight
Lastly for this year – and thankfully put on by those wonderful Clayhidon Friends:
Carols by Candlelight on Thursday 8th December – this is sure to be another delightful festive celebration with the usual hospitality that gives the Friends such a good name!

Plans for the Spring Season:
Friday March 23rd – concert with The Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys
This local band also headlined at the Cornish Bluegrass Festival and we know that they have a big following. Recently a group of us also went to see them top the bill at a concert at the Tacchi Morris Theatre in Taunton. 

We were most impressed both by their excellent musicianship and their great good humour so we think that this gig promises to be another great show – already tickets are being reserved although I haven’t yet got round to printing them! 
So see the advert & don’t delay in reserving your tickets – we would hate it if local folk were to miss out by being tardy.

You can email me on or phone: 01823 680 347

Another Quiz in March – date to be confirmed

Your new-look hall
By the time the Pump goes to press we will have completed two renovation projects at the Hall. The first job, repair to the car park wall damaged by the combination of aging mortar, tree roots, water ingress and severe frost, was undertaken by Redwoods the Builders. 
The second project, repainting the kitchen and
ladies loos, was completed by a team of cheerful volunteers under the calm yet knowledgeable supervision of Brian Wheaton; Margaret was also there providing refreshments on demand - this kept everyone well motivated and on-task! We are truly grateful for the commitment of both of them.

Special offer on badminton
To encourage more use of the badminton facilities and to make it more affordable for
families and folk who would like to play regularly, the committee decided to offer
Special Deal Season Tickets of three months duration for only £30 with unlimited
sessions of 1½ hrs duration for the ticket holder & playing partner. 
This, of course, would 
be subject to availability which should be checked with the booking clerk, Caroline Bendle; Tel: 01823 681047. If the demand proved to be very great, sessions may have to be rationed in some way but we will cross that bridge when we come to it!

Spring 2011 at the parish hall

The hall hosted many events apart from the regular sessions in March & April, several of them being good fund raisers as well as good fun. From the monies raised we have been able to accomplish a long outstanding job – the lowering & insulating of the kitchen ceiling - a great development which will lower heating costs & improve working conditions.

Repair of Carpark Wall: Work will start shortly to rebuild the collapsed wall in the carpark & to re-point other vulnerable sections of wall. 


March & April Events:

The Quiz on March 11, with quizmaster Peter Walter, was again very popular with 12 lively teams taking part. The Cider-drinkers won by a short head – Julian, Alex, Bee & their secret weapon, Margaret Blackmore – maybe the only member of the team to be sober by the end of the evening!

Delicious refreshments were on offer (made by the hall committee) & a really successful raffle run by Doreen helped raise £222 for Hall Funds. 
We are hoping to run another Quiz Night in the autumn – Peter is being approached!

Kevin Tomlinson & Abi Hood with the improvised theatre show “On the Edge” 6th April - another Villages in Action event:

Following last year’s sell-out performance of the 7 Ages of Man we had another uproarious show from Kevin & Abi that enlivened and charmed our large audience. Wittily chatting to us put us all at ease, Kevin soon drew out cascades of rollicking laughter from the audience by portraying the thoughts and feelings of young woman about to give birth – the beginning of the company’s exploration of other scenarios in which we are “on the edge” of life defining personal events.

Audience suggestions were always forthcoming, as well as brave on-stage audience participation from Susie & Richard who volunteered to join in a scene in which they shared their respective memories of the course of their courtship; warmly elicited & very funny!

I will always remember a lovely sketch when lonely Abi encountered a talking duck in Hyde Park on Valentine’s Day; tender, hilarious yet almost believable! The audience departed grinning from ear to ear, with the general agreement that it had been a real “feel good” show. Refreshing improvised theatre from young, imaginative yet masterful performers – another V in A triumph!

We had excellent support too from the numerous volunteers who provided refreshments, served drinks and worked hard to host a successful evening that raised £426 for Hall Funds.

P.S Just to share their little secret – Kevin & Abi are soon to be married – we send them our love & best wishes!

Royal Wedding Teaparty at the Hall – Clayhidon celebrated in style on Saturday 30th April at the Friends of St Andrew’s hugely successful Royal Wedding street party attended by people of all ages from the parish.  Click to see pictures


Cancer Research UK – Coffee Morning & Cream Tea – the indomitable Pam Reynolds and her worthy team of helpers held another fund-raising event on Saturday on behalf of this excellent charity at which around £400 was raised. Well done to all involved!

A reminder to Walkers: Following the recent surveying of the Parish Footpaths, which were generally found to be in good order (there are a few exceptions that will require remedial work), we would like to remind everyone that there is a detailed map of all Clayhidon Footpaths on the front north-side wall of the hall porch just outside the kitchen. Those wanting to do circular walks from the hall are welcome to use the car park.



Bee Hill

MARCH 2011
Oh Mary - you were brilliant
“Oh Mary” was a solo performance in the Parish Hall  from the astonishingly talented Bec Applebee of the Kneehigh Theatre, through Villages in Action.  Playing to a full house, Bec vividly portrayed the life and times of 18th century Mary Bryant, a Cornish woman convicted of theft and transported to Botany Bay in Australia.

We’ve had hugely positive feedback from a very appreciative audience but I’d like to quote just one here, from Michelle Ridings of Hemyock, herself a director, performer and facilitator of theatre arts: “She (Bec) is a deeply engaging performer who had me laughing at Mary’s “awful crime” of stealing a bonnet by brute force & impressed by her resilience of spirit during the ordeal of transportation. So forceful was her portrayal of Mary giving birth amongst the stink onboard the ship that I was nearly feeling the birth pangs myself....and then (was) crying with her on the death of her family.

“All too often the courageous stories of what is a woman’s life/fate remain untold by 'History'. I felt this performance did Mary Bryant’s memory proud! The music was eloquent and beautiful too. And I loved the mop dance! We sailed and rowed around the world with Mary Bryant, experienced her anguish & her joy (the image of Mary dancing with her lover, portrayed by a mop, is unforgettable) and we were moved by her contrition and subsequent pardoning. Such was Bec’s consummate artistry; this was truly a tour de force performance!"  

The sell-out show raised around £500 for hall funds which will enable us to pay for the next big project – the lowering and insulation of the kitchen ceiling; this we hope will reduce problems of cold & damp and make life much more comfortable for those working in the kitchen. So big thanks go to all who contributed to the success of the evening by baking & serving the refreshments, contributing to the raffle, setting up the hall and, of course, to the great audience that supported the event.

A reminder to walkers
Following the recent surveying of the Parish Footpaths, which were generally found to be in good order (there are a few exceptions that will require remedial work), we would like to remind everyone that there is a detailed map of all Clayhidon Footpaths on the front north-side wall of the hall porch just outside the kitchen. Those wanting to do circular walks from the hall are welcome to use the car park.

Sitting comfortably 
We have had lots of really positive feedback about the comfort of the new hall chairs, “no wriggling during the show”, “no need to bring a spare cushion” and “no more aches and pains even after a long performance”. So thank you once again to all those who so generously responded to the Chair Appeal – the proof of the comfort is in the sitting and it is found to be GOOD!