Littlehempston’s Amazing Space Project has won a £6,000 NatWest Community Award. Well done, everyone, for roping in friends and family from far and wide to support the bid. We got an astonishing 362 votes in the end and came in second just behind Swim Torquay Ltd (363 votes) and ahead of Dartmoor Search and Rescue (264 votes). Well done to the other winners, who also receive £6,000. This is a splendid achievement, given that we were up against 44 other projects. And the money will be put to very good use in making the church warm and comfortable. Thank you NatWest and all those who voted for us!
A grand time was had by all at the family fireworks event, organised by the Dartington Playgroup. Over 150 people thronged the field below the church to enjoy a gentle display and good food. The playgroup lost their premises in Dartington and are looking forward to relocating to Littlehempston, once building work at the church is complete. Chairperson, Nia McCallum, said “The children all had a fantastic time and the unexpectedly high turnout bodes well for the future of the Playgroup at the Church.” The event raised a welcome £86.75 for the Space Project.
Sadly at the beginning of November, the Tally Ho closed its doors till further notice. It’s not clear at the moment whether it will reopen again, but no doubt much is happening behind the scenes to try and secure the pub’s future. This valuable village amenity has been on this site for over 150 years, so it would be a great pity to lose it now. There’s been a proposal that this should be discussed in the Public Forum at the next Parish Council meeting, as this seems an appropriate place to discuss an issue that is so important to village life. If you are interested and want to show support, come along on Wednesday December 7th at 7.30pm. Venue still to be confirmed.
At the beginning of November, work at last got underway to adapt the church, so that it can be used for community activities. The first step has been to conduct an archaeological survey to make sure that the works will not disturb any important archaeological features or burials. The church certainly looks quite different at the moment, but by next Easter, if all goes to plan, everything will be back in place and we’ll have a warm and useful space again.
You can see for yourself what’s been done so far by looking at the photos in the Gallery. First building contractors, StoneCo Ltd., carefully wrapped our fine concert-quality organ to protect it against dust. The pews were removed and stored in the chancel. Archaeologist, Mike Webber, then started to survey the area uncovered, with a little help with the more straightforward tasks from local people. He also gave villagers a brief presentation on how the survey was progressing. Nothing so far has been uncovered that should hold up work on installing the underfloor heating. Large holes were also dug outside the church to check that work on drains and access to the new toilet can go ahead. Once the archaeological report has been completed and approved by the Diocesan Archaeologist, building work will start.
The fundraising team has also been busy. This month, donations of £2,000 from the Co-Operative Community Fund, £3,000 from the Devon Historic Churches Fund and £6,000 from NatWest helped push us closer to the total of £106,000 needed to complete the first two phases of project. So far, £43,600 has been raised and there are more grant applications in the pipeline.