Olympic Success at Littlehempston Fete

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Gold medals to all involved in the village fete!  The sun did its bit by emerging a few days beforehand and bathing the hundreds who came along in unaccustomed warmth and light to enjoy a wide variety of stalls and activities. A grand time was had by all with a frequent comment being: “This is a proper traditional village fete.” Much of this friendly atmosphere was created by the army of volunteers who turned out to help, supported by a team of NatWest helpers.

This year, the fete went “Olympic” with football, fencing demonstrated by the Newton Abbot & Totnes Club, horse riding with the local Pony School, a manic tug of war and a massively popular series of traditional children’s races. 40 gold (and chocolate) medals were awarded on the Hay Bale podium to a background of inspiring music from the PA and proud smiles from the parents. Each first place winner was crowned with an ivy wreath, cunningly crafted by the amazing Flower Power Pair, Jane and Mark Eyers. Awards were made by Lawrence Joiner, who was surprised to find himself on the podium to receive the biggest medal of all for his services to the Fete over the years.

The “Crown Making” activity was a new and most welcome activity this year: the evening was graced with both children and adults looking very elegant and summery in their floral wreaths, some enhanced with dramatic face painting. Myra’s Maids, the barbecue and hot dog team worked hard to keep everyone well fed and the bar team matched the effort with fine ales and Pimms (another new success). This year, the bar was run by volunteers with help and advice from the Pig & Whistle.  The take from raffle, admissions, bar and food was well up this year and the fete made an amazing £3,300. £100 has been donated to Rowcroft Hospice – Trefor Jones who ran the PA kindly donated his fee to this charity. Another £200 was donated to Berry Pomeroy School, who delighted everyone with their Maypole Dancing. A further £2,000 is being donated to the Littlehempston Community Space Project for the installation of additional heating, so all can be warm this winter when attending activities and services. If you’d like a detailed breakdown of this year’s Fete finances, please contact us.

The Fete Team would like to say a big thank you to all involved in making this event so happy and successful. Most people have been thanked, but if you snuck in on the night to help and did not get your appreciation, here it is now. Thank you! And a big round of applause for all the hard work of the Fete Team.

There will be an open meeting in September to which you are most welcome to come along and give feedback. And if you’d like to find out more about helping the Fete team, just get in touch. The more the merrier!

And there are lots more photos in the gallery.

Three Cheers for Cinema Night!

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The village’s new community space proved its versaility once again, this time with a film night organised by the Rev Nicholas Pearkes, who showed “The Titfield Thunderbolt”, accompanied by helpful comments such as “the next bit is REALLY good”. The aisles were packed to watch this Ealing comedy (the first to be made in colour), all about a small community struggling against the odds to save its branch line from Beeching’s cuts. There was much resonance with what our village has been up to lately – the evening was rounded off in true spirit with a rousing 3 cheers for the Rector led by Corinne Joiner. The first of many enjoyable Cinema Nights, we hope.

Community Space Team Shapes Up

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The first meeting of the new Community Space Team took place in mid July. The old team was a mix of PCC members and local people and was responsible for the building works. The new team will  be responsible for running the Community Space and operate under the umbrella of the PCC at least for the time being, thus benefitting from existing charitable status, insurance etc. Within this structure, the Space Team will be a separate entity from the PCC with its own constitution and accounts, though obviously working closely with the PCC. Everybody is welcome to join the Team to help get even more good things going! Or let us know what you’d like to see happen. For more information, contact the Community Space Team.

Totnes gets a little closer to Littlehempston

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Littlehempston Parish Council agreed to support the proposed Littlehempston to Totnes cycle/footpath using the South Devon Railway’s footbridge over the Dart at their July meeting.  That decision followed an analysis by Councillor Mark Eyers of 45 letters which had been received from parishoners in the last six months, and of Littlehempston electors that had signed the online petition on the cyclepath website.  You can find out more details on the Parish Council page, and in the minutes of the July meeting.  You can also download Devon County Council’s summary of the possible routes and their feasibility study from the Parish Council page.

On the following Saturday, 14th July, over 100 cyclists set off from the Pig and Whistle on the Big Bike Ride. They rode along the A381 to Borough Park in Totnes to demonstrate their support for a safer cycling and walking route between Totnes and all the villages to the north.  They were joined by Totnes MP Sarah Wollaston and her husband on their tandem, and several local councillors.  A tractor at the front of the group, a van at the rear, and marshalls in high visibility jackets, both cycling and manning danger points, all helped to ensure that the ride went smoothly and safely.  Sarah Wollaston addressed the riders in Borough Park before they got back on their bikes for the return journey.

The Big Bike Ride

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Would you like to walk or cycle safely from Littlehempston to Totnes? If the answer’s yes, then you might like to join the Big Bike Ride to be held on Saturday 14th July.  This campaign ride is aimed at highlighting how dangerous it is to cycle along the A381 and is organised by the Littlehempston Cycle Path Team.

Campaigners argue that providing a safe alternative approach into Totnes will not only allow villagers to access their local town without relying on the car, but will also provide a fantastic recreational route for cyclists, walkers and runners, whether local residents or tourists – with obvious benefits to local businesses, including some struggling village pubs. The project has the support of local MPs and councillors and a petition has been signed by over 800 people.

Cyclists will meet at 10am at the Pig and Whistle and cycle with motorised escort to Borough Park in Totnes and back. This will take around 2 hours in all. The route has been agreed with the police and local council and there will be lots of marshalls and stewards to keep everyone safe.  More information at

A Showcase for Talent

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What a talented bunch of people live in this area! At the Hand-Made in the Hems Craft and Produce Fair, the Community Space was packed with 20 stalls, offering a huge variety of goods – have a look at the gallery to get some idea of what was on offer. A huge thank you to all those who worked so hard to make this such a successful event. Those contributing were most generous in donating some or all of their takings and lots of people stepped forward to help with refreshments (more yummy cakes) and to clear up. Amazingly at the end of the day, the Community Space was transformed from Craft Fair to Church Service mode in less than 45 minutes. All taking part were so enthusiastic that nearly everybody wants to come back for a Christmas Craft Market in early November.  Over £700 was raised towards the upgrade to the heating, so with a bit of luck, we’ll be nice and warm when buying our Christmas presents later this year!

Longest Day Supper

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An impromptu event to mark the longest day and also to test run the Community Space for communal meals turned into a veritable feast with lashings of delicious food from exotic curries to puddings to die for. There’s obviously an interest in good food in the village, so prepare for lots more communal meals to come. One villager has suggested a community “cooky-club”. If you’re interested, get in touch.

Peggie’s Coffee Morning

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Despite a last minute injury worthy of a European Cup footballer, Peggie Upham pulled off yet another splendid event in support of the Lymphoedema Clinic at Rowcroft Hospice – with a little help from her friends and family, of course. On June 16th, the new Community Space was packed with stalls and the whole village and more seemed to be there. Laura Cameron from Rowcroft thanked everyone for their efforts – a grand total of £800 was raised to buy a dressing trolley. Well done, Peggie!