Ackrells Hill gets lucky again

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After a run of Littlehempston Lottery winners in Gatcombe, it looks like it’s the turn of Ackrells Hill residents to hit the jackpot. Lucky winner, Gordon Stevens, was roused from a nap by a phone call from organiser, Ken Wood, to tell him he’d scooped £128 in the draw on Wednesday April 24th at the Pig & Whistle. Next two balls drawn by Phil the landlord produced a £25 prize for Gordon’s neighbour, Val Hoare (who scooped first prize in January), and a £7 prize for Lucy Morris of Gatcombe. A cheque for £160 was gratefully received by the Littlehempston’s Community Space. The aim of this lottery is to support village events and improvements to the Community Space, so if you haven’t already joined in, why not have a flutter and at the same time support the community? Go to Littlehempston Lottery to find out more.

Zumba’s out, but Salsa’s in !

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Sadly the Zumba class has closed, as there weren’t quite enough regulars to cover the costs.  However the Latin American beat could continue to waft from the Community Space on a Monday evening, if enough people want to learn Salsa. There’ll be a couple of trial classes on Monday 6th May and Monday 3rd June at 6.30pm. It’s a chance to learn the basic steps leading you into a short choreography which will enable you to dance at a Cuban Salsa Fiesta. The tutors are Alexandra Williams, our Zumba teacher, and her partner, Francisco Matias, from Havana. So why not give it a go? You might surprise yourself! Call Alexandra on 01803 863218 or 07747137448 for further information.

Exploring Littlehempston Churchyard

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On Saturday 13th April Jenny Galton-Fenzi led a fascinating walk round LH churchyard. The aim was to use LH History Archive material and local knowledge to give a deeper understanding of how the churchyard developed, and to point out some of the graves of former parishioners. LH burial records begin in Oct 1546, and it is clear that approximately 2000 parishioners are buried in the area of the churchyard, although only a small proportion of these have marked graves. Most people were too poor to afford a stone, and wooden crosses soon disintegrated.

Through photographs and historic remains, we investigated the site of the old lych-gate, church gates, the boundary of the early churchyard and heard about those buried here including Percy Cose, Rev Gower, Ted Farmer, John Reap and Mary Shinner, William Forster, former Rectors Harry Hubery Heap, Fitz Henry Hele, Dunstan Rundle and High Grismond Philips, the Cornishes and the Evans family, Charlie Peters, the Pole-Carews. We reflected on how quiet the village must have been and what a change the arrival of the railway would have brought to the village. Bells were an important means of communication at one time, and had many functions, including sounding the curfew (‘couvre-feu’ – when people had to extinguish their lamps and candles to avoid a night time fire) at night, and announcing deaths of parishioners. Men had nine strokes of the bell, women six and children three.  Hence the saying ‘Nine tailors (tellers) maketh a man.’ Sometimes the age of the deceased was also rung out after a pause.

Inside the church we looked at the two war memorials, the Cornish memorial over the main door and learnt why the floor of the sanctuary is tiled with sea cobbles and why there are certain gaps in the gravestones.  Jenny finished with an update on the Living Churchyard project. The churchyard is cut early and late to allow the astonishing variety of wildflowers and insects to flourish.  An insect log pile has been established to the rear of the yew tree, but needs more logs, if anyone has some to spare!  Efforts were made last year to remove ragwort from the churchyard, as it is poisonous to animals, however it appears to be coming back with a vengeance again.

Jenny concluded by reading the poem ‘Church Going’ by Philip Larkin, and everyone then enjoyed a hot cup of coffee, especially welcome as the weather was very wet! Many thanks, Jenny, for a splendid morning.

For a fuller account of the morning, read Getting to know Littlehempston churchyard in our History section. And if you want to know more about local history or the Living Churchyard project, contact Jenny Galton-Fenzi

Bums on Seats, Aprons on and Hands in the Air for your Community Space

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Littlehempston was once a place with nowhere to meet with a church that risked closure due to dwindling congregations. Last May, after 6 months closure, the church doors re-opened to reveal a Space adapted for community as well as religious use. Since then, lots of us have been entertained, exercised, educated and magnificently fed in a great mix of events and activities. The sensitive adaptation has attracted praise from many quarters and we should be justifiably proud of what the village has achieved.

Everybody is therefore most welcome to come along on Wednesday May 15th at 7pm to help celebrate the first year of the Space, share ideas and help plan the coming year. The small team who organize things will really appreciate your support so let’s have lots of “bums on seats” at this first Annual Meeting. The aim is to have a fun evening so you won’t get your arm twisted, though obviously all offers of help are welcome! Drinks and nibbles provided.

People have been great at suggesting new ways of using the Space and the Rev Nicholas Pearkes has come up with a cracker. On Sunday May 19th, he’s organised an event for local metal detectorists associations, which should prove a good fundraiser. The Space team will provide food all day to raise further funds, SO VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED to cook or supply cakes. If you can bake a cake or spare an hour or two anytime between 8.30am to 10.30am (bacon butties) 11.30am to 2.30pm (bbq hamburgers) or dish up tea and clear up (4 to 5pm), then please contact Jill Todd.

Can you make a promise? A great night is planned for Saturday 25th May, when there’ll be an “Auction of Promises” at the church, starting at 7pm with a glass of wine or hot drink plus delicious finger buffet to get you in the mood for a lively auction.  Local artists, businesses and craftspeople have been approached to provide exciting and fun opportunities for the discerning. The auction will be carried out by a professional and all proceeds will go to the next phase of work on the Space – building an internal porch. Entrance is £5 (inclusive of a drink and food).  Lots of promises have already been made from deer stalking to having your house or pet painted (artistically, that is), so come along, stick your hand up and make a bid. And if you have something you can offer – mowing lawns, beauty therapy, massage, portrait photos, babysitting are some thoughts – then contact James Drummond or phone him on 01803 867111. Any businesses making a promise will have a free link on the web site until the auction is over. This is one not to be missed!

Splendid Spring Supper

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What a treat the Spring Supper was – everyone brought loads of delicious food and enjoyed a sumptious spread over chat and wine. A good time was had by all and £273 was raised towards the extra heating in the church. Many thanks to Lesley who co-ordinated the food so well, to James who organised the raffle and all who helped set up and tidy up afterwards. And of course Neil for yet another eye catching poster.

Parish Council vacancy

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Lindy Collard-Baker has resigned from the Parish Council after 25 years of splendid service, providing calm guidance and lots of work behind the scenes to keep the village ticking over. Notices for a “Casual Vacancy” have been posted on the Parish Council noticeboards – click on the one to the left to see a larger version.

If you’d like there to be an election to fill the vacancy, then write by April 24th 2013 to the Returning Officer at Follaton House, Plymouth Road, Totnes TQ9 5NE. If 10 electors from the parish submit a request, there’ll be an election. If not, the Parish Council will fill the vacancy by co-opting somebody.

The next Parish Council meeting is on Wednesday 1st May at 7.30pm at Littlehempston Church. All are welcome to attend.