From little seedlings…

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Littlehempston is the latest parish in the South Hams to benefit from a living gift to celebrate the 140th Anniversary (1873-2013) of Luscombe Maye. The local estate agency offered an oak tree to each of the parishes in the area, reflecting the company’s oak leaf logo. 34 trees have now been planted and are hopefully thriving in the perfect spring weather we’ve had recently, with both sun and rain! Littlehempston’s has been planted alongside the bridge that carries the public footpath below the Church, where it crosses the land of Colin and Claire Platt.

Staff from all six of Luscombe Maye’s strategically located offices in Totnes, South Brent, Kingsbridge, Modbury, Yealmpton and Newton Ferrers were involved, braving howling winds, dense fog and lashing rain (although a lucky few had beautiful sunny days) to plant oak trees in a variety of lovely locations.

Keeping it local, the trees were ordered from Hill House Nursery in Staverton and many of the trees have been planted in village parks or alongside footpaths – from Salcombe to Holne, Shaugh Prior to Stoke Fleming – while some have provided replacements for older trees. For the parish of Buckfastleigh West, the anniversary tree was proudly planted to provide a successor for old ‘Stumpy’ at Stumpy Oak Cross, and in Totnes a memorial tree in the town cemetery required a replacement which Luscombe Maye was happy to provide. Littlehempston’s replaces an oak that had to be removed during flood repairs last year.

The company was proud to celebrate its 140th anniversary by donating an enduring gift to 36 communities across the South Hams and would like to thank the Parish Councils for providing the opportunity to allow them to celebrate our roots in the community and branch out even further.

Out of Memorium

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On Sunday 29th June, Littlehempston is privileged to host a very special event to commemorate the centenary of the Great War. This is an early warning as tickets will disappear fast. Local author and playwright, Valerie Belsey, has written Out of Memorium as a tribute to all those who did and didn’t come back from the Great War, and in particular those from the village of Littlehempston.

Six members of the parish died out of the 32 village men who signed up – one who did survive was Harry Barter, who at 6ft 8ins was the tallest soldier in the British Army. The play is directed by Jane Sandoz of the Totnes Youth Theatre and is performed by young TYT members with music from members of the Plymouth Military Wives Choir and folk singer, Jim Causley. One song is entitled, “It’s a Long Way to Littlehempston”. Amongst the young actors and actresses from TYT is Nia Collard Baker, granddaughter of Lindy Collard-Baker, who lives in the village.

Valerie said the play also tells the story of how every place in the country, however small, was affected. Farming patterns changed, people’s eating habits, women’s roles and families changed, the class structure and attitudes to empire were changed and warfare became mechanised. She commented “This was the war that led directly to the formation of the society we live in today.”

Tickets can be bought at the Totnes Information Centre or by phoning 01803 866916.

A Fine Start to Spring

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Perhaps the weather hasn’t always been sunny recently, but it did shine on the evening of the bring and share Spring Supper held on May 9th in the church.

The wine and chat flowed amidst the candle-lit tables, the selection of food was plentiful and delicious and the raffle produced lots of happy winners. A grand total of £320 was also raised – what a tasty way to support the church and Community Space.

The following morning the pleasure continued with a wildflower walk led by Jenny Galton-Fenzi. A surprising variety of wildflowers revealed themselves amongst the roadside verges and hedges – Cat’s Ear, Bastard Balm, Alexanders, Jack by the Hedge and Wild Cabbage were just a few spotted.

After pointing out where the prints of an otter had been spotted at the Triangle Bridge near where she had found a dead salmon, Jenny then warned against touching the poisonous Hemlock Water Dropwort (pictured right) growing there. The walk finished with hot chocolate at the Tally Ho. Thanks Jenny!

Community Space Celebrates a Second Successful Year

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It’s been a busy and successful year for the Littlehempston Community Space. Those attending the second Annual Meeting heard that a wide range of events and activities had raised £8,790 since May 2013, which had paid for all the fuel bills and cleaning, as well as helping pay off the loan taken out to pay for the adaptation of the church. Improvements have included new wall heaters and a safety fence in the churchyard put up by John Todd, and funds have been raised towards the construction of an inner porch, which will cut down on draughts. Work should start shortly.

Thanks were given at the meeting to all those who had helped organise events and to both the Littlehempston Fete Committee and Ken Wood of the Village Lottery who had made generous donations. Thanks was also given to Jenny Galton-Fenzi who maintains the much appreciated Local History archive in the Lady Chapel and has also created the lovely display, showing the amazing range of wildlife that inhabits the churchyard. Thanks were also given to John Floyd who made the display board.A slide show featuring the year’s highlights also included many of the brilliant posters designed by Neil Kelly.

Many of the aims put forward last year had been at least partially achieved, but more still needed to be done, in particular, developing more activities for our younger villagers, increasing the number of hirings and improving energy efficiency. However the Space Team can’t manage to do anymore unless others offer to help with the myriad little jobs needed to keep the Space up and running. If you can volunteer a little time now and then, please get in touch with them. The Team will also give full support to anybody who would like to start a new activity or run a one-off event.

A full Annual report and Financial Summary for May 2013 to April 2014 can be found here.

A Grand Opening for the Tally Ho

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There was a delighted buzz and standing room only on Saturday 26th April at the Grand Opening of the Tally Ho, Littlehempston – South Devon’s first community pub. The Totnes Band got celebrations off to a merry start and then the crowds braved the rain for a mass photo outside. Back in the warm, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP declared the Tally officially open and spoke warmly of the immense community effort that had gone into saving this lovely old pub from closure. Glasses were then raised to the Tally’s future.

Mike Thomas, chairman of the co-operative that bought the Tally, commented that the first month since opening had exceeded all expectations and that supporters were helping out by manning the beer pumps, washing up and waiting on tables until more paid staff were recruited! He also thanked all those who had helped make the day such a success by providing music, cake and good cheer. The first month of opening has been well covered in the press, on local radio and was even featured on BBC Spotlight. To see this coverage go to Press Cuttings on the pub’s website, where you’ll also find lots more information.

Bargains Galore at the Barn

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A whopping £547 was raised at the Bargain in the Barn event at the end of April. Happy visitors left clutching their new found treasures (and their stomachs – the cakes were exceptionally good) and there were smiles also from Colin and Claire who now have a barn uncluttered by years of fete and village “leftovers”. It’s not completely clear, so if anybody is interested in a handsome Belfast sink, an oil stove or some tables and chairs from the Tally Ho, get in touch. Hot on the heels of this event came the Grand Opening of the pub, so Jill Todd and Ali Taylor (pictured here) brushed off the barn cobwebs and headed next door to co-ordinate the celebrations. A big thank you to all who helped!

Coffee Morning Success

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Attendance at the monthly coffee mornings had begun to dwindle rather, so Liz Miller, who does such a splendid co-ordinating job, suggested that everybody consider whether they wanted this event to continue. People voted with their feet – April’s coffee morning was very well attended with everybody enjoying the great raffle and the goodies on the Bring and Buy stall. This event raises valuable money for the Church fund as well as being a great way of making friends and keeping in touch. Everybody is made to feel very welcome, so why not drop by on the last Thursday of the month (10am-12noon) and have a look? Liz would welcome more volunteers to help – contact her on 01803 762638.