Children’s activities launched in Space

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On Friday September 29th a new children’s activity group is setting up in the Community Space in Littlehempston Church.  It’ll run every fortnight for a couple of hours on a Friday (to enable end of week adult catch-ups in the Tally) and for the moment will start at 5.30pm. If this time doesn’t prove popular, it can be changed. Jason Winser, who comes with excellent references from his work with the successful Staverton and Landscove groups, comes with loads of ideas for indoor and outdoor activities – it will be up to the children to choose. Donations of indoor games for the winter months are welcome and we now have a table tennis table. Each session will cost £1 per head to cover the cost of snacks.

This is a pilot that will run till Christmas, funded by money raised by the Community Space and Village Lottery. One of the main aims is to give our local children the opportunity to get together – we have lots of new families in the village now, but who go to lots of different schools. The size of the group has to be limited to 14, so for the moment only Littlehempston children can come along.

There’ll be an opportunity to meet Jason the week before, when children of all ages are welcome to a film showing of Paper Planes on Friday September 22nd starting at 6.30pm. Entrance is £1 and will include a drink and a snack (probably hot dog). Rev Nicholas Pearkes makes a welcome return as projectionist – cushions provided, but bring your own bean bag if you fancy and a rug if it’s cold. This is a feel-good movie and one that will leave you wanting to make paper planes!  Jason will be on hand to answer any queries. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch.

Wild about Littlehempston

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Lots of reports coming in about local wildlife – Chris Bone reports that the dipper is back under the village bridge, Jenny Galton Fenzi has got 4 baby slow-worms hatched in her garden – though one youngster now has teeth marks, possibly from a shrew. Val Hoare snapped this lovely pic of a shrew running across her drive. Jill Todd reports that they have a family of shrews living in a former rat hole that clamber up into the flower pots to get bits below the bird table.

And the annual moth-trapping event in July took place in an orchard in the village centre under the guidance of Rik Fox of Butterfly Conservation and local wildlife expert Terry Underhill. Three light traps were set and, though the weaher was not ideal, 45 different moths were trapped and identified, before being released again. Here’s the species list. Everyone was impressed by Rik’s expertise in identifying the small moths flying around the traps in the dark. A donation of £25 was collected for Butterfly Conservation. Moth trapping is said to be the fastest growing hobby in the UK – recommended to anyone who has room in the garden for a light trap and is interested in finding out more about these beautiful fascinating creatures. It is too late to start this year, but next year beckons! Equipment and literature can be obtained from NHBS on the Totnes Insustrial Estate. (Once the London-based Natural History Book Service, NHBS is now based locally and offers the world’s largest selection of wildlife, science and conservation books plus a range of ecology and biodiversity survey equipment).

Finally a couple of pleas. Lots of Chinese lanterns were recently found lying in the orchard where the moth trapping took place. The RSPCA have campaigned against their use, (more info here) as they pose a threat to animals as they can cause injury, suffering, and death, through ingestion, entanglement and entrapment, and are a potential fire hazard. And if you’re planning a firework display to celebrate, for example, a birthday, it would be really good if you could give advance warning to neighbours around you in case there are any pets or animals likely to go berserk when the bangs start. This would be much appreciated. And don’t forget that rockets can be a fire hazard to thatched roofs!

A plaque to remember Colin

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Colin Platt, who died a couple of years ago, made a huge contribution to village life. A collection is now being made for a plaque in the church, remembering him and reminding people of his contribution to our church and village. Donations are gratefully accepted: please send them to the PCC Treasurer, James Dunn, at 2 Church Cottages, Littlehempston.

Here’s a piece from the Parish News written by Liz Miller:

“Claire Donovan, Colin Platt’s widow, recently came back to the village, and we were all so delighted to see her. She and Colin contributed so much to the church and village. Some newer inhabitants might not be aware of how much. The church used to be very cold at times, and if the weather was windy, the curtains over the door would billow out. We needed work to make it warm and dry, but it was going to cost a lot. Nicholas Pearkes, our Rector, had the brilliant idea that the church could be converted in such a way that it could be used as a village hall.

This is really where Colin came into his own. He had the knowledge and sensitivity to see how the conversion could be done. He and Derek Goult and Nicholas applied for grants wherever they could, and eventually the work could begin. While the church was closed, we used Colin and Claire’s barn, and their beautiful house for meetings. What the church is like now is the result of all the hard work, care and – yes love – that went into it from Colin.”

The photo shows Colin (on the left with Nicholas looking on), a renowned professor of medieval history and well known in the world of archaeology, surveying what lies below the church. He was half hoping that he would find something amazing but half hoping he wouldn’t, as this would have delayed progress.