Well, we’ve survived 2016 and have another year to look forward to (thank goodness!) Hopefully you enjoyed the Christmas and New Year break and celebrations, and are ready for more Brexit !
As far as the History Group is concerned, we are certainly looking forward to the coming year and our forthcoming Open Meetings. But first I must mention our Christmas Social Evening, which as I said in our last Report could not be reported on at that time because of the earlier date of the Evening and the date of the Magazine going to press. Well, as expected, the songs and humour of our Guest Maggie Duffy and her rapport with her audience was first-class. Our “Marldon” quiz, raffles and of course the mulled wine and mince pies also went down well. Having said that, our Committee was disappointed that our audience was not larger. Our membership is 85 and although 60 tickets were sold, our audience numbered only 30! Looking on the bright side, however, we did gain two new Members and a few non-Member guests on the night.
As mentioned, the Group is looking forward to our programme of Open Meetings in 2017, and I will list them here so that you can make a note on your calendar!
I have mentioned before the increasing difficulty which the Group has (in common with most other similar organisations) in booking Guest Speakers who we have not had before, due to the decreasing number of suitable Speakers generally and their consequent availability. Most Speakers nowadays are booked up for at least 12 months (or even longer) in advance, and in the circumstances I am pleased to be able to say that our Secretary, Derek Hore, has succeeded in booking Speakers for the whole of this year, and our programme is therefore as follows:-
Friday 10th March 2017
“Kents Cavern and the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark”. You may remember the publicity given on TV and in the press last Summer to the UNESCO Conference held at the Riviera Centre in Torquay to an audience of 700 plus UNESCO delegates from all over the world. Our Speaker will be Nick Powe, who is the 5th generation custodian of Kents Cavern and also Chair of the Geopark management organisation. His illustrated talk will cover 400 million years of history, including the “show cave” we see today. Not to be missed !!!
Friday 9th June
“Maritime Shortcuts” is the intriguing title of Colin Vosper’s illustrated talk about Canals, firstly in the West Country and the attempts of Victorian canal builders to build canal routes across the SW peninsular, including the Grand Western and the Bude Canals, and secondly about the world famous Suez and Panama Canals, which this year celebrate the opening of extensive improvements of widening and deepening of these already impressive and world-wide famous waterways. Colin’s illustrated talk will include a stunning 4 minute time-lapse journey through one of them - but which one ? Come along and find out !
Friday 8th September (also our AGM).
“Hairy Hands, Devils and Black Dogs” - We welcome back Paul Rendell, acknowledged expert on all aspects of Dartmoor, to mystify us with this illustrated presentation about the witches, devils, hairy hands and wild animals that are both legends and folklore on our mysterious Dartmoor. This is the closest date we could get to Halloween, so don’t come alone - bring a friend !
Friday 08th December
“Christmas Social” - Details to be confirmed
We are sure you will agree that this is a most promising list of illustrated talks, and we look forward to seeing you at all of them - don’t forget that all our Quarterly Open Meetings are open to Members (admission free) AND non-members (admission £2) and include coffee/tea and biscuits ! We look forward to seeing you in the coming year, and hopefully also those former Members who, for whatever reason, did not renew their membership at our AGM in September. And of course we always welcome new Members - our annual subscription is still only £5, which entitles you to free admission to all our Open Meetings.
As you will have seen from the announcement on page 3 of last month’s Magazine, there has been a change of Editorship of the Magazine, and our Group sends the new Editor, John Arscott, our very best wishes and good luck in his new venture. He can rely on our support. Also (from this month) there is to be a change in the deadline date for items to be included in the Magazine. There will no doubt be a suitable announcement by the new Editor elsewhere in this edition.
The new deadline date means that I cannot tell you about how our March Open Meeting went, but it does mean that I can give you all the details shortly before the event, which means you will have less of an excuse for not joining us on the night!
Our first Open Meeting of 2017 is on FRIDAY MARCH 10 at 7.30pm,and features an illustrated talk about Kents Cavern, one of Devon’s foremost attractions and now a major part of the English Riviera’s UNESCO Global Geopark. The talk will be given by Nick Powe, who is the 5th generation custodian of Kents Cavern, which I am sure you will have heard about, and may also have visited. His talk will cover 400 million years of history, including the “show cave” we see today. But you may not be so aware of the English Riviera Global Geopark, and what it actually is. So this is your opportunity to find out all about the Cavern and the Geopark in the comfort of our own Village Hall. We start at 7.30 pm and admission is free for Members and £2 for non-members. There are posters on all the Village Notice Boards and Members will by now have had a flyer delivered to their door. If you wish to join our Group, the subscription is only £5 per year and admits you to free admission to all our Open Meetings.
Members may recall that the Group has for some time been anxious to find a suitable, permanent and convenient home for our considerable and ever growing Archive. Now, thanks to the generosity of our Village Hall Council, this has been achieved, and a separate space has been created within the Village Hall which is both dry and secure. The Group feels this is the ideal location for such a valuable resource for the Parish, and is indebted and grateful to the Village Hall Council for its support and assistance.
Members may also recall that at recent Open Meetings our Committee’s concerns with regard to the size of our membership and the attendances at our Open Meetings have been expressed, although the Committee is aware of, and appreciates, the reasons for this situation, which has also affected other village groups and organisations, and has in some cases in recent years resulted in the closure of some groups. We would hope that there are many people living in the Parish who have an interest in local history in general and the history of Marldon village and Parish in particular, and we would like to think that they would not hesitate to contact us about any aspect or question they may have about the history of Marldon. May we recommend that you take a look at and browse through our website - marldonhistory.co.uk - which I’m sure you will find interesting and informative.
We look forward to seeing you on March 10th, or perhaps hearing from you. Contact details are on our website. Many thanks.
Our first Open Meeting of the year took place on Friday 10th March, and our illustrated talk was one which a great many of our Members had been looking forward to. The subject was “Kents Cavern and the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark”, and our Guest Speaker was Nick Powe, whose family have been connected with Kents Cavern for five generations.
And what a success the evening was, with Nick’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the Cavern, its discovery, excavation and subsequent development into the attraction it is today, and, even more interestingly, its 400 million years of creation, as the Earth went through the many Ages of change to arrive at the world as we see it today. Nick explained how Kents Cavern and its excavations and discoveries are known throughout the world, and are the reason for its status as a Global Geopark. All of this was illustrated throughout the talk by a continuous slideshow of photographs, diagrams, charts and facts and figures, all shown to great effect via the Village Hall’s recently installed projector and full size screen.
Our audience was, to say the least, very impressed, and many complimentary remarks were made afterwards. So much so that the Group is considering the possibility of an organised tour of the Cavern, to include a cream tea afterwards. Members will be informed of the details as soon as they can be confirmed.
I mentioned in the Group’s Report in the March edition of the Magazine that we had been looking for some time for a suitable permanent home for our ever growing Archive, and that thanks to the generosity of our Village Hall Council, that had been achieved - and within the Village Hall, which our Committee agrees is the ideal location for it. Since then, all of the material comprising our Archive has been moved from it’s home in the Chairman’s garage (!) to it’s new home.
At the moment, our Committee are sorting the material, labelling it as necessary and deciding the best place for it to go (at least for the time being, if not permanently). As anyone who has moved house will know, this process brings to light many items which, although you had not forgotten about them, you just did not know where they were! And so it is with our Archive, the first example being the files of the Marldon Millennium Group, which was formed in 1999 on the initiative of the Parish Council (but was not part of it) to encourage, promote and itself organise various events to commemorate and celebrate the Millennium. Many very successful events took place including the revival of the “Beating the Bounds” walk, the production of the Parish Map, a “Millennium” exhibition in the Village Hall, mass plantings of daffodils at various locations in the Parish, New Year’s Eve parties at both ends of 2000, the installation of Parish boundary “marker” stones and plaques on the four geographical boundaries of the Parish, a visit to the newly-opened Eden Project (2 coaches!), china “Millennium” mugs for all children of school age and a “Time Capsule”.
Reminders of some of the work done by the Millennium Group can still be seen in various parts of the Parish - the daffodils (Five Lanes roundabout and the verges from the top of Moorview to Farthing Lane) and at other smaller areas, the Parish Map (Village Hall Community Room and Environment Group Notice Board at the top shops), the boundary marker stones and plaques, and the time capsule (Village Hall).
Memories of all of these events were recalled when moving (and looking inside!) the files of the Millennium Group, and the photographs taken at the time.
No doubt many other memories will be invoked as memorabilia and other items in our Archive are looked at for the first time in many years. The downside of course is that if you are not careful you spend more time looking at the various items than you spend sorting and labelling!
And now, back to the present-day work of the History Group, and the next event on our horizon, which is our Summer Open Meeting on FRIDAY 9th JUNE, when our Guest Speaker will be Colin Vosper, on the subject of “Maritime Shortcuts”, which is an illustrated talk about canals in the West Country. I would imagine that most people associate canals with the Midlands and the North, but this talk is about canals in the South West peninsular, including the Grand Western and the Bude canals. Also included in Colin’s talk are the Suez and Panama canals, which have recently celebrated the opening of extensive improvements of widening and deepening of these world famous waterways. There will be another reminder of this Open Meeting in the next edition of this magazine, which will be on sale on 1st June, in line with the new date of issue of the 1st of each month.
As usual, the Open Meeting is in the Village Hall and will start at 7.30 pm. Admission to Members is free, and £2 for non-members. Look out for the posters on the Notice Boards nearer to the date. Members will of course be notified direct as usual. We hope that the longer, lighter evenings will enable you join us, and we look forward to seeing you.
I wrote in last month’s Magazine about the “sorting-out” of our Archive material which the Group is now undertaking in our new space within the Village Hall, and how you find things which, although you hadn’t forgotten about them, you just did not know where they were ! Another example has come to light, relating to my chance meeting in our Church (four years ago this month) with a gentleman visitor from America. The reason I went down to the Church escapes me, but it was during the day and there was no-one in the Church, or so I thought!
As I opened the door in the little vestibule behind the main Church door, and walked into the Church, a tall thin man, who had been standing behind the door, stepped forward behind me and touched me on the shoulder! Well, I nearly ended up in the Font with another heart attack! After much apologising, we sat down in the nearest pews, and when normal conversation resumed he told me that he was from Brooklyn, New York, his surname was Gilbert, and he was travelling in the footsteps of his Grandfather (Allan Gilbert), who came to Devon in the early 1930’s, presumably to see Marldon and Compton Castle, and who kept a “travelogue” of his journey.
Mr. Gilbert later sent me a copy of the parts of the “travelogue” relating to his Grandfather’s time in the Parish, and it contains many interesting references to our Church, Compton Castle and also Berry Pomeroy. So interesting in fact that we shall be publishing it as a separate article in next month’s Magazine, together with some interesting information about Mr. Gilbert’s ancestors, who he has confirmed after much research, are not connected to the Gilberts of Compton Castle.
One of the benefits of the Magazine now coming out on the 1st of the month is that we shall be able to give you information about our quarterly Open
Meetings in advance and closer to the date, our Open Meetings always being held on the 2nd Friday of March, June, September and December. So it is with this month, our June Open Meeting being on FRIDAY, 9th JUNE, 7.30 in the Village Hall, when our Speaking will be Colin Vosper, who spoke to us a few years ago and who was well received. His talk this time will be “Maritime Shortcuts”, which is about the history of canals in the West Country, including the Grand Western Canal and the Bude Canal. Colin will also be telling us a little about the Suez and the Panama, which have recently celebrated the opening of extensive improvements of the widening and deepening of these world famous waterways. Also, as the next big event in the village is the Apple Pie Fair, we shall have a display of old photos of “Apple Pie Fairs of Yesteryear”. May we take the opportunity of reminding you that the organisers of the Fair, as always, are looking for helpers before and on the day, and donations of books and other saleable items for the various Village Stalls.
Finally, we hope that the lighter, longer evenings will enable and encourage you to come to our Open Meeting on FRIDAY 9th JUNE, which is also open to non-members (£2), including tea and biscuits. We look forward to seeing you there.
Well, there’s no point in denying it, it’s irrefutable, don’t argue about it - Summer is here (at least it is in Marldon at the time of writing this Report).
Yes, I know it’s too hot, and it’s not good for the gardens, but let’s enjoy it whilst it’s here - find a shady spot in the garden and take a cold drink and something to read whilst we have the chance!
Referring to “something to read” reminds me to tell you that our Group has been very fortunate recently to have donated to it a large quantity of books and guides of local interest, for which we are very grateful. We are also lucky to now have sufficient space in our new Archive Store in the Village Hall in which to keep them with our existing and ever growing collection of books. As you may know if you attend any of our Quarterly Open Meetings, we always have a large selection on display from which Members can borrow (without charge).
At our Quarterly Open Meeting on Friday 9th June, our audience of more than forty Members and non-members thoroughly enjoyed a well illustrated talk (with slides and film) by our Guest Speaker Colin Vosper, who entertained us with a very interesting and informative talk about the history of Canals in the West Country. As an added bonus we were also shown photographs and a fascinating time-lapse film of the Panama Canal (as recently improved) and also a glimpse into the future, with another cross-continent canal being built across Nicaragua to connect the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. This will be called the Grand Nicaragua Canal, and you can find more information about this massive project on the internet. A little closer to home, the Tiverton Canal, originally part of the Grand Western Canal, looks to be an attractive day out, with horse-drawn barges and other attractions.
Also at our Open Meeting, details were given of the Group’s proposed visit to Kents Cavern on Tuesday 12th September. If we can raise a party of a minimum of 20 people, we can have a private guided tour for £8 per person.
The visit is open to Members/spouses/friends. If you wish to join us we shall be taking names and payment at our next Open Meeting (and AGM) on Friday 8th September or please ring our Secretary Derek Hore (529859) or Tony Chidlow (521419).
Finally, we also spoke at the Meeting about the flyers which are delivered to all Members informing them of our forthcoming Open Meetings. Most are delivered by hand to Members living in Marldon and Compton, and by post to those Members living outside Marldon and Compton. A few are also sent by -email. To try and cut down on costs, we are asking all Members, especially those who receive their flyers by post, if they would like their flyers sent to them by e-mail. There is no obligation to do this of course, but if you would like to get your Open Meeting flyers by e-mail, please ring Derek or Tony on the above telephone numbers, or inform us at the AGM. Many thanks - we look forward to hearing from you. We also look forward to seeing you at the Apple Pie Fair - Saturday 29th July.
I am very reluctant to fall back on such an old chestnut of a subject as the weather to start this month’s Report, but the Summer is not turning out too badly (so far), and (more to the point!) this is also a quiet time for the Group, falling as it does between our Open Meetings of June and September. This month’s edition of the Magazine is also due out just after the Apple Pie Fair, so I can’t tell how our Stand in the Village Hall fared either. Still, here are a few things to remind you of.
The first is our next Open Meeting on FRIDAY 8th SEPTEMBER, which is also our AGM. Our Guest Speaker will be Paul Rendell, who is an authority on all things Dartmoor, and his illustrated talk will be all about Witches, devils, hairy hands and wild animals that are both legends and folklore on the mysterious place which is Dartmoor.
So, “Hairy Hands, Devils & Black Dogs” is the title, and if you are walking home after the Meeting it may be best if you brought a friend! Paul has spoken to us before, and his talks are always interesting and informative.
As you will know, the AGM part of the evening is when you will be able to renew your Membership (or to join us if you are not a Member !). The annual subscription is still only £5 and entitles you to free entry to our Quarterly Meetings (except our Christmas Social Evening, for which there is a small charge). The free coffee and biscuits alone are worth the subscription! And as it’s the AGM, may I say on behalf of our Committee, that we greatly appreciate your continued Membership and support. We are always looking for new Members, and a few new faces on our Committee would not go amiss either ! If you need a little encouragement, I can confirm that our programme of Speakers for next year - 2018 - has already been arranged, and again contains subjects which we have not had before. We look forward to seeing you !
This also seem a good time to remind you about our proposed visit to Kents Cavern, which was mentioned at our last Meeting in June. This was suggested after the very successful illustrated talk at our March meeting about “Kents Cavern and the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark”. If we can raise a party of at least 20 people, we will be able to have a private guided tour of the Cavern for £8 per person. The visit has been provisionally arranged for Tuesday 12th September at 2.00 pm. We will be taking names (and payment) at the AGM, but if you wish to book early, you can ring either our Secretary Derek (529859) or Tony (521419) to do so, and for more details.
I would also mention that the visit will be open to all - ie Members, non-Members, spouses and friends.
To those readers of the Magazine who are kind enough to read our Group’s Report on a regular basis, I must apologise if much of this month’s Report sounds familiar. This is because it is, and the reason (as explained) is to do with the timing of our quarterly Open Meetings, the issue date of the Magazine and (for this month only), the date of the Apple Pie Fair.
Despite the weather, the Fair was not the complete washout it might have been, thanks to the efforts of all involved. The History Group’s involvement fortunately took place in the Main Hall of the Village Hall, and our display showing the history of the Fair and the very large number of photographs of past Fairs, many of which had not been on display before (such is the quantity of our archive of Apple Pie Fair material), attracted much interest throughout the afternoon. We were also able to show, for a large part of the afternoon, the Group’s DVD “The Story of Marldon” which runs for about an hour. Unavoidably, it was shown without the sound, whilst the Marldon Organ Group provided a very professional easy listening background performance for the seekers of refreshments. There was also an unexpected bonus as the “Old Gaffers Shanty Crew”, amused and entertained with a very rousing and much enjoyed half-hour of their “sea shanty” songs.
We were very pleased with the success of the Group’s Stand in the Hall, and the interest it attracted, and the resulting sales of several of our DVDs and our little booklet “Marldon at War”. Both are available from our Post Office, price £5 and £1.50 respectively, or from our Secretary Derek (529859) or Tony (521419), and will also be available at our next Open Meeting, which is also our AGM.
And, speaking of our next Open Meeting, this is on FRIDAY 8thSEPTEMBER, and is also our AGM. Our Guest Speaker will be Paul Rendell, who is an authority on all things Dartmoor, and his illustrated talk will be all about the Witches, devils, hairy hands and wild animals that are both legends and folklore on the mysterious place which is Dartmoor. “Hairy hands, Devils & Black Dogs” is the title, and if you are walking home after the Meeting it may be best if you brought a friend! Paul has spoken to us before, and his talks are always interesting and informative. As usual, the Meeting starts at 7.30 pm, Members free, non-Members £2 - coffee and biscuits included ! We look forward to seeing you !
As you will know, the AGM part of the evening is when you will be able to renew your Membership (or to join us if you are not a Member). The annual subscription is still only £5 and entitles you to free entry to our Quarterly Meetings (except our Christmas Social Evening, for which there is a small charge). The free coffee and biscuits alone are worth the subscription! And as it’s the AGM, may I say on behalf of our Committee, that we greatly appreciate your continued Membership and support. We are always looking for new Members, and a few new faces on our Committee would not go amiss either ! If you need a little encouragement, I can confirm that our programme of Speakers for next year - 2018 - has already been arranged, and again contains subjects which we have not had before.
This also seem a good time to remind you about our proposed visit to Kents Cavern, which was mentioned at our last Meeting in June, and also in last month’s Report. This was suggested after the very successful illustrated talk at our March meeting about “Kents Cavern and the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark”. If we can raise a party of at least 20 people, we will be able to have a private guided tour of the Cavern for £8 per person. The visit has been provisionally arranged for Tuesday 12th September at 2.00 pm. We will be taking names (and payment) at the AGM, but if you wish to book early, you can ring either our Secretary Derek (529859) or Tony (521419) to do so, and for more details. I would also mention that the visit will be open to all - ie Members, non-Members, spouses and friends. Once again, we look forward to seeing you .
Our Quarterly Open Meeting last month was also our Annual General Meeting, our 16th AGM in fact, as our Chairman reminded us. Have we really been going for 16 years? I’m afraid so, and as we were also reminded, we are still thriving.
Our Guest Speaker for the occasion was Paul Rendell, who has given us the benefit of his vast knowledge on some aspects of Dartmoor before, and is always interesting and informative - as are his large selection of photographs about his subject - which was “Witches, hairy hands, Devils & Black Dogs” , illustrating the places and stories behind the legends and folklore that is part of the attraction of the moor.
As to the formal aspects of the Meeting, the Officers and Committee had indicated that they were willing to stand again, despite their reduced number and were re-elected en-bloc. The Chairman informed the audience that new Committee Members would always be welcomed. The Secretary’s Report indicated that although the total membership of the Group was satisfactory, attendance figures for our Open Meetings were disappointing as a proportion of the total membership. The Treasurer’s Report confirmed that the finances of the Group were stable and satisfactory.
Below is a summary of the Chairman’s Report:
The audience were thanked for attending, despite the bad weather, and Members were thanked for their continuing support for the Group, and for renewing their membership. A few new Members joined on the night.
The Chairman said that, sadly, since the last AGM, one of our longstanding Members, Jean Rickard, had passed away. She had been a regular attendee at our Meetings, and donated a lot of material for our Archive over the years.
Our three Speakers over the last year had given us illustrated talks which were amongst the best we have heard in our 16 years of existence - ranging from the true story of Slapton Sands, Kents Cavern and the UNESCO Global Geopark and our last talk on the history of canals in the West Country with the bonus of a fascinating time-lapse film about the Panama Canal. Our programme of Speakers for next year has already been arranged by our Secretary Derek Hore, and promises to be just as informative and entertaining.
The Chairman was pleased to remind the audience of a few things the Group had been involved with during the last year: -
In 2015 the Group was involved in the School’s 150th anniversary celebrations, and during that year (2015) and last year the Group was responsible for having all of the School’s old Record books and Registers, dating from 1864, digitally scanned and copied onto 2 DVDs. One set of the DVDs had been presented to the School and the other is now in the Group’s Archive. This mammoth task was also partly funded by the Group.
The Group was also pleased to be present at and able to record the installation in Marldon Church of Mrs. Angela Gilbert as High Sheriff of Devon for 2016-2017.
In November we were able to assist Canterbury University, which is contributing a chapter about Parish Maps to a forthcoming book about Mapping and Cartography. Although the History Group was not involved in the production of our Parish Map, the group which was set up to produce it (as a Millennium project) had long since been disbanded, but the Map and information about it had been featured on the Group’s website (marldonhistory.co.uk) ever since. The book was due to be published in the next few months.
Also in November, the Village Hall Council agreed to provide the Group with a separate storage space within the Village Hall for the Group’s ever growing Archive material, and in May (this year) we were able to “move in”!
In March this year the Group was able to research earlier information than we already had with regard to the history of the former Almshouses (opposite the Church). We already knew they had been built c.1850 on the site of previous almshouses, but we now know that the previous almshouses had been built c.1650, and we now know who they were built by.
In the July issue of the Parish Magazine we published an account by a Mr. Allan Gilbert, who had visited Marldon in 1932 from his home in the United States. The account was obtained from his grandson (also on a visit to Marldon) and describes his visit to Marldon and Compton Castle, presumably curious to know whether he had any connection with the Gilbert family. The account includes his visits to Berry Pomeroy, Marldon and the Church, and of course Compton Castle and its’ then occupants. A very interesting account and well worth reading. We may receive more information on this later.
The Chairman also mentioned the continued success of the Group’s DVD “The Story of Marldon”, which was launched in 2013. To date we have sold more than 250 copies, and the Group was indebted to our “top shops” for their help in achieving that figure. Also mentioned was the Group’s other “venture” which was even more successful in terms of copies sold. This is our little booklet “Memories of Wartime Marldon”, written by David Best, a native of Marldon, who was a schoolboy during World War 2. This was first published by the Group in 2008, and has sold more than 450 copies! It is still available, from the Group or the Post Office and is priced at only £1.50.
NB from the Chairman. If you would like any further information about any of the items above, please contact Tony Chidlow - 521419 or on email@example.com.
Prior to our AGM in September (reported in last month’s edition of the Parish Magazine), our membership totalled just over 80. Thanks to renewals at the AGM and since, our current membership tally is now nearly 60 - which is very gratifying for the Group - but we remain hopeful that we can catch up with last year’s total and that a number of our regular Members who could not attend the AGM will renew their subscriptions between now and Christmas, and also that we can attract some new Members as well !
Our next quarterly Meeting will in fact be our Christmas Social Evening on Friday 2nd DECEMBER which, by the time you read this, will be even more frighteningly closer than it is at the time of writing ! Our special Guest will be Maggie Duffy, with her new programme “Songs, Fun & Frolics”. Maggie has entertained us before, and is always very popular. In addition there will be mince pies and mulled wine, a Marldon quiz, a bumper raffle with many prizes, and your admission ticket will also be your free ticket to another raffle. As before, admission will be for Members ONLY and their spouse/partner/guest. Tickets are only £2.50, and all you have to do is to ring our Secretary Derek Hore (529859) or Tony Chidlow (521419). If you are not a Member, or have not yet renewed your Membership, you can join or renew at the same time (our annual subscription is only £5).
I have mentioned before the increasing difficulty which the Group has (in common with most similar organisations) in booking Guest Speakers who we have not had before, due to the decreasing number of suitable Speakers generally and their consequent availability. Most Speakers nowadays are booked up for at least 12 months (or even longer) in advance, and in the circumstances I am pleased to be able to say that our Secretary, Derek Hore, has succeeded in booking Speakers for the whole of next year, and our programme is therefore as follows:-
Friday 10th March 2017 “Kents Cavern and the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark”. You may be aware of the publicity given on TV and in the press recently to the UNESCO Conference held at the Riviera Centre in Torquay to an audience of 700 plus UNESCO delegates from all over the world. Our Speaker will be Nick Powe, who is the 5th generation custodian of Kents Cavern and also Chair of the Geopark management organisation. His illustrated talk will cover 400 million years of history, including the “show cave” we see today. Not to be missed !!!
Friday 9th June 2017 “Maritime Shortcuts” is the intriguing title of Colin Vosper’s illustrated talk about Canals, firstly in the West Country and the attempts of Victorian canal builders to build canal routes across the SW peninsular including the Grand Western and the Bude Canals, and secondly about the world famous Suez and Panama Canals, which this year celebrate the opening of extensive improvements of widening and deepening. Colin’s illustrated talk will include a stunning 4 minute time-lapse journey through one of them - but which one ? Come along and find out !
Friday 8th September 2017 (also our AGM). “Hairy Hands, Devils and Black Dogs” - We welcome back Paul Rendell, acknowledged expert on all aspects of Dartmoor, to mystify us with this illustrated presentation about the witches, devils, hairy hands and wild animals that are both legends and folklore on our mysterious Dartmoor. This is the closest date we could get to Halloween, so don’t come alone - bring a friend !
Friday 8th December 2017 “Christmas Function” - details to be confirmed
We are sure you will agree that this is a most promising list of illustrated talks, and we look forward to seeing you at all of them - don’t forget that all our Quarterly Open Meetings are open to Members (admission free) and non-members (admission £2) and include coffee/tea and biscuits ! We look forward to seeing you.
This is one of those months where the date of writing my Report comes too soon before the date of our December Open Meeting (2nd December) for it to be published here online, as it also has to coincide with the Parish magazine deadlines where the Editor requires all articles to be with him at least a week before the Magazine is published on the first Sunday of the month).
This is doubly unfortunate as this bumper, two for the price of one, double issue will not include a report on our Christmas Social Evening on Friday 2nd December, which by the time the February 2017 issue appears on 5th February will be a fading memory. Nevertheless, I shall do my best to briefly recall it for the benefit of our readers and Members who could not be there.
Sadly, our Christmas Evening on 2nd December was also the date of the funeral of Jean Rickard, a very well known and liked member of our village community, who passed away on 15th November, at the grand age of 86 years. Jean was a founder Member of the History Group, and until her recent illness regularly attended our Quarterly Open Meetings. She also regularly donated photographs and other memorabilia for our Archive, and her late husband Ernie will be well remembered by older members of the community for his work in connection with many aspects of village life. On a lighter note, various village organisations, including the History Group, took advantage of the use of the small notice board attached to her front fence to display our flyers for village activities ! Hopefully, this may be able to continue.
As a further sad sign of the passing years, I noticed when preparing this Report that in the same December/January issue of the Parish magazine last year, we marked the passing of another long standing Member of our Group, Norman Mortimore, at the age of 87. Like Jean Rickard’s late husband Ernie, Norman was an ardent bell ringer at Marldon Church for many years, and interestingly, the collection at Jean’s funeral was for the benefit of Marldon Bell Ringers and Marldon Church.
Finally then, as this is my last Chairman’s Report for 2016, on behalf of our Committee may I thank all our Members (and non-members) for their support through attending our Open Meetings and donating so many items to our Archive, and wish them all (and all the readers of this Magazine) a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year.
We look forward to your continued support, and to seeing you at our Meetings in the coming year.
There are probably millions of memorials in this country to people who many more millions of other people thought worth remembering, from the humble stones in the smallest of Churchyards to the grand edifices and statuary constructed from marble, granite and metal to honour the great and the good of the nation.
Amongst these millions of almost everlasting memorials there are an incalculable number of memorials which, although of a less enduring nature and material, are nevertheless chosen not only for the same laudable reasons as their grander counterparts, but in many (if not most) cases for more personal and meaningful reasons. The grand monuments of marble and metal may last forever, but the simple headstone or more personal memorial such as a seat or a plaque with a few well chosen words will often inform the passer-by of future years of far more about the person being remembered, and in a more personal and appropriate way, than the grand but ubiquitous monuments which adorn our city centres or other prominent places.
So it was, a few weeks ago, that our Parish, under the auspices of the Village Hall Council, of which Doug Pulle was Chairman for very many years, chose to honour his memory with the planting of an Oak tree on Jubilee Meadow and the hanging of a charming photograph and an appropriate text of tribute in the entrance of the Village Hall. Doug and his family will appreciate the significance of the Oak tree and its acorns, and others who knew him less well will hopefully be informed by the framed text of just a part of the involvement which Doug had over very many years in the community and social life of our Parish, through the various village organisations with which he was involved.
These memorials were chosen from many varied suggestions (and with the help of donations) from Parish residents and organisations, all wanting to contribute to two memorials to a well liked and respected Parishioner, which although small compared with their grander counterparts, will surely last and serve their purpose almost as long.