Sunday, 29 January 2017

An Important Message from Eddie Ember

A forward event for your diaries: 24th September 2017 (Sunday) marks the centenary of the tragic accident at Bere Ferrers Railway Station that claimed the lives of 10 New Zealand soldiers who had travelled halfway round the world to answer Great Britain's call in its hour of need. 
I'm co-ordinating an event to honour these brave young men and to recognise the efforts that local people have made over the last 100 years in remembering their sacrifice. It is early days but I need to organise many threads to tie into the 'hub' on the day. The New Zealand High Commission, BBC Spotlight, Tavi Times etc are all involved. Our local historian and lecturer Clive Charlton has kindly agreed to give a presentation of the event at the BFS Club to kickstart funding for the centenary; I'm looking at organising another charity quiz to support the fund. Chris Groves is planning a memorial garden and WW1 memorabilia at the station and it goes without saying that the Tavy Tars are on board and looking to commission and deliver a choral rendition on the day. This is, in my opinion, a 'whole village' event that we will be proud of. The Club committee have been pivotal in this early planning, agreeing to the use of the Club on the day and staff etc. 
I still seek any assistance you can offer, attendance at fund raising events, provision of buffet style refreshments and help with serving teas and coffees on the day etc. I will, of course, keep everyone posted with items of interest as they are ratified with times and dates. Many thanks, Ed.

We All Went A-Wassailing!

It’s wassailing time again and last night (Saturday) apple and cider lovers gathered in the Church Hall for the annual wassail ceremony. Mary Sargeant expertly explained the origins of the wassail, before Dartmoor Border Morris entertained the audience with a couple of dances.

Then torches were lit and the assemblage processed down the lane to the orchard, where flames from an enormous bonfire were leaping into the dark sky, thanks to old Christmas trees donated by villagers. The Tavy Tars sang a couple of wassailing songs before the assemblage banged items to frighten away evil spirits and pieces of toast were hung in the trees.

Everyone returned to the hall for apple juice, hot cider and pasties! There was more dancing, including some members of the audience joining in and a couple more songs from the Tars, before T&TAG Chairman Peter Crozier thanked everyone for coming and those members of the Group who organised and ran the event. Fortunately, the rain held off during the orchard activities, but it had started by the time we left!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Burns Supper

Forty-seven diners packed into the Olde Plough Inn last night (Wednesday) for the annual Burns Supper, organised by Rob Smith. The evening started with a selection of Scottish airs played by Ferrers Reel, followed by Roger White with a somewhat dubious tale of Rabbie Burns’ activities in the Tamar Valley! This was followed by an interesting talk by John Gallagher on the other Scots poet William Topaz McGonagall, who was a notoriously extremely bad poet! Ted Williams carried the haggis into the room, closely followed by Rob on the whisky bottles, before Ross addressed the haggis in the time-honoured fashion.

The haggis, neeps and tatties were excellent, as usual. During the supper a plethora of guests entertained everyone with songs and recitations: Clive and Seth read ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ in the vernacular in record time; the Hamlyn Family sang delightfully; Rob and Clive sang a couple of songs.

Adrian proposed a toast to the Lassies and Diana replied on their behalf. Dr Mike rendered the Immortal Memory, before the guests finished the evening with ‘Flower of Scotland’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

Thanks go to Sarah, Ted and their staff for an excellent meal and evening. 
Ross addresses the haggis
The haggis is cut!

Adrian toast the Lassies
Diana replies

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Christine's Funeral

The funeral of Christine Grills will take place at St Andrew's Church, Bere Ferrers, at 2pm on Friday 3rd February, followed by the wake at the Olde Plough Inn afterwards.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Sad News!

It is with much sadness that I have to report the passing of Christine Grills. After the death of husband Norman last year, Christine and her dog Jasper moved to a cottage in the centre of the village, where she was very happy. She was at the Acoustic Night at the pub on Sunday and looking forward to the resumption of the Old Timers' Lunch at the Olde Plough on Tuesday, but she never turned up.
Chris represented the Bere Peninsula as a Borough Councillor for many years and it was she who persuaded me to join the Parish Council all those years ago. She was also Mayor of West Devon Borough Council a couple of times.
Chris will be sadly missed by all who knew her. Condolences go to her family.

Monday, 16 January 2017


Ben Harris announced at the Acoustic Night at the Olde Plough last night that the magnificent sum of £3,055.90 was raised during the Musicathon over the weekend!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Excellent Musicathon Raises Funds for Air Ambulance

What a musical weekend! The Olde Plough Inn held a 24-hour Musicathon, to raise funds for the night landing area in Bere Alston for the Devon Air Ambulance. In actual fact, the marathon extended to 28 hours, finishing somewhere near 11pm on Saturday night. 
Now, my days of grooving for 24 hours have long gone, so I rationed myself! After watching Geoff Lakeman on the Facebook Live feed at a dinner engagement, I went to the pub to watch Lizzie Spiers produce a superb set, but not long enough. She was followed by local favourites Lazy Divide. Many local favourites followed, including Sounds of Sirens and Mad Dog McRea, before the pub was locked down at 1am for an acoustic jam session until 7am. This was, as told by folk who were there, an absolute treat! They paid £30 for the privilege of being “locked in” for the evening with fantastic musicians, listening to the music that poured forth.
When the pub unlocked itself at 8am on Saturday, breakfast was available to anybody who wanted it. Unfortunately, family commitments prevented me from taking breakfast or enjoying the music throughout the day. However, I popped in at 5:10pm just to see the Tavy Tars; but the music was so good, particularly an excellent blues guitar set from Russ Sinclair and blue grass and country from the Kit Hillbillies, plus excellent company, that I went home at 10:10pm having had a very enjoyable evening.
Tavy Tars in action. Photo: Ruth Luff
Thanks go to Sarah, Ted and their staff and to Ben for arranging the musicathon. After 26 hours they were only 13 minutes late in the scheduling! An excellent event for a worthy cause! Well done to everyone who supported this tremendous event. All the money for the cost of the night landing area has now been raised and planning permission received, so it’s all systems go!