A rural parish in North Devon, England including Brayford village, High Bray and Charles, and a part of Exmoor National Park


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  From the June/July 2020 Newsletter:            (June July Newsletter pdf)

Under the current government regulations relating to COVID-19 it is not possible to hold “Face to Face” Parish Council meetings and as a result all urgent business is being managed remotely. This means that there will be no opportunity for public participation regarding any parish issues that may arise. Parishioners are requested to raise any matters of concern with the Parish Clerk (Joe Poole 710326 or email whilst meetings restrictions apply.

End of sale report: A sincere thank you to everyone who purchased plants from us this year – every penny received from the sales will be shared by the North Devon Hospice and Brayford Village Hall (both of whom have suffered financially from the current “lockdown”). Despite the unusual and difficult circumstances that we all find ourselves in this year, our sales raised over £1200, more cash than the events staged last year – the Duck Race plant stall, our garden and private sales. Over the last couple of weeks we made more than 60 deliveries of plants to North Molton, South Molton and of course in and around Brayford – safe handling, with the appropriate social distancing was applied at all times. And a special thank you to Sue and Colin Wallis at the North Molton Post Office and Stores who very kindly sold the plants that hadn't been taken up by the on-line ordering system that was designed by Steve Warren from Brayford. Donations from the sales are therefore as follows: North Devon Hospice £720 and Brayford Village Hall £500. Once again thank you... look after yourself and if you didn't keep the tender vegetable plants safe from cold nights and high winds that we experienced over recent weeks, we will have some boxes of runner beans and climbing French beans available towards the end of May. Please give us a call on 711828 Howard and Dianne Tolley.

The Village Hall remains closed whilst Government restrictions on gatherings apply. We are taking the opportunity to carry out minor repairs to keep the internal condition of the building in good repair. The planned redecoration to the outside of the hall has been carried forward to next year when things hopefully will have returned to some sense of normality and we can return to hiring the hall out for events. Some very good news. Due to the generosity of Howard Tolley via his annual plant sales a cheque for £500 has been received to assist us with the village hall upkeep. The Management Committee have expressed their gratitude to Howard for his continuing financial support which is particularly welcome this year with the cancellation of the annual Duck Race.

The Market has been closed since April and will not be open until the Government guidelines allow for it. In addition, we will be thinking creatively about how to enable all to visit the Market and have tea and coffee with friends and neighbours safely and with respect for one another's “social distance” in the future. If anyone has any ideas about how we can make this possible, they would be greatly appreciated. As this is a Village event, we can all participate in making it possible again. Do call Madeleine or Jonathan on 710389. Until the resumption of regular Market Days, however, we are still fortunate to have Bess Hill Farm Shop delivering once a week on Fridays to the Village Hall car park. All deliveries will have to be by previous order placed with Bess Hill by Tuesday afternoon. Do call them on 01271 850311 to place an order. They are able to source a number of different items in addition to their traditional local meats. We are also able to take orders every other week for fresh bread, doughnuts, Chelsea buns and pasties from East & West Bakery for delivery to the Village Hall every other Wednesday. Please call Madeleine on the number above if you have not already had orders and would like to participate in the future.

Sadly we have no future dates to invite you to share time together. These unprecedented times are more challenging as the weeks turn into months. The problems throughout the world seem so complex. It is to be hoped that we can all get some positive things from this ordeal. Our carbon footprint has reduced beyond our expectations and probably air travel will be considerably reduced and the air pollution in our cities improved. Many people will decide that hours spent commuting to London daily could be more usefully used. Human beings are realising that they need other human beings to thrive and will value friendships and kindness to others. Everyone has noticed birds, spring flowers, etc and may take better care of our beautiful planet. We have many blessings living in Brayford.

Well, never has the Women's Institute been so quiet! No meetings, no Duck Race, no champagne in the garden to celebrate 100 years of W.I. in Devon, no outings, no A.G.M. in London but lots to look forward to so long as we all keep well. Encouraged by W.I. Member Jane, we and other organisations have made face masks, laundry bags, uniforms and hairbands for grateful Care Home staff. We keep in touch with each other using new and known methods and we look forward to our first picnic together later in the summer.

Like everyone else Charles Village has been very quiet so not much to report. Just a few things - we had a virtual tea party on zoom on VE day, played Glen Miller on a wind-up gramophone, and a huge bonfire in the evening, a number came and stood in the field social distancing and chatted and enjoyed some libation. A couple of us (from the same household) rang some bells at the church - I am sure in villages like ours church bells would have rung on VE day, hopefully a lot better than we did. As we are quite spread out and “clap for carers” may seem a little awkward without seeing your neighbours, we (from the same household) ring a couple of bells every Thursday at 8 pm to say thank you to all doctors, nurses, carers who care for us and do essential work, including those working to keep us fed, delivering post and many other things, and those who are helping the self'isolated. Like everyone we look forward to better times as the virus threat comes under control. This time last year we in Charles were in the middle of setting up the Charles Village Pageant to commemorate 150 years of Lorna Doone. If you didn't see it or didn't get a copy of the film, I plan to put it on YouTube for 23 June 2020 – one year after our presentation.

We send our deepest sympathy to Julian and Gill Tewkesbury and family on the passing of his mother Dorothy. We will miss her ever smiling face in the village. It is hoped there will be a celebration of her life at a later date at Grosvenor Church.

Congratulations to Bill Maddox and Tony Bawden on reaching very significant birthdays. We hope you will be able to celebrate properly very soon.

The children have been enjoying a different kind of school this term and have been embracing life in lockdown. The class teachers have been emailing work for their classes to complete at home each week and the children have all been doing a fantastic job. We have been blown away by the children’s positive attitude to the current situation and are really impressed with the activities they have been keeping themselves busy with. There has been a lot of cooking being done; cakes, flapjacks, brownies along with pasta dishes, pizza and bread making. Many important skills being learnt. The children have also been exploring the natural environments around their homes and have been learning lots about nature. There has been tree climbing, collecting dandelions for dandelion tea, building dens, cooking over a camp fire, walking, riding ponies and camping under the stars. The children and their families have definitely made the most of the beautiful spring weather. All this being done alongside their work from school – what fabulous children. Despite this situation being strange and uncomfortable for some, the children of Brayford School have done themselves proud. I would like to thank them and their families for making the most of the time at home and embracing every opportunity for learning. Even though they are not in school learning in the classroom they will have developed many valuable skills and will have taken part in activities that they would not normally have had time to do due to life being usually so busy. A thank you also goes to the staff at the school who have been lost without their classes but have worked incredibly hard to maintain contact and provide the children with a remote education. Hopefully it won't be long before we are all back to school and learning alongside each other again.

 Thanks to the Newsletter Editor for providing Newsletter information.

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