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 December 2019 / January 2020 Newsletter: 


Emergency traffic lights A399
Due to unforeseen circumstances North Devon District Council have advised us that they are having to extend the road closure at Lions Rump South by 3 weeks to 20 December 2019. It is likely that the contractor will need to rebuild the dwarf wall at the edge of the road under traffic lights after the road closure has been lifted. The Parish Council appreciates that the diversions being used by traffic, particularly from the quarry, are causing some delays and driving difficulties for car users. The council is writing to Hansons to ask if anything can be done to reduce lorries running in convoy and to be respectful of other road users.

Children in Need - Brayford Academy
The Parish Council sends its congratulations to the village school for its fund raising efforts for Children in Need. The children did a 5 day row-a-thon raising some 1147.

Parish Council Vacancy
At the Parish Council meeting on 21 November Mark Padgham was elected as the new Parish Councillor. The Parish Council congratulate Mark and look forward to working with him in the future.
Councillor Jamie Hartnoll is now responsible for ensuring that all information on the web site is correct. Will everyone please ensure that if they wish to place an item on the web site that they first contact Jamie as we are aiming, for continuity purposes, to update the site from one central source. or 07397 730373.

Carols at The Nook
We will be having our usual Carols at The Nook on Sunday, 22 December at 7 pm with mulled wine and mince pies afterwards. We do hope to see lots of people there.

A sincere thank you to those who helped and supported the coffee morning in Brayford Village Hall on 28 September in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support and the North Devon Hospice and made the morning such a huge success. We raised an incredible 1063.90. Those of you who ran stalls, washed up, made cakes, donated items and money and enjoyed the coffee and cake - thank you, this was a truly wonderful result.

On Saturday 7 December at 7 pm in Stoke Rivers Church The Voice Community Choir and friends (including Roger Colome) will be giving a concert. Entry will cost 7, which includes a glass of wine and a mince pie. For tickets call Karen (710273) or Sue (710558). Please come along and enjoy a lovely, entertaining evening.

We were so sad that our dear member, John Barrow, has recently passed away. John and Gladys have been faithful cornerstones of our Chapel. John was a local preacher since 1954. He farmed at Lower Hall and he and Gladys ran a dairy and delivered milk locally, whatever the weather. A packed Church shared an inspiring service witnessing the love and high regard in which this Christian was held in our community. We send our sympathy and love to Gladys and family. God bless you, John. Our Gift Evening and Concert was a wonderful musical experience much enjoyed by many. The generous donations will ensure that we can meet our financial commitments and keep our premises in good condition. On 1 December Sheila Collier will lead us. 4 December is the Community Coffee Morning from 10.30 am to 12 pm when we will enjoy the annual Christmas visit from the school children. Everyone is welcome to share a coffee and a mince pie. It is good if we are seated by 10.30 am ready for their contribution. 15 December will be our Breakfast all age get together at 9.15 am led by Sue Procter. 22 December is our Carol Service at 11.00 am with Derek Summers. 29 December is the Circuit United Service at 11.00 am at South Molton. 5 January at 11.00 David Worden, 12 January at 11.00 am Authur Milton, 19 January United Service at 11.00 am at North Molton Parish Church followed by lunch at The Sportsman for anyone who would like to join us. Please give numbers by 15 January. 26 January at 11.00 am Rev. Marilyn Tricker.

We were all very sorry to learn that our former member Jean Pyne from Charles has passed away. In better health, and even when she and Pat had moved to Barnstaple, Jean used to come to W.I. especially at Christmas time. Christmas is rapidly looming with its many blessings. There is always such a variety of outings for W.I. members, both within our community and the larger Devon Community. Carols, sung by W.I. members in Exeter Cathedral is on 3 December, followed by Christmas dinner at The Black Venus for members and their husbands on 6 December. Our Christmas meeting is on Wednesday 13 December and we are making our own table decorations as well as enjoying our own entertainments and a delicious high tea. Our 2020 programme will be available at this meeting. We are looking forward to hearing of the adventures of our President, Valerie Warner, who climbed Kilimanjaro in the summer at our January meeting. 2020 is the centenary year of the Women's Institute!

Everyone had a fantastic day at Cheddar Gorge a couple of weeks ago. The trip was very successful with all the children being able to build on their learning of our Stone Age topic. The children explored both caves at Cheddar and took part in a pre-history workshop. They then climbed the 274 steps of Jacob's ladder to the lookout tower where they were able to see across the gorge and surrounding area. The children asked the staff some really interesting questions and were, of course, impeccably behaved. Everyone had a great day with lots of learning taking place. The children rowed their way to raise over 1150 for BBC's Children in Need appeal. Their sponsored row started at 9 am on Monday 11 November and didn't finish until 3.30 pm on Friday 15 November - Children in Need day. Every minute of every school day that week saw one of Brayford's sturdy young rowers pulling their way to the school's big success. The very tired rowing machine didn't even stop for playtime or lunch break. As a thrilling bonus, the children were told that if they reached the grand sum of 1000 in donations then they would be able to custard pie the school staff. So it was with great excitement when the total exceeded the 1000 and the children were able to splat their teachers! The exciting day was topped off when the school was featured not only on BBC Spotlight but also on the 10 O'Clock News. We very much enjoy the company of the community at our community lunches. Christmas lunch in the Village Hall will be on Wednesday 18 December at 1 pm. If you would like to join us then please phone the school office on 710345 to order your lunch which will cost 5. The children will be singing in the Methodist Chapel on Wednesday 4 December at 10.30 am and will be performing their Christmas play on Wednesday 11 December at High Bray Church at 2 pm and 6 pm. Members of the community are welcome to join us. We look forward to seeing you. For more details please contact the school on the number above. If you would like to know more about Brayford Academy please see our website or phone the school.

Our Bingo Night on 19 October was one of our most successful. Some 400 was taken on a fun filled evening and is a welcome start to the fund raising season. The Parish Council and District Councillor Bulled have kindly contributed to the cost of the new curtains in the Village Hall and replacement of some electrical items. We are now planning the final part of the Hall's refurbishment and hope to seal the floors and redecorate the outside of the Hall during 2020. Since the refurbishment of the interior of the Hall questions have been raised as to where chairs should be stacked after an event. We believe that the best place is just in front of the bar with any additional chairs stacked round the Hall. Unfortunately a car has been damaged in the car park due to poor parking. We would prefer not to mark out individual car spaces as this would reduce the number of cars which can be parked. We ask anyone using the car park to park sensibly and with respect to other car park users. To save costs we have decided not to create a stand alone web site but will link directly into and in this regard will be liaising with Jamie Hartnoll in his new role.

As we come to the end of the year, with Christmas barely a month way, we have had an amazing 2019 in Charles. The Pageant was enjoyed by many, near and far, and we are so grateful to those who gave their time and talent to make, as described by an internationally acclaimed art critic (really) who saw the performance, "a presentable performance - mainly because nobody had to do very much acting - they were the characters they played". On a measure of "amdram" performances that comment from a real art critic is praise indeed. The comment is also important as all the cast were local and Blackmore based many of the characters in his novel on people he knew here in Charles and across Exmoor, that clearly still exist in spirit. Our Jan Ridd really was Jan Ridd and Lorna was beautifully played. Our thanks especially to local organisations and businesses who sponsored the event, we didn't aim to make a profit but importantly we did break even, so again a real thank you to all who supported us, we couldn't have done it without you. On the day we had 180 people viewing the two performances and taking libation and food afterwards. A DVD or USB version is available showing highlights of the day and some lovely aerial views of the church and the centre of the village. These will be at the Village Market in December or from Jonathon (710350). Charles Village Pageant - the Movie, only 4 and free of course to sponsors. Our summer Exhibition of Victorian life and R.D. Blackmore's family was visited by many. All is packed away now and thoughts about what next are milling around. By the time this comes out, our Quiz'n'Dine evening, 22 November, will have happened and indications now are that this will be well attended. Proceeds go to the cost of the bell rope repairs and future maintenance. It is so good to hear the bells again here in Charles - our thanks to Geoff Collier who stands down as Tower Captain, for maintaining our bell tower all these past years, and the bell ringers for their support. Congratulations also to bell ringers, Rachel and Steve on their marriage, blessed at the Church earlier in November. On a sad note the funeral of Jean Pyne (late of Charles Barton) will have taken place on 30 November, and also a service for Betty Richards on 29 November here at Charles. The election looms, enough said. Many will know that Steve Cotten, landlord of the Polti at Yarde Down is standing as an independent candidate. Looking ahead, on Sunday 19 January 2020 a Sunday Roast Lunch is being organised by the Edgmoor Group for all. Watch out for further details. Here in Charles we wish all a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and joyful 2020.

Harvest Festival - thank you everyone for your donations. A car loaded with your gifts was taken to the Freedom Centre and a letter of thanks is in the Church porch. A full Church on Remembrance Sunday saw Simon Rookby on his way with yet another load of your donations of shoeboxes, bedding and clothes which he bravely delivers to war torn countries in the Middle East. Brayford Academy will be in Church on Wednesday 11 December at 2 pm and 6 pm to perform their Christmas production which is always different and wonderful. Candlelit Carols on Christmas Eve will be at 4.30 pm. Shopping done, food done, time to relax and sing your way into Christmas. Very happy Christmas and blessed new year from High Bray Church. We thank you for your support for our events and look forward to a new year.

The joyful Christmas Village Market will be at the Brayford Village Hall on Saturday 14 December with carols, a Christmas Raffle, special stalls with presents for everyone on display, a table with ideas from our Brayford Academy, hand-made Christmas wreaths and decorations, and, or course, all the festive fresh breads, cakes, local produce and delicious suggestions for Christmas Dinner. And Father Christmas has told us he will be there. Come and join the fun from 11 am to 1 pm.

Do you sing a bit? We would love to have you join us. The Brayford Singing Group is looking for assistance in accompaniment on the keyboard (and also anyone who might like to join us singing - particularly sopranos). We meet once a week in Brayford. We will break in January and begin again in the first week in February. We meet at 7 pm on a Thursday evening (if you can't make Thursdays, we might be able to change to Tuesdays). This is a community based group of people who just like to sing - not experienced or professional in any way. A great way to meet people if you have just moved to the area or if you are just looking for something fun to do. If you are interested could you please call Madeleine Brownell on 710389. I would love to hear from you.

On behalf of all our contributors and advertisers, we wish you a Merry Festive Season and happy and prosperous 2020.

 Thanks to the Newsletter Editor for providing Newsletter information.

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