Photographs of the Friends of St Eustachius’ Christmas Tree Festival can be found by clicking on this link .
Grateful thanks to Juliette Bowers and Nick Fox for taking the time to photograph these beautifully decorated trees.
Sweet Sights at Tavistock Parish Church’s Christmas Tree Festival
CANDY man Robin Rich is spoilt for choice when it comes to decorating his entry for Tavistock Parish Church’s Christmas Tree Festival, opening on Friday 30 November.
As a fifth-year exhibitor, Robin’s tree will be one of 67 gracing St Eustachius’ Church for the ten-day event, from Friday, November 30 to December 9.
Robin’s sweet shop, “I Love Candy” in Market Street, is packed with confectionery making it difficult to decide what to hang on his tree. He said: ‘I’m probably one of few shops where I could cover a tree with any type of treat. It’s such an enjoyable event that I tend to leave my choice to the last minute because I want to put something really lovely on it.’
His favourite decorations previously used were “flying saucers” – melt in the mouth sherbets. ‘I covered the tree with several on each branch. It took ages but they went down a treat – there were quite a few missing when I came to strip it!’
As a tip to all the businesses, organisations, charities and groups exhibiting this year, he said: ‘It’s about dressing your tree to do the best for your cause and making it really eye-catching. It’s a bit of Christmas fun; when you think of what is going on in this world and in this country, it takes people’s minds off it.’
Tavistock born and bred, Robin feels that being in the festival is his way of putting something back into the community. ‘A lot of people make a specific visit – not just to spend an hour in church, but to move out into the town, have coffee, lunch and make a day of it, so it’s not just benefitting the church but the town as well.’
Tavistock mayor Cllr Paul Ward opens the festival at 2.30 pm on November 30, with carol singing by Tavistock Church Schools’ Federation choir. The event will open daily from 10 am to 4.30 pm until December 9.
Judy Hannaford Hirst, vice-chairman of The Friends of St Eustachius, the event organisers, said: ‘Our tenth Christmas Tree Festival promises to be the best yet, with over 65 trees beautifully and imaginatively decorated by schools, organisations and businesses. There will be musical entertainment throughout, delicious refreshments and wonderful homemade Christmas gifts for sale. We are also open until 9 pm on the Dickensian Evening so come and join us for a glass of mulled wine’.
Reflections on Ten Years as Chairman
Sometime in the summer of 2008, I had a phone call from Michael Brierley who asked me if I would consider becoming Chairman of the Friends of St Eustachius’. I had quite a lot on at the time, but Michael was persuasive and I eventually said yes. I was elected at the AGM in September 2008: in absentia as Rosemary and I were away at a wedding, and I have served as Chairman since then. I think that ten years warrants a valedictory statement and here it is: a review of events, achievements, lessons learned and some words of thanks.
Between 2008 and 2018, the Friends have held more than 60 events in which having fun has been as important as raising money. There have been:
- Suppers with entertainment to celebrate St George’s Day, the saints of Britain and Ireland, the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt and the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare
- Concerts by Johnny Cowling [twice], Canoryon Lowen and Rosemary Turner, Brian Chapple, Nigel Shaw, and the sisters, Janet Distin and Anna Loveday
- Lectures from Geri Parlby and Gerry Woodcock
- Quizzes, an Art Exhibition and Competition, an Auction of Promises, An Evening of Good Deeds [with Eileen Hooper, George Mudge and Tim Treanor], a Cookery Demonstration by Peter Gorton, a performance by the Osiligi Troupe of Maasai Warriors, a Race Night, a Bingo Evening, and two Golf Championships
There have also been
- Nine Summer Fetes which have raised a total of about £21000
- And Nine Christmas Tree Festivals in which more than 200 different local organisations have decorated a total of 520 trees, which have been seen by about 82000 visitors, raising a total of more than £90000.
The Summer Fetes and the Christmas Tree Festivals are established as very important events in the life of Tavistock and the surrounding area, and they and the other Friends’ events make a great contribution to the church’s involvement with the community and its ministry of welcome.
The Friends of St Eustachius’ was launched in 2000 with the aim of working ‘to maintain, preserve, and beautify the church’. The establishment of the Friends was a way of reaching out to the wider community in acknowledgement that the church of St Eustachius’ means a great deal to many members of the local community who are not members of the church. In 2008, around the time when I became Chairman, membership of the Friends was extended to local businesses and other organisations which became ‘sponsors’. Achievements of the Friends include:
Development of Contacts with the Community: the Friends have been very successful in developing contacts with the community and in bringing people into the church. Friends’ events are well attended and the nine Christmas Tree Festivals are particularly noteworthy, with a total of more than 82000 people having visited the church to see the trees.
Expanding membership: the current membership is 279 individuals and 15 sponsors. Of the individual members, an estimated 246 come from Tavistock and the nearby districts; 8 come from other parts of Devon; 22 come from elsewhere in England, and 4 live outside the UK [in Australia, the Solomon Islands, Canada and the USA]. Nearly two thirds of the members [180 out of 279] are not on the parish electoral roll and can be regarded as coming from outside the worshipping community.
Raising money: the Friends have raised a total of more than £170,000, of which about £120,000 has been raised in the last five years.
Supporting the PCC:
The Friends exist to support the church, and the constitution of the Friends, agreed in 2010, stresses the importance of “enhancing and promoting the Church’s links and contacts with the people of the town; and raising funds for the preservation and embellishment of the Church of St Eustachius and its ministry”. The donations made by the Friends to the PCC, which amount to £121,000, with a further £50,000 together with £10,000 per annum pledged reflect these priorities.
Fabric: Donations to date, £73,000
Fabric projects [glass door, lighting, windows, church base plans, professional fees] £43,000
Contribution to the costs of buildings insurance and general maintenance: £10,000
Contribution to the repair of the vestry roof: about £21,500
Fabric: Pledged Donations, £50,000 plus £10,000 annually
Contributions to the costs of buildings insurance and general maintenance: £10,000 per annum
Contribution to the 700 Project [Galley and Toilets]: £50,000
Music: [organ fund, piano refurbishment] £15,000
Parish Centre: [kitchen refurbishment, lighting, storage, cutlery, curtains] £9000
Church Administration: [computer equipment, office furniture, web-site] £7000
Worship and Ministry: [cope, candelabras, service books, altar cloth, pyxes, contributions to Tavistock Passion, Messy Church, Open the Book] £6,000
Miscellaneous items: £11,000
It has been an enormous privilege to be the Chairman of the Friends. I have got to know Tavistock and the people of the town much better, and I have learnt a valuable lesson: that if you ask people to do something, they almost always say yes. I have received tremendous support from the members and the sponsors, and the support of Michael Brierley and Chris Hardwick and all the members of the clergy teams has been invaluable and is greatly appreciated.
I also wish to thank all those who have served on the Friends’ Committee during my time as Chairman. Tony Sherlock was Treasurer when I arrived and he still holds that post with distinction. Judy Hirst has been a brilliant Vice-Chairman throughout almost all of my time as Chairman, and for the last few months has been Acting Chairman as I concentrate on the business of the PCC and the Standing Committee. I have been blessed with a superb secretary in Pat Morrison and two excellent Membership Secretaries, Dick Eberlie and Hugh Walkington. Christopher Kirwin served with distinction as Sponsorship Secretary for a number of years after the Sponsorship Scheme was introduced in 2008.
And my thanks also to all the others who have served with such enthusiasm and commitment on the committee during the last ten years: Sibylle Brock, Yve Chesters, John Collacott, Richard Crawford, Alice Harding, Leone Harding, Ray Hurle, Ian Jenkins, Sue Maclaren, Andra MacDougall, Barbara Miller, Val O’Neill, Wendy Roderick, Joan Torvell, and the late Gill Tromans, who served as Secretary for a number of years.
Summer Fete Draws Visitors
A steady stream of visitors to Tavistock Parish Church’s Summer Fete helped to raise more than £3,000, last Saturday.
Despite rising temperatures in the prolonged spell of hot weather, stalls, sideshows and other attractions offered shady respite and cakes and refreshments proved a real crowd puller. Pre-loved clothes, jewellery and scarves were popular with the ladies, wood-turning gifts with the men and a good selection of plants scored a hit with gardeners. Live music filled the air and for the children there was a bouncy castle and face-painting.
The event, opened by the town mayor, Councillor Paul Ward, was organised by The Friends of St Eustachius’. Vice-chairman, Judy Hannaford Hirst, said: ‘It was a magical day and the Church Green was transformed by many colourful and interesting stalls, which raised in excess of £3,150. These monies will go towards the preservation and beautification of the fabric of the church for the town of Tavistock and its wider community to enjoy’.
View the photographs of the fete under ‘Church Gallery’.
THE FRIENDS OF ST EUSTACHIUS’
SUMMER FETE on 7TH JULY 2018
to be opened by the Mayor of Tavistock at 10.30 am on the Church Green.
Excellent Variety of Stalls, including:
- Books and DVD’s
- Bouncy Castle
- Burgers and Hot Dogs
- Face Painting
- Pre Loved Clothes
- Vintage Green – Collectables & Clothing
- Wood Turning
The Friends of St Eustachius’ takes the privacy of its members very seriously. In accordance with the latest “GDPR” regulations, the following statement describes how and why we collect and use information about our members.
If you have any queries about this statement please contact us via The Parish Office, 5a Plymouth Road, Tavistock PL19 8AU.
Personal Information – how is it used?
The types of personal information we hold (from your application forms and from subsequent updates you have provided) include your name, email address, postal address, and possibly your telephone number. We will use your personal information to maintain accurate information about our membership and to communicate with them regarding the activities and administration of The Friends.
Privacy and Security
Personal Detail Protection
We also take appropriate measures to ensure that the information we receive is kept secure, accurate and up to date and kept only for so long as is necessary for the purposes for which it is used. All access to this information is restricted to office-holders of the committee of The Friends. We do not share your information with any other organisation.
Data Protection (Rights of Access)
You have the right to ask for a copy of the information we hold about you and to have any inaccuracies in your information corrected.
If you wish to exercise these rights, please contact us via the address given above.
We are delighted that the following companies are Sponsors of the Friends of St Eustachius’:
The Bedford Hotel offers luxury bedrooms, award-winning dining, relaxing lounges and a bustling bar – with a very warm welcome always. For wedding receptions, social events or business meetings, we offer a range of well-equipped function rooms, with a professional and experienced team to take care of everything for you.
The Bedford Hotel, 1 Plymouth Road, Tavistock, PL19 8BB.
01822 613221 www.bedford-hotel.co.uk
We stock all categories of books and audiobooks, as well as vinyl records and CDs. We can source all books in print in the UK as well as many American titles. Our range of local titles reflects our strong association with the local community and our commitment to encouraging local authors.
Book Stop, Market Street, Tavistock, PL19 0DA 01822 617244 www.bookstoptavistock.co.uk
We serve only the finest in local produce including our homemade soup of the day, paninis, sandwiches, wraps, homemade burgers, jacket potatoes and freshly prepared salads. We also serve up some of the finest freshly-ground coffee in town. Upstairs you can sink into our sofas and access our free Wifi.
3 Church Lane, Tavistock, PL19 8AA. 01822 612225
We hand-make beautiful, unique boxes to store precious items. Be it a wedding dress or christening gown, essential documents or Grandma’s letters, there is a box to preserve any treasured item, protecting from light, dust, insects and damage for the years ahead, made with special board to prevent yellowing of fabricor papers.
The Empty Box Company
Edgcumbe Farm Cottage, Milton Abbot, Tavistock, PL19 8PY
01306 740193 : www.emptybox.co.uk
THE EXON SINGERS, founded in 1966, is one of the UK’s leading chamber choirs and holds its annual Festival in Tavistock. The choir is known for its dynamic and expressive performances of masterpieces from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic eras, and its commissions from the UK’s most exciting composers.
The Secretary of the Exon Singers, 6 Ashlake Road, London, SW16 2BB. 020 8677 0882 www.exonsingers.org.uk
Fairway Furniture is the South West’s leading independent furniture retailer, with over 160 years’ experience. Visit our stores at Tavistock, Plymouth, Newton Abbot & St Austell for the widest choice of living, dining and bedroom furniture, beds and floor coverings.
FAIRWAY FURNITURE 125 Plymouth Road, Tavistock, PL19 9DT 01822 616051
Chartered Accountants and business advisers PKF Francis Clark has eight offices across the south west of England. PKF UKI which is ranked 11th in the Accountancy Age 2017 survey of top accountancy firms.
FRANCIS CLARK ACCOUNTANTS North Quay House, Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, PL4 0RA 01752 301010 www.pkf-francisclark.co.uk/contact-us/plymouth-office/
The Lawns is a family run Residential Home for up to 12 adults with learning disabilities, providing 24 hour care and support in a family environment. The Lawns is one of the few homes who received an ‘outstanding’ grading for care in their latest CQC report.
The Lawns Residential Care Home, 52 Plymouth Road, Tavistock. 01822 610233
Miller Town & Country is an independent family run company, headed by Matthew Miller, a third generation estate agent, providing a wealth of knowledge in property sales. We cherish and promote traditional moral and professional values.
Miller Town & Country Estate Agents, 2 Drake Road, Tavistock, PL19 0AU
Simon and Lucie Luke of Morris Bros are proud to support St Eustachius’ Church and continue to provide a vital, professional service to the people of Tavistock 24 hours a day.
Please visit our website for information.
Morris Bros Funeral Directors (Tavistock) Ltd, The Old Bedford Foundry, Lakeside, Tavistock, PL19 0AZ 01822 612023 www.morrisbros.co.uk
Mount Kelly combines academic excellence, an outstanding range of opportunities beyond the classroom and exceptional pastoral care. We are a fully co-educational school for children aged between 3 and 18 and offer day, weekly and full boarding.
Mount Kelly, Parkwood Road, Tavistock, PL19 0HZ 01822 813100 www.mountkelly.com
We are an independent Devon cafe and takeaway business. We are open 7 days a week, serving a wide-ranging selection of food including; our range of award winning West Country pasties, freshly filled baguettes, paninis, wraps and delicious homemade cakes made fresh on site.
The Original Pasty House, Bedford House, West Street, Tavistock, PL19 0AD 01822 616003 www.pastyhouse.co.uk
PCC – your stationery shop for home and office. Great prices: Superior service: Over 25,000 stationery and office furniture products available: Many essentials in stock: Delivery service available (fees may apply): Discounts to charities.
PCC Office Supplies Ltd, Unit 5 Pixon Court, Crelake Industrial Estate, Tavistock, PL19 9QB 01822 619639 www.pccofficesupplies.com
St Eustachius’ has a fine peal of ten bells and a team of enthusiastic ringers aged from 16 to over 80. We practise on Tuesday evenings and ring for Sunday services, weddings, New Year and other occasions, and welcome visitors. We are always looking for new ringers!
St Eustachius’ Bellringers, Parish Office, 5a Plymouth Road, Tavistock, PL19 8AU
Friends of St Eustachius’ – 2017
Parish Church Christmas Tree Festival Breaks Records
For the ten-day event the church was filled with trees decorated by groups, businesses, charities and other organisations from all over the area.
Organised by the Friends of St Eustachius’, chairman, John Rea, said: ‘It was absolutely wonderful, in many way our best ever. We are very grateful to the 66 organisations who decorated the trees so beautifully, to the huge number of people who came and to all those who helped with the event, under the inspired leadership of Pat Morrison. Money raised will be used to maintain and enhance the church. Among other things, the Friends will be supporting the repairs of the vestry roofs which will be carried out early next year.’
Vicar, of St Eustachius’ Church, Chris Hardwick said: ‘This has been a truly amazing festival and it has been a delight to welcome so many people to the Church this year. I thank all those involved for making this such an enjoyable and special time. The festival has been a wonderful blessing for us all.’
Festival visitors were asked to vote for their ‘”Favourite Tree” and trophies were awarded in two categories:
Tree Decorated by a School: Winners Tavistock Church Schools Federation, with Tavistock Primary and Nursery School in second place.
Tree decorated by a business or community organisation: In a very close vote, the winner was Roots and Vines, with Tavistock Girl Guides in second place and Tavistock Police, third.
The festival was the first in a year-long programme of exciting events marking the church’s 700th anniversary celebrations, which were officially launched by the vicar, the Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, at the Advent Carol Service on Sunday 3 December.
Photo: Pat Morrison, who led the festival team of workers.
The Friends of St Eustachius’ Grand Summer Fete will take place on Saturday 10 June from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm on the church green.
There will be many stalls including Handicraft, Bric a Brac, Books, and an extensive collection of nearly new clothes.
Our resident plantsman Douglas Housley has been preparing a broad selection of flowers and plants for the day, and Sarah Pendle and Hilary Johnson and their friends have been working throughout the year to put on another fantastic Vintage Green collection of furnishings and homeware.
We’re delighted Eric Cockins will be there with his amazing wood turnings all made from the old church doorposts.
There will also be a tombola and raffle.
Tower Tours. There will be a rare opportunity to climb to the top of the church tower. On the way see the Ringing Chamber, the clock and Carillion mechanisms, the Bell Chamber and amazing views from the top looking over Tavistock.
We hope to welcome as many people from the town as possible.
Friends of St Eustachius’ 2016
The 2016 Christmas Tree Festival
‘…. taking pleasure in the fragrant brilliance of the Christmas tree’
‘…. the glittering rapture, the amazement of the first-remembered Christmas tree’
These extracts from the Ariel poems written by T S Eliot as Christmas gifts, convey something of the beauty of Christmas trees and express sentiments which seem appropriate to the Christmas Tree Festival which took place in the church between Friday 25th November and Sunday 4th December.
This was our eighth Festival, with 62 trees beautifully decorated by local schools, businesses and other organisations. I think that this year’s trees were the best ever, and there is no doubt that the church looked really wonderful. The involvement of the community in the Festival was fantastic, and the atmosphere in the church was absolutely brilliant.
As usual there was a massive vote for the favourite tree, with the following results:
- Tavistock Community Primary and Nursery School whose tree was dedicated to the famous poem ‘A Visit from St Nicholas’ by Clement Clarke Moore
- Whitchurch Community Primary School with their tree, decorated by pupils in Years 1 and 2 with pine cone reindeers
- Pancreatic Cancer Action which raises funds to help improve the diagnosis of and the survival rates from this lethal form of cancer
More than 11,000 people, a record, came to the Festival, and we had more than 3,000 visitors on Dickensian evening. The total income, at £15,700, is also a new record and the final surplus of nearly £12,900 is the second highest ever. The money raised will be used to help maintain and enhance our lovely church, and will make an important contribution to realising the plans for reordering the church on the occasion of its 700th anniversary in 2018.
A huge number of organisations and individuals deserve thanks for their contributions to the Festival, and many contributions have already been acknowledged in the Festival programme. I would, however, like to add some words of thanks to:
- Amanda Randell for the lovely floral decoration which was raffled at the Festival
- Joan Torvell for the donation of the trophy for favourite tree
- Barclays Community Matched Funding for its generous donations
And although it may be invidious to single out individuals from among the huge number of volunteers who made the Festival so enjoyable and successful, I feel that I must mention:
- Pam Hunter and those who made and sold the beautiful handicrafts
- Cathy Sherlock, Barbara Miller, Pat Morrison and everyone involved with the bistro, the café and the sales of marmalades, jams and chutneys
- Sean Sweeney and those who took part in the excellent music programme
- John Collacott whose help with setting up and taking down the trees, running the sound system and with all sorts of other things was invaluable
- And the amazing Pat Morrison who not only masterminded the magnificent Festival, but was a constant encouraging presence in the church throughout the whole event
The Friends are very grateful to all the volunteers, to those who decorated the lovely trees, and to all those who came to the Festival.
The Friends of Eustachius’ Christmas Tree Festival 2016 from Friday 25 November to Sunday 4 December
It is a great pleasure to welcome you to the 2016 Christmas Tree Festival.
This is the eighth Christmas Tree Festival organised by the Friends of St Eustachius’, and the previous seven have been very successful. We have had a total of about 400 trees, decorated by more than 180 local organisations. The Festivals have attracted more than 57,000 visitors and the total amount of money raised after the deduction of expenses is about £65,000. All the Festivals have been great fun, but I think that last year’s Festival was probably the best ever, with magnificent community involvement, and a wonderful atmosphere in the church. And it is entirely possible that this year’s Festival will be better still: all we need is lots of visitors [last year we had about 10,200, a new record], donating lots of money, and having a great time.
This year’s Festival runs from Friday 25 November until Sunday 4 December. The grand opening by the Mayor of Tavistock, Councillor Mrs Mandy Ewings, will take place on the day of the Dickensian Evening, and the end of the Festival will coincide with the lovely Christingle Service in the church. And as well as the beautifully decorated trees, there will be a programme of music in the church throughout the Festival, delicious food and drink will be served, and homemade chutneys and marmalade and many other items will be on sale.
The Christmas Tree Festival is particularly relevant to the aims of the Friends, not only helping us to raise money for our beautiful Church, but also involving many local organisations and individuals in something that is worthwhile and good fun.
The Festivals depend on the hard work of a lot of people, and this year’s Festival will once again involve contributions from a very large number of hardworking volunteers. I am very grateful to the volunteers and to Pat Morrison and her organising committee. And a really big thank you goes to the 60 organisations who have decorated the lovely trees.
And finally, thank you all for coming: I hope that you will have a great time at the 2016 Christmas Tree Festival.
The Friends of St Eustachius’ aim is to preserve and beautify this church for generations to come.
This article aims to bring you up to date with what the Friends have been doing so far this year, and to let you know what our plans for the rest of the year look like.
Events Held So Far
The Quiz held on 30 January and organised by Hugh Walkington was greatly enjoyed by all those present and raised just under £340.
The EBay Auction, which took place in April and May, was organised by Chris Dicker, a member of the Friends. The auction produced a surplus of just over £150 after the deduction of commission and postage. We are very grateful to Chris and to all those who donated items for the auction.
The Grand Summer Fete was held in the churchyard on Saturday 18 June. We were blessed with good weather, the atmosphere was great, and the involvement of the local community most encouraging. There were many wonderful things on offer, and there is insufficient space to mention all of them, but I did particularly enjoy the view from the top of the tower, and seeing all the happy faces of people buying and selling, chatting, listening to the lovely music, eating, drinking, and bouncing, and displaying the wonders of face painting. The Fete raised the magnificent sum of £2454.98, taking the total raised at our seven summer fetes to just under £15,000. Thanks are due to the great host of people who contributed to the running of the Fete and especially to Judy Hirst who organised the event.
Dates of Future Events
- Sunday 18 September: Patronal Festival, AGM and Cream Tea
- Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October: Art Exhibition and Competition [more details below]
- Saturday 15 October: Shakespeare Supper and Entertainment
Friday 25 November to Sunday 4 December: Christmas Tree Festival
We have recently donated £400 towards the start-up costs of Messy Church, and £1000 to the PCC for the purchase of small items. We have also agreed to meet 50% of the architect’s and surveyor’s fees for the drawing up of proposals for the reordering of the church, and we stand ready to support the major fabric project being planned for the 700th anniversary of the dedication of the church.
The Art Competition
The Friends are organising an art exhibition and competition to mark the 700th anniversary of the dedication of the church. This will be the first of many events which are being planned for the anniversary, and appropriately, the subject of the competition is the church or any part of it.
The Exhibition of paintings will be held on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October in Gallery 26 of the Bedford Hotel.
The competition will be in three classes:
Junior [under 13 on 1st September 2016]: no entry fee; a prize of £20 will be awarded to the best three entries selected by a panel of judges.
Senior [between 13 and 18 on 1st September 2016]: no entry fee; a prize of £50 will be awarded to the best entry selected by a panel of judges.
Adult [age 19 and over on 1st September 2016]: entry fee, £5 each for up to four paintings; prize of £100 awarded to the painting voted best by the public.
We have already received great support from local schools and from art groups including Drawn to the Valley and the Tavistock Group of Artists, and I know that a number of paintings have already been completed, including one which is so beautiful that I bought it!
We would love to have a large entry from members of the church, so please get going as soon as possible and, if you would like further information, please contact:
- John Rea email@example.com
- Hugh Walkington firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dick Eberlie email@example.com
I hope that you agree that it has been a busy and exciting year so far and that more enjoyment and fun lie ahead.
John Rea (Chairman of the Friends)
To join the Friends, please contact Canon Dr John Rea on 613420, Tony Sherlock on 617269 (Treasurer) or complete one of the forms in church and place it in the box for payment and donations.