The Friends’ of St Eustachius’ Prayer
Blessed and gracious God, who inspired those of earlier generations to build this house of prayer,
we give thanks for the skills of builders and craftsmen
and for all those who have contributed over many centuries to its life.
May it continue to be a place of worship to your glory and of prayer,
for all in sorrow and in joy; a continual sign of your presence in the life of our community.
Bless those who maintain it and seek to enrich it, making us one in heart and mind;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Christmas Tree Festival a Growing Success Story
(November 2023 article by Juliette Bowers)
Tavistock Parish Church’s Christmas Tree Festival is at the heart of the community, so it’s no wonder that in this, its 14th year, it goes from strength to strength.
Since its first year in 2010, the event has raised a total £157,000 towards the fabric and beautification of the 13th century church and attracted thousands of people from far and while. It has become integral to the town’s ever popular Dickensian Evening, opening on the same day, and such is its popularity that it runs for ten days. The church is always a stunning sight, each year packed with some 60 beautifully decorated trees, sponsored and decorated by community groups, schools, charities, businesses and organisations from all over the region.
As its organisers, The Friends of St Eustachius’ are busy preparing for this year’s opening on Friday, December 1. It is a sobering thought that the event, regarded as a household name across the region, only came about through the inspiration of a few church ladies back in 2009. Pat Morrison, who became organiser, Cathy Sherlock, one of the Friends back then, and the late Joan Torvell (who was church historian) visited the Xmas Tree Festival at Crediton Parish Church (which is still running) and were so impressed, they determined to organise one at Tavistock.
Pat explained: ‘We thought we could do a mini-tree festival as a good fund-raiser, though the vicar at the time, Michael Brierley, was concerned it would upstage Gulworthy’s mini-event and needed some convincing. I pointed out how much money Crediton had made and it went ahead.
‘He started to realise what an outreach it was to the community. Before, many people never stepped inside the church.’
For the early festivals the ladies recall trapsing through the Xmas trees at the Rising Sun Nurseries, near Callington, and tying ribbons on their chosen ones. ‘The first year we had 46 in total, standing on tables. It was quite nerve-wracking getting up there to decorate them; everything wobbled,’ recalled Pat.
Nearly 3,000 people attended the event, approximately a third compared with more recent years. Cathy remembers doing refreshments in the Parish Centre, which she said were not very successful as the centre was too far away.
‘We did sandwiches,’ Pat reminded her. ‘Then we used the church tower, though it was jolly cold in there.’
Another year they did soup outside the church and decorated the churchyard with tealights in jam jars – ‘though it rained and they all went out,’ chuckled Cathy.
Despite trial and error, the first festival raised £5,907, of which £4,000 was profit. How could they not organise another? It was agreed that the event would run under the auspices of the Friends of St Eustachius’, chaired back then and for many years by Canon John Rea. Pat wasn’t a member and joined. Like Cathy, husband Tony was, being treasurer back then, and he still is.
Pat recalls her first duties being opening the post and other secretarial work. She has come a long way since then, taking on the role of festival organiser, the post she still holds today. She has become so well respected that she is known to Xmas tree exhibitors as “Tavistock royalty”!
Judy Hirst, a key member of the Friends since 2008, recalled in the early days of the festival taking photos of the trees and putting them on to cards. ‘We used to turn them round in a day.’ She explained how a few years later, Vintage Green, the church craft group, started running their popular handicrafts stall and still do today, donating every penny they raise.
The ladies explained how over the years the setting up of the festival had become much slicker. There is now a dedicated Xmas tree gang, including electrician John Collacott, who also does the sound system. Pat recalled in the early days the trees only having battery lights and exhibitors having to take their own tree stands.
Today, the spruces come from Lukesland Farms, near Ivybridge, and are delivered by lorry with the much-appreciated help of Tavistock Town Council workmen. The trestles, stored in the barn of the PCC treasurer, James Teague, are used to display the trees, and Nick Clark, head of the church fabric committee, organises their setting up.
Pat remembers some “very inventive trees”. ‘One year the town fire station hung a hosepipe over theirs and with the weight it fell down!’ – fortunately, no-one was injured.
She has always organised the Xmas tree entries, which come from a cross section of the community, and demand continues to grow. ‘I have to keep a waiting list as a lot of new people come into the festival and are so impressed, they ask for a tree next year.’
Realising how much visitors enjoyed viewing the trees, the organisers now invite them to vote for their favourite and prizes are awarded to the winning exhibitors.
The Friends are all too aware that their much-needed helpers are ageing. ‘The help on offer is not so much as it was and it is older. We need more stewards to help in church during the festival,’ said Pat, mentioning a list at the back of the church for people to sign if they are willing to lend a hand.
Chairman of the organising Friends of St Eustachius’, Ann Johnson said, ‘It is only through the generosity of the people of Tavistock and surrounding areas, exhibiting Christmas trees, assisting with the festival and visiting the event with their families and friends, that the festival goes from strength to strength. We owe them enormous thanks for their part in helping preserve our beautiful parish church for future generations.’
The Chairman’s End of Year Letter
Dear Friends and Sponsors,
I am writing this annual letter slightly earlier than usual, for reasons which will become clear later on.
You will well remember how our planned activities for 2020 had to be largely cancelled and I know your own personal plans would have been similarly affected. We had hoped that in 2021 life would have returned to some form of normality and that the pandemic would have reduced markedly. Fortunately the vaccination programme did start to have a significant effect as the year progressed and we had high hopes we would hold the Summer Fete in June. In the event the return to normal life was delayed and it wasn’t till later that the fete did actually take place.
Despite considerable trepidation and several re-writes of the risk assessment, the fete did finally go ahead on the 7th August. My thanks must go to all those who put considerable effort into getting the event off the ground. This includes all the stall holders, the tent helpers and the tea makers and of course those who attended. The day itself was hindered by some very indifferent weather, but nonetheless £2,500 was raised and perhaps more importantly it showed that life was opening up again and the Friends were once more up and running.
Continuing concerns over covid resulted in a number of lesser events being put on hold for this year, though we did run a successful golf tournament.
We are however planning to run the Christmas Tree Festival once again, we have sponsorship for sixty trees and by the time you receive this letter all should be in place for what we hope will be a festive and joyous event. The opening ceremony by the Mayor of Tavistock, along with St Peter’s school choir, is on the afternoon of Friday 3rd and we will be open well into the evening on what is also Dickensian Evening. Once again Vintage Green will be selling their creations and homemade marmalade and chutney will be available. The festival runs until Sunday 12th December finishing with the Christingle service.
The enforced shut down of many church activities has resulted in the Parish Centre being largely out of action. One positive consequence of this has been the opportunity for work to continue largely unhindered on its refurbishment. This entailed far more work than was originally envisaged, but everything was completed by August. The venue is now available both for church groups and also outside functions. A pop up Italian Restaurant has already made good use of it and we hope this will lead to many more events and also a much needed income stream. This was all made possible by the generous bequest from Enid Williams who was a staunch supporter of both the church and the Friends. We hope it will be a lasting tribute to her.
The eventual cost of the refurbishment was more than first planned, and the loss of events, particularly the summer fete and Christmas Tree Festival of 2020, has meant the available funds for financial support to the church has been hugely reduced. For the future we wish to restart our support of the project to install a galley and toilets in the back of the church. We have already donated £75,000 to this but are keen to help with others in raising sufficient money to be able to let a building contract once the diocese has given its final approval. In the past we have also provided funds for the church building insurance and the general maintenance budget. We continue to debate how we can best support this as well as supporting the new project.
Membership has remained very constant as have our sponsors. We are of course indebted to both groups for their continued support, without which it would be nigh impossible to run properly. The membership of the Committee has remained largely the same for many years, but it was with great pleasure that in the summer we welcomed Anne Johnson to our ranks. Anne of course is a serving Councillor and has been Mayor of the Town four times. Her experience and input will be of tremendous benefit to the Friends.
I said at the start of my letter that there was good reason for writing it early this year. I do need to make you aware that at the AGM in January both I and Judy Hirst will be standing down from the committee, although not from Friends’ events. Judy in particular has been a stalwart of the committee and the Friends’ activities for many years and will be sorely missed. The appointment of people to the various specific positions of responsibility will be voted on at the AGM which is due on Sunday 30th January after the morning service.
I remain hugely grateful to all the committee members for reacting to the last two years in such a positive and upbeat manner, the committee remains in good hands. I would also like to thank our clergy and church wardens for their ready support and allowing us to be able to plan events which have the potential to disrupt the normal routines of the church.
Despite the latest covid concerns being voiced this week I do have some confidence that the Friends of St Eustachius will be able to run more normally in 2022. We hope to see you at our events and we remain grateful to all those who help us in our endeavours to improve and enhance our church.
I wish you and you families a very joyous Christmas,
Chairman of the Friends of St. Eustachius
The Friends of St Eustachius’
Minutes of the Annual General Meeting Committee Meeting held on Thursday 28 January 2021 at 6.30pm via Zoom
The Chairman, Rick Crawford, welcomed the Vicar, Chris Hardwick and 10 other committee members to the meeting.
Apologies: Yve Chesters
Minutes of the last AGM:
Accepted as accurate.
Rick presented his report (attached).
He commented on the strange year we have had, which started so well with Hugh’s successful quiz, but which was then affected by the corona lockdowns. There have been a few positives: £300 made from selling the marmalade destined for the tree festival, the alternative TreeFest organised by the church and the associated Christmas Tree Trail in the town, and the progress in the plans for the refurbishment of the parish centre – work is due to start imminently.
Monies transferred to the PCC:
£5,000 – church maintainance. £1,750 – urgent roof repairs. £25,000 – galley and toilets project.
Membership stands at 254, with 14 sponsors who have been offered a payment holiday.
He thanked the committee and the ministry team for their unswerving support during this difficult time.
Tony Sherlock summarised his report (attached). Current balance is c£58,000.
He thanked Simon Hirst for auditing the accounts.
Chris thanked the Friends for all their support. This has been a very difficult year, but things have been going on, as mentioned by Rick. None of them could have happened without input from the Friends.
Election of Officers:
Rick stated his willingness to continue as Chairman.
Proposed by Sue Maclaren, seconded by Hugh Walkington, and accepted unanimously.
The following officers have stated their willingness to continue in post:-
Judy Hirst – Deputy Chairman
Tony Sherlock – Treasurer
Pat Morrison – Secretary
Hugh Walkington – Membership Secretary, Sponsorship Secretary
Rick proposed that they be elected en bloc; passed unanimously.
and all other members, Sue Maclaren, Andra MacDougall, John Collacott, Sibylle Brock,
Yve Chesters, Addy Varley and Wendy Roderick are willing to continue and were duly elected.
Programme of forthcoming events:
Saturday 26 June: Summer Fete in the churchyard – Judy has started making plans
October – Ceilidh
December 3 – Christmas Tree festival
Quiz in the parish centre (fingers crossed!)
Date of next meeting: 2021 AGM – Sunday 30 January 2022
The meeting closed at 7.10pm.
The Friends of St Eustachius’ has members from the South Pacific to the South Hams, from Tucson to Tavistock, all united in their love for the building and their desire to see it preserved and enhanced for future generations to use and enjoy. Membership stands currently at around 250. There are three categories of membership: Individual (currently £10 per year), Joint (currently £15 per year) or Family (currently £20 per year). Life Membership is currently available in return for a one-off payment of £100. If you are interested in joining the Friends, please make contact via email@example.com .
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’ – 2019
Publican’s Xmas Tree Entry will be Full of Cheer!
LICENCEE Tony Fey is putting his creative talents to work for Tavistock Parish Church’s Xmas Tree Festival, which opens on Friday 29 November.
Tony’s tree, representing his pub, the Tavistock Inn, in Brook Street, will be one of 65 entries from town traders, local groups, charities and other organisations. Without revealing too much about his design until the unveiling, he said it would be “more of a gin n’ tonic tree” with Betty Boo as the fairy!
A former Chelsea School of Art student, Tony found himself drawn to Tavistock through his love of William Morris, having first visited the town to view the celebrated 19th century designer’s window above St Eustachius’ Church’s altar.
Tony, an Independent town councillor who represents Tavistock North Ward, said: ‘I enjoy entering a tree because it is a chance to be creative and I like to support local causes. It also brings together local groups in one place.’
The publican’s artistic flair made its mark on the town three Christmases ago when he won the Best Window Display and his community spirit is reflected in his fund-raising at the Tavistock Inn, where his pub quizzes are raising money for a defibrillator outside ATS in Parkwood Road.
Judy Hannaford-Hirst, speaking for the Xmas Tree Festival organisers, The Friends’ of St Eustachius’, said over the past ten years the Friends had raised more than £100,000 towards enhancing and maintaining the church fabric.
‘We are looking forward to our eleventh festival and welcoming people to view the 65 individually decorated trees, which will look spectacular set in the beautiful surroundings of the church’.
Running daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, the event is to be opened by town mayor, Councillor Anne Johnson, at 2.30 pm with singing by St Rumon’s School choir. On sale will be home-made marmalades, chutneys, Christmas gifts and refreshments. There will be a particularly warm welcome to visitors on the night of the town’s Dickensian Evening on Friday 6 December. The event closes on Sunday 8 December with the Christingle Service at 4 pm.
PHOTO: Tony Fey with his entry at last year’s Christmas Tree Festival.
The Friends of St Eustachius’ Summer Fete
VISITORS were out in force to support St Eustachius’ tenth annual Summer Fete, raising a record £3,217 towards church funds, on Saturday 29 June.
Perfect weather blessed the event on the Church Green, which was opened by deputy town mayor, Councillor Andy Hutton. A variety of stalls included handicrafts by church group Vintage Green, woodturning gifts by Eric Cockings, jewellery, nearly new clothes, plants, bric-a-brac, books and CDs, tombola and raffles. A hot dogs and burgers barbecue did a roaring trade, as did the cakes and refreshments marquee, while children enjoyed fishing for a duck and a bouncy castle.
Thanking people for their support, Rick Crawford, chairman of the organisers, The Friends of St Eustachius’, said: ‘I was delighted with the record amount raised and equally delighted to see so many families from both Tavistock and beyond enjoying the day’.
Please do click on Church Gallery on the home page or on this link to view photographs of the Summer Fete.
All Set for The Friends of St Eustachius’ Tenth Annual Summer Fete
CELEBRATING their tenth annual Summer Fete for Tavistock Parish Church, the Friends of St Eustachius’ will be offering an exciting array of stalls and attractions on the Church Green on Saturday 29 June from 10.30 am to 3.30 pm.
The event is to be opened by town mayor, Councillor Mrs Anne Johnson, and stalls will include gifts by wood-turner Eric Cockings, craft items by talented sewers “Vintage Green”, plants, books, CDs, cakes, pre-loved clothing and white elephant. Children’s attractions will include a bouncy castle and for everyone there will be delicious refreshments, among them hot dogs and burgers, coffees, teas and home-made cakes.
Vice chairman of The Friends, Judy Hannaford-Hirst said, ‘Previous fetes have all been very successful, great fun and in total have raised well in excess of £20,000. All the monies raised by The Friends of St Eustachius’ go towards enhancing and beautifying the fabric of the church’.
If wet, the fete will be held inside the church.
Photo: Joining in the spirit of last year’s Summer Fete is the Reverend Mike Loader, assistant priest at St Eustachius’, and John Rea, who recently stepped down as chairman of The Friends after ten years service.
The Friends have a number of exciting events planned for 2019. These include:
Saturday 9 February – Quiz night with light supper in the parish centre.
Saturday 29 June – Summer Fete in the churchyard
July (date to be finalised) – Golf Tournament at Tavistock Golf Club
Saturday 7 September – 007 Themed Dinner
Saturday 9 November (to be confirmed) – Wine Tasting and Supper at the Bedford Hotel
Friday 29 November – Sunday 8 December – Christmas Tree Festival
Friends of St Eustachius’ – 2018
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
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hugh Walkington email@example.com
- Dick Eberlie firstname.lastname@example.org
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.