As I write this Easter Sunday is just a few days away when many will have enjoyed visits from family and friends. Others may be on holiday for a longer period and we welcome them and hope they will enjoy the delights of the area. Despite the turbulent weather we sometimes experience nature delights in reminding us that warmer weather will soon be here as colourful Spring flowers, blossoms and budding leaves brighten our days. The name 'Baloo' brings back for hundreds fond memories of their Scouting days and many were sadden to hear of the death, on 2nd March, of Phyllis Salter who had spent 31 years working with our local Cubs and Scouts. Their affection for her was displayed when her coffin was carried into Church by four members of the Movement. Phyllis was born in Clayhidon but moved to Hemyock where she attended school. She married Leonard at St Mary's in 1945, moved to Eastlands in 1949 where they lived for 59 years. Her working life began at Easterlands, a large estate at Sampford Arundel. Phyl also worked at Whitehall and the Catherine Wheel and spent 17 years at Culmhead Radio Station. She will be sadly missed by her two children, four grandchildren, seven grandchildren and many friends.
Leonard, Ray and Juliet would like to thank everyone who attended their beloved wife and mum's funeral service, for the cards and for donations received in lieu of flowers for St Margaret's Hospice. Special thanks to Rev Tony Grosse, Martin Pring and Geoff at the Catherine Wheel for all their help.
The death of Barbara Finch (nee Pike) was a great shock. Although she and Cyril had left the village some time ago she still had family and many friends in the parish.
John and Chris Sharp write about their friend Tom Whitehead, who lived at Castle Park until returning to the north of England to be near family a year or so ago. Tom, a heavy transport driver with United Builders Merchants, moved to the West Country with his wife Joan in the early 1970's where he set up and ran an HGV driving school. When the two couples became friends they discovered they shared many interests including caravanning and photography, the latter leading them to form the Hemyock Film and Photo Club. John writes they have many happy memories of their times together as will other friends in the village.
Condolences and love are sent to all the bereaved.
Amongst the various folk who are or have been unwell we mention Dorothy and Tony Howsam, Margaret and Alan Craig, Tom Devonshire, Norman Leighton, Geraldine Marke, Tim Hannaford, Babs Heaseman, Clifford Bowyer and Nick Jones. It is good to see those who have recovered from illness out and about again. There are many who will remember Mary Parsons (nee Perrott) her family would welcome your prayers as she is very unwell.
As St Mary's is the parish church it was good that the recent meeting to discuss possible alterations to the building welcomed people from outside the regular congregation. Having had the opportunity to hear everyone's opinion we now await with interest to see what decisions the Church Council make.
No doubt many enjoyed taking part in the Easter walk organised by the Baptist Chapel. It's good to see this community event so well supported each year. Talking of walking on April 20th it will be the turn of our Scout Group to lead the annual St Georges Day Parade at Tiverton. It is always a welcome sight watching so many uniformed youngsters from the area parading through the town. They are always a real credit to the Scout and Guide Associations, their families, leaders but most importantly to themselves.
As more and more villagers welcome French friends and with the official Twinning ceremony soon to take place many hope this is something that will continue to flourish as we continue to learn more about each others countryside and customs.
Congratulations to Meg and David Palmer on the birth of their second grandchild, Elliot - a second child for Nathan and Hazel.
My thanks to Chris Dracott for answering the question I asked last time about why Rev J de Forbes spent time in Russia.
From my Deanery Book some snippets for those interested in village history: 10th March 1643 - the surrender of Hemyock Castle to the Royalists took place 1909 : 34 births were registered in the parish "It is many years since there was such a fine crop of little strangers"
April - Culm Davy Chapel afternoon services moved from 2.30pm to a 3pm start. On Good Friday, the previous year, 70 people had attended the evening service.
Easter Monday - an entertainment, with many items contributed by children, raised money for the Village Lighting Fund.
Sunday after Easter - a 'flower and egg' service was held at the Parish Church. 'This resulted in 30 dozen eggs, besides flowers, being sent to the inmates of Exeter, Taunton and Wellington hospitals'.
The custom of taking eggs to an Easter service to be distributed to local hospitals continued at St Mary's certainly up to the mid 1950's as I well remember. Health and Safety would never let us get away with it today!
Another Eastertime tradition begun by Stanley Powell, Headteacher at Hemyock in the 1950's saw children picking primroses from the hedgerows (something else we can no longer do) which were then turned into posies and delivered to a London hospital to be distributed to patients.
It was also interesting to read that a lantern lecture on the Church's work in Uganda was given in Spring 1910. As many will know the village still has links with Uganda with Brian and Sheila Pretty having made another visit there in recent past weeks.
As always lots of events happening in the coming weeks and we hope those new to the village will come and enjoy coming along to some of them and meet those who have lived here awhile.
Your news is always welcome.