On Thursday 5th December we held our annual Christmas Fayre and Late Night Shopping event. The lights came on, the people came out and Father Christmas found time in his busy schedule to pay us a visit, and to top it all off we had a dry, mild evening.
To put on such an event involves a lot of planning and the input of a huge cast of players.
Thanks are due to Chudleigh Parish Council and the Town Hall staff for supporting the whole event. The Town Hall staff are absolute stars, they go above and beyond to help and advise.
Thank you to Paul Wimsett for allowing us to use the Church for the children’s concert which kicked off the evening in great style. The Chudleigh Church community who turned out to help the friends and family find a seat in the packed out pews, and to Nick Tuckett and the bell ringing team for the peal of bells that greeted us as we exited the Church.
Chudleigh Primary School has been involved in lots of aspects of the Fayre. In the weeks running up to the event, we had an art competition on the theme of “The night before Christmas”. Jacob Smethhurst, Amy Cole and Bobbly Hackett were worthy winners in the three age categories. Many thanks to Karen Bushell and Bridget Holland for judging the entries.
The concert in the Church involved Year 6 and Key Stage 1 children who sang their hearts out and enchanted us all. Our thanks go to the children and to the staff who found time in their busy school lives to rehearse and deliver a lovely programme of Christmas music.
The School has been working towards a fairtrade award and as part of this process baked some cookies using Fair-trade ingredients to sell at the Fayre.
The School Council also had the job of deciding which shop window was going to win the Children’s Choice Window Award. After much deliberation they chose Diamond Cut.
MP Warren staff also had to choose a shop window for the Business Guild Shop Window prize – the honours this year have gone to Sangers.
Well done to both of these businesses.
(May I also say here how lovely I think the town is looking, all the shops have put the boat out this year and I am glad I did not have to choose a winner.)
The road marshals who advise motorists on routes around the town whilst the road is closed fulfil a vital role in the success of the night. Without them we could not function. Thank you to all the team and to MaryAnne MacFarlane and Thierry Hacq for coordinating it.
Thanks also to Adrian Martin who does all the legal bits for the road closure, putting up signs and cones ensuring the safety aspects are covered.
The lights themselves are put up by Torbay Display, but powered by very generous businesses and individuals in Fore Street. Thanks to Jo and Eddie in the Post Office, Tracey and Ian at The Phoenix, the boys in the flat at the Launderette, the Mason’s at the DIY, and to Pet’s Corner.
The Christmas trees are given to the town by Ugbrooke Estates (War Memorial) and Haldon Forest (Church); the decorations at the memorial are added by Rosie and Phil Larkins. Thank you to all of these people.
Fortunately our first aiders were not called upon to administer to anyone but thank you to Adrian Martin and Malcolm Grose for being on hand during the evening.
The Chudleigh Carnival Committee are closely involved with the planning of the evening and we are very grateful to them for the loan of the Carnival Float, which was parked beside the Ship Inn and used as an entertainment platform. Gina Sherwood did her thing and put together a wonderful programme of local acts and a choir from Bovey Tracey. Thank you to everyone who performed and to Gina. The Ship Inn provided the power for the sound and we thank them too.
Father Christmas led the Parade from the Church to the Town Square as the lights came on along Fore Street. Thank you Father Christmas for coming to Chudleigh to see all the children, and we loved the Elves who came along to help him. The Carnival Queen looked beautiful as she joined the Parade too.
The lanterns that shone out in the Parade were the brainchild of Leah Stirrat and looked amazing.
Leah also designed the Angels for the Angel Trail competition, members of the U3A craft group made the individual Angels. Thank you to all of them. They are fabulous and if you missed them pop along to the Vet’s window.
The Angel Trail competition was won by Joseph and Thomas Moule.
Father Christmas’ Grotto was put together by a dedicated team of helpers, many of whom turn up every year assemble it all. Thanks are due to Dick Marks, Derek Smith, James Bushell, Gary Harris, David Lillington, Chris and Liz Webb as well as members of the Chudfest committee
The Pound A Pop raffle was drawn by Martin Tinkler, our Mayor and won by Rebekah Smith who was delighted to win £153. Our gratitude goes to The Globe, The Ship, The Bishop Lacey, The Constitutional Club, The Phoenix, Dandelion and Diamond Cut for selling the envelopes in the weeks running up to the Fayre.
The Craft Fayre was held in the Town Hall and the Youth Club. The task of booking in the stalls is done by Sharon Nickels who juggles all the requests and never fails to have an excellent range of stalls on offer. Many thanks Sharon.
Geoff Curtis looks after the food retailers on the Town Hall forecourt and doesn’t get home until very late after the Fayre is finished, a big thank you Geoff.
The Phoenix Hand bell Ringers delighted stallholders and shoppers with their performance in the Youth Club this year. Thank you ringers.
There were more musical performances in the Library from the Tena Ladies and the Shantymen. These two groups always put on engaging and entertaining shows, thank you to all of you and to Jill Hughes and her team at the Library.
This year for the first time we had some sponsorship, from Atkins Ferrie, and took the opportunity to get some new Grotto decorations to make Father Christmas feel at home.
The Variety Concert in October is a big fundraiser for the Lights Fund and that wouldn’t happen without Lisa Smith and Gina Sherwood, well done ladies.
The Christmas Fayre brochure is edited by Nicky Over, the advertising space is sold by Doug Neely and this year the brochure was delivered by members of the main Chudfest Committee. All of this work goes on behind the scenes and massive thanks are due to all of these people and to the businesses who advertise in the brochure.
I cannot finish this piece without mention of the Chudfest Christmas Lights Committee which works hard throughout much of the year to put the evening together, so Nicky, Lisa, Sue, Leah, Douglas, Annie, Gary, MaryAnne and Thierry a very big thank you, you are a great team!
Thank you Chudleigh for coming out to support the Chudleigh Christmas Fayre and a very Merry Christmas to everyone.
Chair of the Chudfest Christmas Lights Committee 2019.