Unlocking the potential of the Villages of Culture

After thirteen unlucky weeks without the sound of music being heard in the villages the singers finally met together in the orchard at Walsgrove Farm to exercise their vocal chords. They had waited for months until government regulations enabled them to meet in relative safety, and so, outside, on a warm sunny summer's evening, socially distanced at three metres apart, the singers stood on their appointed spots to sing the songs that reminded them of happier times before lockdown. They began with the singing group's favourite, “Streets of London” by Ralph McTell and continued with songs appropriate to the rural setting, “An English Country Garden” and “I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing” with its orchard references to “apple trees and honey bees”. Singing in the open air, when socially distanced from fellow singers, produces more challenges than you might expect as you're competing with the local bird song which appeared to rise in volume with the threat of competition. Then there is the man made noise of the traffic on the A44 which usually declines in decibel level in an evening but not on this occasion. Yet despite all the difficulties people had a good time and after the singing enjoyed talking to villagers that they had not met with since the middle of March.

Unusual times call for unusual ideas, thinking outside the box and releasing people's potential to think imaginatively. The cancellation of the White Ladies Village Fete was a major blow to church funds, as it was for many rural communities across the country. As the main fundraising event for the local church, creative ideas had to be considered to replace the much needed money. So it was that the Zoom Auction was launched. The event was advertised across the villages, about 60 lots were collected and publicised in an online brochure and people who wished to take part were invited to attend the auction on Friday 3rd July. No one knew what would happen but in two hours participants had fun and over £1000 was raised, so a big thank you to all who took part. A second auction, to be held on the 18th September will raise money for both White Ladies Aston church and Macmillan Cancer Support.

A “Dress for Less” event is planned for later in September where there will be a chance to purchase quality pre loved clothing and accessories at affordable prices.

In readiness for the unlocking of the Parish Room for community and cultural events the time of lockdown has been used to redecorate and improve the facilities of the building. A defibrillator has been purchased and attached to the outside wall, slabs have been laid to improve access, trees and hedges have been trimmed and the building repainted inside and out.

Even the mascoteers have been unlocked to have a more normal existence. Sister Sarah has started travelling again, visiting Devon and Cornwall, Brother Churchill is enjoying the start of a summer of cricket and Sister Aston is about to be released from lockdown in Bulgaria.

If you would like to get further information about any of the events, please contact margaret.haywood@gmail.com or visit bit.ly/villages-together