With their twinkling lights, friendly volunteers and wealth of local knowledge, our village shops have been a lifeline during lockdown, offering deliveries or a phone and collect service for the most vulnerable. In her round up of these vibrant little stores, local resident Rebecca Smith discovers not just a huge range of essentials, but a treasure trove of Christmas gifts and goodies, many of them locally made.
Crediton Parish Church’s famous Christmas Tree Festival, which attracts thousands of visitors each year, could not go ahead this year for obvious reasons. But to keep the spirit of this joyous event alive, the Church has posted pictures of Christmas trees around the town as part of a festive Treasure Trail. Our picture editor Nancy Murgatroyd reports on Crediton’s historic link with the Christmas tree tradition and shares some stunning images of previous Christmas Tree Festivals.
St Swithun’s Church in Sandford has won an award for encouraging wildlife and people to enjoy its churchyard. It all started three years ago when the Church was given an extra piece of land and a team of volunteers got together to make the churchyard more environmentally friendly. They are delighted to be runners up in the Best Devon Churchyard Competition but, as team member Jean Hope explains, the rewards go way beyond winning a prize.
This time of year is usually filled with spooky Halloween discos, dressing-up and trick or treating. All is not lost though! Local mum Charlie Richards has rounded up a few ghastly Halloween themed things to do in and around Crediton to keep the spirit alive.
If you live in Crediton, or are visiting the shops, you will have probably noticed a new look to the town square. Twelve picnic tables with parasols were installed in early July, to provide a safe space for people to take a break, meet friends and catch up. Share in the Square was a Town Team initiative, to help raise morale and bring vitality back to the town centre. But its impact has far exceeded expectations, as Town Team Chair Rosemary Stephenson explains.
The blogs on our website reflect local life in very special ways. We all know our lives have changed over the last few months and some of our blog writers tell the story of their own challenges and responses. Our picture editor, Nancy Murgatroyd, picks some highlights from our most recent postings.
One of the key ways that church has always been expressed is when people gather together for worship each Sunday. Yet with the buildings closed for many weeks, churches have remained very much alive. Here Sarah Preece describes how Crediton Congregational Church adapted to lockdown and reflects on what really makes church what it is…and it’s clearly not the building!
One local woman has found a novel way to raise awareness about racism – by walking 140 miles around Mid Devon. Tsara Smith has a full time job, but has spent every weekend since early July walking and speaking to the people she meets about racial inequality, encouraging them to learn more about the topic and to donate to an anti-racist charity. Although Devon is a predominantly white county, says Tsara, people of colour are still experiencing racism in our midst.
Young musicians at Chulmleigh Community College have found a way to keep playing together in lockdown, whilst dedicating their performance to key workers and supporting a children’s charity. Their performance of the timeless classic Lean On Me by Bill Withers has so far had over 7000 views online and raised nearly £600 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, as Head of Music James Cookson explains.
If you’ve a birthday coming up, or are gift-shopping during lockdown, there are lots of options for shopping locally. Local marketing expert Charlie Richards has put together a range of ideas that make brilliant gifts and support our local businesses.