Newsletter, 5th February 2005

A Belated Happy New Year to you All!

Last month's Newsletter
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So dear friends, here we are again with a brand new year ahead of us and a nice clean broad sheet to work from !

I'm sure that we were all saddened by the news of the earthquake and flood disaster that occurred in the far east over Christmas - It just goes to prove that nature although a good friend, can also be a fearsome enemy whenever it chooses.

It seems to me that there is nearly always a disaster of sorts every Christmas whether it be a train crash, a plane crash, or some other unhappy occurrence to make us all think again. That is why we are now trying to help in some small way by raising some cash to help assist those deserving folk who have lost everything.

We cannot do this alone, and we hope that you, our good friends, can help us to do this.

Those of you who we were able to reach either by telephone, email, and word of mouth, have already bought tickets or made donations towards the Grand Country Ceilidh and Concert being held at Sainsbury's on 11th February. Appearing will be the 'Bloatertown Country Dance Band' and your own 'Hearts of Oak' so Thanks to all of you.....

Unfortunately we do not have all your contact numbers and addresses so maybe it would be an idea to let Kath have your telephone numbers, at least so that we can let you know of any urgent news (Not that we wish this type of disaster to occur again!) I bet none of us knew what the word 'Tsunami' meant until Boxing day . Now, EVERYONE KNOWS.

Since Christmas there have been many good people shaking collection boxes in our direction, and no doubt you have felt the need to help with whatever money you could spare. Tony Piper and Paul Jaggers (Bloatertown) went one further and had the idea that the combination of both of our groups could combine to give great pleasure to all our fans and raise some funds for this worthwhile charity, and I'm sure that we can discuss it a great length at 'The Aggi' on Saturday evening. Suffice to say that everyone pays to get in to the Ceilidh, even the bands and the helpers. There will also be a 'Bring and Share' supper. Not only but also, Sainsbury's are letting us have the hall free! It will be a good night for certain. The sad thing is that all the tickets( as I have said), "all tickets are sold" ! although any contributions you would like to give us would be welcome. Should there be any cancellations then you can always try (01271) 345730 to see if you stand a chance of getting in. We are limited to 200 tickets - ...SORRY !

We held our AGM a couple of Wednesdays ago and I'm pleased to be able to tell you that it's 'Full steam ahead' once again, certainly for the foreseeable future and endorsed by the excellent support you always give us.

Ian is in charge of any guest bookings now, and at present we are trying to get Sarah Deere-Jones (Singer/Harpist) to come and see us. She visited us many years ago when we ran the Barnstaple Folk Music Club at 'The Rising Sun' Boutport street. Apart from being a very attractive lady she is a brilliant performer/singer. Ian is trying to make contact at the moment.

We have also been asked for bookings by Eddie Walker (one of my favourites) Fred Wedlock (The oldest swinger in town) and 'Unsung Hero's' or the 'Lost Gardens of Heligan' by the Cornish singer/songwriter's (Cry of tin')

Rupert is still doing a cracking job on the website (www.heartsofoak.net)Tony is still sorting out our programmes and helping with compering, I'm writing the newsletters and printing posters etc. We are all grateful to Kathleen, Gladys, Alison and Anne for keeping us in order, looking after the administration, covering 'the door' - raffles - bookings etc. and we must not forget all you lovely people who help out now and again.

We had a cracking night at 'The Mariners' just before Christmas. All the old favourite songs were coming out with all your requests. All the visiting singers had a song or two as well and I think that you will see that we should be able to look forward to many a good evenings in the future - 'Fantastic'

As usual, our first programme in each new year looks a bit sparse. This however, will change rapidly once we get over our festive excess's and new bookings start coming in. We are still trying to keep our bookings down to about two per month which includes 'The Mariners' but again this will depend on what we want and what excites us most.

Sorry about the mix-up over tonight's venue. It was unfortunate the way it happened and we can't hold 'The Mariners' that much to blame, still, it gives us a look at another venue and there are several more we can look into and where I know we are wanted well but personally, to my mind, 'The Mariners' suits us very well and we have been there for 8 years now. Some of you will remember when we were in the restaurant with the capacity of about 25 people. Now our average is approximately 80 per month sometimes exceeding 100 ! (We must be doing something right!

The fact is that there is still going to be, a little disruption, which is our fault and not 'The Mariners' management, because we only originally booked until March - This was our own choice only because the previous management, because in the thoes of the changeover they couldn't give us confirmation so we were looking elsewhere.. Alison has recently been back to see the new managers to re-negotiate our bookings so 'WATCH THIS SPACE' and we'll be in touch one way or another I'm sure.

Meanwhile, if you have any thoughts or suggestions whether it be about venues,programme content whatever then just tell us please.

I know that many of you came to our Carol Concerts and The Mummers. It was good to see you all. I can say for sure that it is always good to have your support when you appear in our audiences.The Mummers were able to raise 880.40 for the North Devon branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau which included raffles held on the nights we went out.

The Carol Concerts raised approx 1,200 - 280 of which was donated to the St John Ambulance by Christ Church Braunton, so, all in all it was quite a good effort by your North Devon Folkies I think you will agree?

This year of course we have several 'unlisted dates' with monumental anniversaries such as Waterloo and Trafalgar so maybe we ought to be thinking about these now! It has been rumoured that our EU friends across the ENGLISH Channel want us to change some of our place names such as Waterloo Staion and Trafalgar Square !! - To what I have no idea!

There isn't much more to say this time around, but as usual, once I start to print, something will come to mind I'm sure.

So, we of the group and our able assistants thank you for your ever amazing support, and we hope that we can all meet up again very soon.

From all of us to all of you, Best wishes and keep singing.

See you all next time.

John, Tony, Ian, Rupert, Gladys, Kath, Alison and Anne.

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