Newsletter, 2nd July 2005

Last Newsletter

Since we published this Newsletter we've heard the sad news of Horace's death.
Please follow the link on the contents bar to the left.

If you want to be kept upto date with venues and dates, why not send an email. We can add you to our contact list. All addresses are kept strictly confidential and not shared with anyone, and to avoid encouraging spam your address does not appear on anyone else's email. Click here to send an email, or if it doesnt work then send to with the word 'from' in the subject line.
Dear Friends,

Firstly apologies for my missing our May newsletter. The reason was that I didn't have much new to say at the time ! - So here we are- hopefully back to normal.

Since the last issue we have had Tom and Barbara Brown, then 'Bromsgrove' which; on this occasion, was a concert to raise funds for the RNLI.

Bromsgrove is still a long way to go for one gig, especially coming back the same night! It takes me a day or two to recover.

Following that we held a concert at Croyde village hall, raising sponsorship money for Ben Nias and his pending trip to the South Pole. On the night, we managed to raise 315 which was quite good really. Many of you came in support. (considering Croyde village hall is quite small) It's brilliant that you seem to come along to so many of our events regardless. THANK YOU.

Next came the Lynton Walking Festival held in Lynton Town Hall on 13th May. I'm not sure just how much was made on the night. We shared the bill with Norma Huxtable, and we all enjoyed her talk on Exmoor life and she sold quite a number of her books as well.

We were also booked to play at the First Exmoor Festival around Brendon on 12th 13th and 14th May. It went well for us and the Saturday night concert was a 'sell out' long before the event and even as late as one hour before the start some tickets were still changing hands from those who had pre-booked and had to cancel, for many various reasons.

As most of you know, we shared the bill with The Yetties on the Saturday night in Brendon village hall and it really was a 'Cracker'. As I understand, Hearts of Oak are going to be invited to do it all again next year.

Ian and I went down to Padstow on Monday 30th May which was the tenth anniversary of the day that the 'Maria Asumpta' was lost on 'The Rumps' on her way into Padstow. I hadn't remembered just how far it was to walk from the 'Last outpost' which was a small farm yard to the actual spot where she went down !! It ended up with us walking for a whole hour across rough terrain and steep hillocks and plenty of shale just to get there. Canon Robert Law from St Minver's church took the service, and Ian and I sung the 'Farewell' and 'Spanish ladies', both requested by Mark Lichfield (the ex owner and Skipper) The service was a commemoration of the three lives lost. These were Anne, Emily, and John, and of course for the loss of this beautiful ship. .

Hearts of Oak had a very strong link with the ship and raised funds for her on many occasions. One time we even played at a wedding for two of her crew members which was a great day out for all of us, and if I remember correctly that was the last time we ever saw Anne, Emily and John, who died on the ship. As a souvenir, I still have a piece of her saloon deck, given to me by the bosun at the time, and I believe that Tony still has a piece as well. Even after 10 years I can still smell the pine, the oil, and the pitch preserved in the wood.

On the 8th June we held a small performance at George Nympton for the Devon Air Ambulance and I believe that 380 was raised on the night.

Tony was unavailable for this one as well as our previous evening at 'The George'. Both he and Anne went walk-a-bout's for 177 miles on Offa's Dyke raising some well deserved cash for the North Devon Hospice. The group gave them 50 from funds towards their total of approx 930 helped of course by many of his and our loyal friends.


Last weekend we were down at the Teignmouth Festival. We had great weather, great 'digs' and great singing although it was hard work performing in the open air without a PA, and on the dockside for what seemed hours on end.Other than that it was fine We ganged up with 'Hanging Johnny' - a shanty crew from Cornwall. It was very entertaining and good fun singing together, it reminded me of how we were 20 years ago when we were a very good shanty crew doing all the festivals. I think we have moved on a bit since then though, and in any case I'm a bit too long in the tooth for all that chasing around. I do still enjoy it though when we do manage to get to sing a few shanties.

We are having a group meeting next Wednesday to decide on our immediate future as a group,( certainly for the next six months ) Of course any details that are relevant, to our friends and fans, will be reported in the next newsletter. Meanwhile, should you feel that we ought to consider any other aspects on anything that we do to entertain or encourage more folks to join our happy band, then please feel free to speak to one of us or to one of our devoted helpers. That's Kathleen, Gladys, Alison or Anne.

Personally, I have been pleasantly surprised at the response to our change of venue from 'The Mariners' to 'The George'. Sadly we have lost some of our Braunton / Ilfracombe folk but we seem to have attracted many from the South Molton area. Last month we had a family from Stogumber (Bishops Lydiard area) as well as from South Molton itself, and our good friends from Yeovil continue to give us their support. I was a little concerned at our first evening at The George with just 32 people and then 38 on the second evening, but last month the room was almost full, which was wonderful. It might be a good idea to get rid of some of the tables and make room for more seats though.

What do you think ? - All comments will be gratefully considered

I am always saying that "Without you it wouldn't happen" so don't be afraid to make any or all of your comments known to us

So What of the future ?

At the present time I can say that we are at 'The George' until December of this year. We will let you all know one way or another what is happening or at least what is likely to happen beyond that.

We will be doing Carol Concerts again this coming Christmas, these will be announced, probably, by the next issue of our newsletter. The North Devon Mummers will also be out again this Christmas time raising funds for a charity to be decided upon probably in October.

Here's a 'Snippet' of information for you.....

This year we are appearing at the Pilton Festival held in Pilton Street Barnstaple. If you haven't been before then it's worth going and it is a very busy event. Parking can be a bit of a problem because Pilton street is closed from 10.00am until 5.00pm The Fairview car park gets full very quickly so if you do wish to come along and you can park on the edge of town somewhere, then I can tell you that it's about 10 minutes walk from the west end of Barnstaple High Street. There is lots going on and various bands will be performing during the day. We are performing at both stages. Middle stage at approx 11.00 pm and Bottom stage at .approx 1.45 pm - Programmes available tonight


Have you ever considered where the saying that

'Friday 13th" is unlucky comes from ?

This all ties up with Admiral Lord Nelson - It was on that day that he received orders from the Admiralty to gather a fleet of ships and to attack the French and Spanish fleet in the Mediterranean resulting in his own death at Cape Trafalgar on 21st October 1805.

Now, 200 years after his death we will be celebrating with many and others all over England. In our case we will be joining with friends at Appledore amidst parades and flag waving and all sorts of other events, so come along and wave your flag with us, unless you just want to watch that is !

Did you know that there was a re-enactment of the battle of Trafalgar going on this week ? But we are not allowed to call the fleets involved British, French or Spanish ! Due to political correctness. Tthey will be known as the REDS and the BLUES (Sounds like a Merseyside derby football match to me ! )

Don't forget we are going to play at 'The Yetties' club again this year on WEDNESDAY 12th OCTOBER so get your names down folks if you would like to join us on a coach leaving Fairview carpark Barnstaple at 5.00 pm on that day.

And so dear friends that is about it for another newsletter.

Very many thanks to all of you for your continued support and a special welcome to our new friends who have recently joined us, and another extra special thanks to those of you who contribute with items of song, readings, Funnies, instrumentals etc. etc. and to those of you who come from further afield.

Don't forget there are special meals and bar snacks laid on by the management for anyone who would like a quick meal before we start at 8.00 pm.

As always, we consider all of you as part of our group and it would be wonderful if you were all able to bring one or two friends with you the next time.

Best wishes

from me, That's John Parker, Tony Piper, Ian Hudson, Rupert Kirby As well as Kathleen, Gladys , Alison and Anne.

We hope to see you all again very soon.

Check it out :