Newsletter, 3rd December 2005

Last Newsletter
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Dear Friends,

We come to the end of another year and we thank you all for your continued support, for your loyalty, and most of all your friendship. We wish you a very happy Christmas and a truly magnificent 2006 that's from Ian, John, Tony and Rupert. not forgetting our loyal helpers Alison, Anne, Gladys and Kathleen.

We have had many good times during 2005 and some sad ones too,

In particular the passing of Horace Bosence, a long standing and valued member of 'Hearts of Oak'.

In January of this year we moved from 'The Mariners' in Braunton, which we initially regretted, as our main base had been there for more than 7 years. The move was not of our making and I have to confess that I was a bit apprehensive about moving to 'The George' at South Molton, but now I must admit that to being pleasantly surprised, certainly after the relatively short period of time we have been there. It started out small, with just 38 people on our very first night, and has been building up ever since, the real plus is that, due to the move, many new friends have joined us, and have been coming along to support us every month, and still more new friends are joining us even though we have temporarily lost some of our old friends from the Braunton area. Some still make the extra journey to South Molton to join us! - That IS good news for us, and thank you, all of you.

We have purposely avoided being quite so busy, away from home, this year with perhaps with the exception of Bromsgrove and appearances at the Teignmouth Folk Festival and Bideford Folk Festival. We have now been invited to the Dartmoor Festival in 2006 and we are seriously considering it. (Watch the web site )

On 12th October we went to Sherborne for the 7th year in succession to play at 'The Yetties' club.That is always a pleasure for us and I suspect that it is also a good nights entertainment for you that come with us on the coach, as well as some good friends we have won from the Yeovil area and who regularly come to our monthly ' Do's '

It will be 'Hearts of Oak' 25th anniversary in June 2006 ! That's 25 years since I first started 'Hearts of Oak' ! (Actually it was 1983 that we first called ourselves 'Hearts of Oak' - before that, and in 1981, we were called 'Barnstaple Shanty Men ' and then the 'Taw and Torridge Shantymen'' ) A quarter of a century - Wow!

As you will all know I try to pass comment on things past present and future but right now I am embarrassed to say that due to the 'melt down' of my computer I lost all our diary of events and that was the reason I missed the last edition of our newsletter due out in October. I now have a new computer! but was unable to download much of the information stored on my old one. Thanks to Rupert our 'Web site expert' I did mange to get a few things sorted for our Christmas edition.

On the 26th November Gladys was 80 years young. Her niece, Maryluce, organised a surprise birthday party for her and Tony and I attended. Rupert and Ian were both otherwise engaged, which was unfortunate however it was a pleasant evening for all of us, and I'm sure that we all wish her the very best along with our grateful thanks for keeping our accounts in order for many years now and long may that continue. - Well done Gladys our senior group member.

Our November date at 'The George' was a charity night for us and we gave away 1,000 of YOUR money to three selected charities. That's 500 to the Macmillan nurses, 250 to the North Devon Hospice and 250 plus the November door and raffle money to help Anne's daughter Elizabeth on her way to Peru on a charity 'Trek', raising money for the Great Ormond Street Childrens hospital. No doubt we will get some feed back from Elizabeth when she returns. I will report back to you once I have the details.

We had a great night on the 21st October when we celebrated Trafalgar day on the Kathleen and May - It was a 'Sell out' and David Hall tells me that they made a 500 profit on the night towards the ship's upkeep. When we are down on the K&M I'm always surprised at just how many people they can get seated below deck' - There were 83 people on board 73 of which actually had chairs ! Not bad is it ?

We were over at The Minehead Folk Club again this year on 10th November. The people who came along were supportive and we had a good night there. The weather over the moor was a bit rough though - Rain and fog most of the way .

We were playing over at the Instow Yacht Club on 27th October raising funds for the RNLI. Ian held his annual art exhibition there culminating in our concert. The whole event raised 2,000. I'm not sure how much of that was raised at the concert. Suffice to say that every seat was sold long before the event so I would hazard a guess and say that it must have been close to 400 possibly 500 if the raffle was included .

Recently we have been preparing ourselves for the coming festive season of carol concerts and 'Mummers' This year we only have two carol concerts (See programme or our web site and one of these would already have happened by the time you are reading this newsletter that's Horwood Church on 2nd December, and if you are able to make it, Christ Church Braunton on 16th December. It is rumoured that we might also be doing one at Appledore but I'm still awaiting details. You are of course, all welcome to join us to have a good old sing-song, singing many carols old and new, and listening to a couple of Joyce Moon's Christmas poems, written especially for us this Christmas.

Shammick Acoustic.
If you can sing, play or say
or just listen
Come and join us every second Saturday in the month
The Top George, Combe Martin
Call Tom or Barbara Brown on
(01271) 882366 for more details

The Mummers start their season at 'The Reform Inn', Pilton, Barnstaple on Thursday 15th December, and in all cases the play itself will not be performed until after 9.00 pm ( that's 21.00 to all you EU supporters!)

See our programme and web site to confirm all the 'Mummers' dates. The 17th December will see them for the 'Biggy' at 'The Staghunters', Brendon then The Crown at West Down, Ilfracombe on Monday 19th December, Poltimore Arms Yarde Down on 21st December and the last one before Christmas at The Top George, Combe Martin on Friday 23rd December. After Christmas we have the Mummers at the 'New Inn' Goodleigh on 28th December, the 'Old Courthouse', Chulmleigh on 4th January and lastly on 6th January at 'The Grampus', Lee for the 12th night celebrations

There is a chance that we could get Bernard Wrigley down here sometime next year. For those of you who don't know him then I have to tell you that he has been on many TV programmes such as Last of the summer wine, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Dinner ladies, and has appeared in Alan Bennet films in the past. He is a brilliant singer/comedian and well worth your time seeing him. I will let you know as early as I can although Hilary Bix tells me that the Bideford Folk club are also after him so it just might be a dual booking. We'll see...

We have once again been invited to take part in the Bideford Folk Festival in 2006 which is brilliant for us, and I will of course let you have more details as and when they are available to me, and we've been asked to go up to Bromsgrove again possibly in May 2006. I also understand that we are to be invited to The Exmoor Folk Festival again in 2006

As I've already said, We are 25 years old next year and our good friends 'The Marske Fishermen's Choir' would like to come down and celebrate with us just as we did for their 25th anniversary when ten of us went up to Teeside. It sounds good as it goes, the small problem is that there will be 15 of them plus their wives!!! They do raise many thousands of pounds for the RNLI and I think that they are a fantastic group and all of them are either fishermen or ex-fishermen from the North East coast. Just the expences are going to be a bit rich for our blood even if they played at concerts for us at no cost. Obviously there are ways around it and they are prepared to do the trip for expences and accommodation only We can use them for as many concerts as we like (well over three days anyway). That, however, will mean a coach all the way from Redcar for several days, a place to stay where they can (more or less) be together, and a couple of 'Gigs' to help us retrieve some of the costs.

I have been toying with the idea of getting Beaford involved but that would mean there would be no money left over for the RNLI. Any ideas ? Any or all advice is going to be helpful. We could go up there to Marske - by - sea again but it wouldn't be the same unless all of you were there to experience this wonderful choir, and to be with us on this unique occasion.

Think about it...

The Bideford Folk Club

Every Thursday at 8.00 pm
The Joiners Arms, Bideford
(behind the Pannier Market)
Generally a Sing-around club with occasional guests
Free admission - collection

A short 'Funny' for you:

An American on tour in the USA was visiting the southern states and saw a sign outside of o post office which read:
"Calls direct to heaven $5,000 per minute"
So, he decided to come to England to see what he would be charged for the same service. He arrived in Devon and saw a similar sign.This time the sign read:
"Calls direct to heaven 40p per minute"
So, he went into the post office and told the postmaster what he would have to pay for the same service in the states and asked the postmaster
"Why is it so much cheaper here?" to be told.
"Ah-well" said the postmaster from Devon, " it is just a local call"!

Well folks that about wraps it up for this year, and we'll see you all again on 4th February next year at ' The George Hotel ' South Molton.
May all of you have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and healthy New Year. Should you be able to come along to any (or all) of the Carol concerts, or the Mummers, then you know that it would give us all great pleasure to see you. Don't forget, you can reach us either via our web site, or by email to me on email: Kathleen on Alison on or Rupert via the web site.
We thank you for your help and for your continued support. As always we value your input and advice into whatever we do to entertain you.
See you all next time.
Our very best wishes to you and your families and as it's Christmas, KEEP SINGING (especially Christmas carols)
That's Ian, Rupert. Tony, Alison, Anne, Gladys, Kathleen and me.
John Parker
Another Carol concert on 9th December at St Mary's Church, Appledore
Make sure that you ask for your copy of our new programme