2013 Launch

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Our New Season

Our new season kicks of with Easter Baskets. Come along to the Church and take a look!!

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What happened……. see it here!!

A Selection of Photos from the Events


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Foodfest!! 29th Sept

Photos from Foodfest


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Updates on what's been happening

It’s been a busy ten days at St Augustine’s in Alston with a wide and varied selection of events happening in the church through Alston Aspire.

The glorious, stirring music performed by Penrith Town Band filled St Augustine’s on Saturday 15th. Ian Butterworth, the band’s conductor made a welcome return to Alston. He had previously come along to a ‘Come and Sing’ Messiah, organised as fund-raiser in 2006, and had made everyone’s spine tingle playing the trumpet solo in the aria ‘The Trumpet shall Sound’, so we were delighted to welcome him back to Alston, along with the 25 members of the Penrith Town Band.

They performed an excellent and varied progamme of music from classic band marches to the Benedictus from Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’ by way of Procul Harlem’s ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’.
Ian introduced the pieces, entertained the audience and well as showed the different instruments, how they worked and the sounds they made. All in his own inimitable style, which was lots of fun and informative.

The audience was smaller than hoped for partly because there was another popular event that night – a fund raising ceilidh in the Town Hall – but all those attending really enjoyed the night, some jumping to their feet to applaud the band. The ceillidh had a good night as well, so great entertainment in Alston for lots of people, and a reminder to us all to use the claiming dates book in Local Links!

A Beetle Dive with a Pie and Peas supper was the next event. Definitely the first time that this has happened in St Augustine’s. Ian and Christine Sorrel and Val Coleman who own Blueberries teashop and bistro in Alston responded to the challenge to use St Augustine’s as a venue for all sorts of things as well as church services, and volunteered to run a Beetle Drive. Extra tables and chairs were borrowed from the Masonic Hall to set up in the church, and 28 people came along to enjoy the evening, rolling dice anddrawing beetles of all shapes and sizes. Lots of cheering when a six was finally rolled and someone could draw a body, and a triumphant shout of ‘Beetle’ when one was completed and the high scorers could change table. Blueberries served up a choice of delicious pies and peas which everyone thoroughly enjoyed before settling down to the second half. The winner in the adults was Barbara Alderson who won a Tower of Treats, and Lee Alderson in the under 16s winning a box of chocolates. Everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable night, lots of fun and laughs in a pleasant atmosphere.

Next day saw a painting session as artist Jane Willis set about guiding people to painting giant fruit and veg. The workshop was called ‘The Enormous Turnip’, and Jane provided huge sheets of paper and helped mix colours to paint the vegetables she had brought along. Jane inspired people to be confident with their painting, and by the end of the afternoon six paintings had been completed; these will be hung in the church next weekend as a backdrop to the Foodfest which Jane has organised and will feature stalls of local food and drink produce to sample and buy, as well as a BBQ of Alston sausage and demonstrations of sugar craft.

Saturday was the chance for the written and spoken word to feature at the second of the ‘Poetry in the Pews’ events. Alston Poets Josephine Dickinson and Deborah Hobbs led a workshop in the afternoon, where participants were invited to write a poem. Josephine and Deborah provided lots of stimuli for people to use, encouraging them to think about words, pictures, ideas and sounds. After that Deborah explained about form, giving lots of examples, and then it was back to the participants to write for ten minutes, having been presented with a choice of a few or even just one word to begin. The end results were read out to each other, and everyone was surprised at what they had achieved in so short a time.

In the evening Josephine and Deborah gave a poetry reading of some of their work which the audience really appreciated. Many of the poems were inspired by the physical and spiritual aspects of Alston Moor. Listening to these poems in the ambience of the parish church, with subtle lighting provided by two lamps and tea lights on the window sills, was quite entrancing; the musicality, flow and tensions of the poems combined with the moodand sense of place created a distinctive atmosphere.

Ray Macro read a poem of his own to introduce Josephine, which he had written contemplating her house opposite his own, where he sees the sun rises at the equinox.

Local historian, Alastair Robertson also contributed to the evening reading ‘Outward Bound’ by Nowell Oxland. Alastair preceded his reading by talking about Nowell Oxland, who was one of the war poets, and this poem was written going out to Gallipoli, where Nowell was killed just two days after landing at Sulve Bay. Nowell’s father had been vicar at Alston and the paintings on the side panels of the reredos, depicting St George and St Michael are dedicated to Nowell’s memory and indeed the faces of both are in fact Nowell’s portrait. Nowell’s poem has references to Cumbria, as well as to the forebodings of one travelling to battle, and conclude with the lines,
“One with Cumberland for ever We shall go not forth again.”

From poetry to music, and on Sunday evening Alston Angeli along with the Cumberland Hotshots filled the church with instrumental music and song. Alston Angeli is the local, all female a capella choir, led by Veronica Perrin, and they performed a mix of songs, mostly in four parts including ’My Funny Valentine’, ‘Water of Tyne’ and ‘Steal Away’ along with some gospel numbers and songs from other cultures.
The Cumberland Hotshots usually number six, but were performing as a trio on this occasion, with Tom Macmillan on guitar, Veronica Perrin trumpet, keyboard and vocals and Chris Perrin on clarinet and keyboard. They may have been at half strength, but they really gave an excellent performance of some jazz favourites and numbers such as ‘Girl from Ipamena’, ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ and a lovely rendition of ‘Begin the Beguine’ and the church resonated with their playing.

The contrast of the unaccompanied Angli and the instrumental music of the trio Hotshots worked particularly well, and along with the solo passages for guitar, trumpet, voice and clarinet certainly treat the audience to a mix of styles and talents.

There are still two more musical performances to look forward to, with the Prudhoe Gleemen, a popular male voice choir who have performed at Alston twice before making a very welcome return on Saturday 29th after the Foodfest, and for a final, outstanding concert there will be a performance on Saturday 6th October by Dawn Furness, an opera singer, international soprano who has starred with Scottish Opera giving her one woman cabaret show, performing ‘Songs from the Shows, from Porter through to Puccini’. A glorious way to finish this series of music events and a fantastic chance to hear an acclaimed singer without having to make a 90 mile round trip!




Freegle Day!!

Freegle Seed Give Away in Alston on Saturday 6th Oct



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As part of the Alston Aspire summer series of events, the local Freegle group is running an open day at St Augustine's Church on Saturday 6th October 2012 from 10am until 2pm. The event has a 'growing' theme so please bring along any seeds, plants or surplus food you've grown to give away for free.

“I haven't had a very good year for apples and damsons,” said Freegle organiser Chris Cant, “but I do have lots of Asparagus Kale seed to give away. “It's a wonderful vegetable that can be eaten all year round and it grows well where I live at nearly 900 foot above sea level.”

The Penrith and Eden District Freegle group is a free online group that helps people pass on all sorts of unwanted items to others for free, such as these items in the last week: steam iron, tent, kilt, harp, exercise ball, duvet and DVD player. A member recently commented, “I've had an excellent amount of help from you guys in setting up my first home as a single parent.” Some of the volunteers who run the group will be at the open day to explain how it works. You can join free at http://freegle.in/eden

Chris Cant added, “We've recently found out that Freegle will be receiving funding over the next three years to help people pass on more food/growing items. The grant is from the Big Lottery as part of the Sustain Eden project. I'll be at the open day to explain what we're planning to do. We'd really like to have help from community growing champions across Eden District, so, please let me know if you'd like to get involved.”

The Penrith and Eden Freegle group has been running since January 2007 and now has over 3000 members with several hundred items given away each month. A film and photos of previous open days can be seen at www.PenrithEdenFreegle.org.uk

Freegling is a great way to help others, clear clutter, keep perfectly good items out of landfill and conserve the world's resources. The group is run by volunteers, Chris Cant, Elaine Bones, Juliet Gray and Judith-Ann Wardlaw. Juliet explains, “As an internet-based group, Freegle users send ‘offer’ or ‘wanted’ messages by email to all other members, so it’s all about matching surplus items with those who can use them. Everything must be free, so you can’t ask for money or offer money for any of the items which appear.” You can choose who to give an item to and then arrange the handover between yourselves.

You can also use Facebook to join Freegle if you wish, and so send messages to the group and see other messages. If you are less technically inclined, please ask Chris Cant to offer an item by phoning him on 01931 713240. He will post your offer and get back in touch if anyone is interested in it.

Reusing items through Freegle cuts down on the waste and recycling collection and disposal costs for the district and county council, with an estimated 5 tonnes saved every month.

The Penrith and Eden Freegle group covers all Eden District, with neighbouring Freegle groups covering other parts of Cumbria, with over 350 groups through the UK and over a 1.4 million members. The group is free to join and everything offered must be free. For more information go to www.PenrithEdenFreegle.org.uk or www.ilovefreegle.org – phone Chris Cant on 01931 713240 if you need any help.

Future Event - Food fest! Sat: 29th Sept

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Alston Angeli and the Cumberland Hotshots

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Week 7 Events

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Local Mum rises to the challenge

The Jumble Sale.

When Alix Martin, a development worker for Alston Aspire asked if anyone would like to host any sort of event in St Augustine’s, local Mum Emma Ward rose to the challenge.

Emma had fond memories of jumble sales many years ago in Alston, when, as a small child she used to join the queue to go in, and then grab some bargains. “ I always bought lots of old ladies’ clothes” said Emma, “ and then had hours of fun playing at home, dressing up in them.”

So Emma decided to run a jumble sale in the church in aid of Alston Primary School, advertising it as “just like the old times”. Well supported by family and friends, Emma and her team set up an array of bargains, bric a brac, clothes, toys and books; her mum Ros Tulip set up a raffle, and fellow fund-raiser Claire Lumley made teas and coffees. Daughter Tiffany, guided by Alix Martin rang the bells before the sale started to make sure everyone in the town knew that something was about to happen!

Sadly, there wasn’t a queue waiting outside when the doors opened, but there were enough people coming along to support the event and pick up the bargains to make a very creditable £150 in the two hours the sale was on.

Emma was taking some of the goods that remained along to the Alston Primary School Sports Day on Friday 14th, so those who missed the sale on Saturday could have another opportunity to bag a bargain.

Musical Events coming Up………...


Musical Events coming up for September and a bit of October…….


Penrith Town Band: Saturday 15th September. 7pm

Alston Angeli and the Cumberland Hot Shots: Sunday 23th September 7.30pm

Prudhoe Gleemen: Saturday 29th September 7.30pm

"Opera Heroines" Dawn Furness: Saturday 6th October 7.30pm





Beetle Drive

Do you remember Beetle Drives? And do you fancy a Pie and Pea Supper made by Blueberry's?

Beetle Drive v2 copy