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Jubilee Celebrations at St Peter's

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Sports Day, Street Party, Barbecue and lighting the Beacon were all wonderful events put on by Cornworthy to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. But for St Peter's, Sunday 3rd June was a day for a special celebration.

The church had been closed for 8 months for internal refurbishment – fantastic new floor and restored pews that were in danger of collapse because of rot at their base. Painstaking work by William Lewis, builder, and Hugh Harrison and Elizabeth Cheadle, wood conservators saw the work completed in time for a top to toe spring clean by Fineshine ready for the OPENING on 3rd June. This just happened, as alert readers will have noticed, to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee weekend!

It was the W.I. who first suggested that a Celebration of Flowers would be a fitting backdrop for this very exciting occasion. The PCC were approached and it was agreed that this should go ahead.
There followed weeks if not months of planning led by Ann Mitchell, President of the W.I, who approached not only members but people in the Village who voiced their interest in being involved. The key member of the 'Team' was Penny Smith, who immediately felt this was an exciting project she would like to be involved in. Penny's experience with flowers as a garden designer, her contacts and her sheer enthusiasm were invaluable, culminating in her bringing all the flowers down from Covent Garden and even 'borrowing' two birch trees from New Wood Trees in Stoke Gabriel whose owner, Philip Nieuwoudt kindly agreed to. Ann persuaded Harbertonford School to take part and Janet Ronson, the head, brought about 40 arrangements in red, white and blue to make a wonderful display.

Team work leading up to the weekend saw many hands bearing secateurs discreetly cutting foliage from several gardens locally, (many thanks to Jilly Sutton, Peter Mackley, and John Smith).
Then came the team of 'windowsill greeners' – 21 separate arrangements prepared ready for flowers to cover all the window sill spaces. That in itself took 7 people a whole morning! The flowers arrived with Penny Smith two days ahead and as they found a resting place at the back of the church the 'wow' factor was audible as different people came into the church. The main arrangements were completed by yet another team on the Saturday and suddenly St Peter's was totally transformed with stunning red at the back of the Chancel and the rest of the arrangement in all white or blue and white and of course at least one in red, white and blue!

This, of course, was in preparation for the Service on the Sunday morning which was an event as memorable as any seen at St Peter's.
Anyone passing the church that morning must have wondered what was happening as they saw a queue of people slowly making its way through the churchyard, people hoping to find a seat in the already packed church. The congregation was as large as any seen before and spare chairs were squeezed into every conceivable space!

The service was conducted by Team Rector, Revd Julian Ould and the address given by the Archdeacon of Totnes, Revd John Rawlings.
Caroline Hunt, churchwarden thanked the many people without whose help the refurbishment couldn't have taken place. The Heritage Lottery Fund gave £35,000 and we had contributions from an amazing 28 Trusts who generously helped financially towards the restoration, but without the behind the scenes diligence and tenacity of Elizabeth Jarrold, Anthony Hawkes and Pedro Sutton, our Architect, none of this would have happened.