Event Reviews

Mary celebrates 58 years at Christian Aid

Mary - Christian Aid (Copy)Mary Jephcott’s work as local organiser for Christian Aid week since its inception in 1957 was recognised on Monday 11th May when she was presented with a Certificate for her achievements by Becky Hurst, CA Regional Organiser, in the company of friends at the Village Hall. Well done Mary!

Seasonal Cheer at New Year’s Market

New Years Market 2015The snow has turned to sleet and drizzle but inside the Village Hall on Saturday 3rd January, the atmosphere could not have been more convivial for the Annual New Year’s Market. Opened by District Councillor, Edwin Wain, the market is now in its 4th year and attracts regular atendees. Visitors were entertained by Clarinettist Marie Bateman, Flautist Cathy Reavy and Pianist Margaret Cohen, with some percussive additions from Dave & Val!   Over £600 was raised towards replacing worn chairs and trestle tables in the Village Hall.

Annual Carol Suppers Delight Again

IMG_0894 (Copy)It is the 29th year of our Carol Suppers, held in aid of Cancer Research and the evenings of 19th & 20th December provided great entertainment, tasty food and very generous giving at the two raffles & auctions. IMG_0895 (Copy)Millie opened the proceedings with a lovely rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ on the piano, and later in the evening, we were entertained by Cathy on the flute accompanied by Margaret on  piano.  Alan & Ken led the music to the Clockwinders, who this year performed special tributes to ‘clockwinders departed’, Richard Shuttlewood, John Reavy & most poignantly, Brian Ross.  Thank you to Dorothy and her helpers for organising the suppers, which have raised a magnificent £1282. Links to video clips of selected performances as follows:

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy      The Garland Waltz    
Clockwinders Part 1     Clockwinders Part 2 – The Tributes

Incredible Indian Moments for Anthony Nolan – £750 raised

Superb narration from Rob Handscombe and nearly 200 amazing pictures from Brian Ross helped to make the “Incredible Indian Moments” evening a remarkable success.   Rob was able to entertain the 60+ audience for the whole evening – even losing his voice at the end – with amusing anecdotes and the past 500 years of India’s colourful history.  At the interval, Carrie and Meg had prepared a selection of Indian Street food, including Masala Chai (Indian tea) – many request for recipes were taken.

Brian told us that he thought one of his photographs needed a bit of enhancing, so decided to put the “hookah smoker” into a more lavish surrounding and give him some smoke!  The before and after pictures can be clicked on to enlarge.  The evening was in aid of the Anthony Nolan Trust – the bone marrow donor register that has helped to give Brian a new life!  Because of everyone’s generosity, on the evening and from donations by several people who were unable make it, the total raised currently stands at over £750.  What a wonderful lot of residents we have in and around Alstonefield.

New Year’s Market – Saturday 4th January 2014

Our 3rd Annual New Year’s Market proved a great success with a great variety of stalls and delicious refreshments. There was a lovely, seasonal atmosphere with the Manifold Trio playing for much of the time, joined by Dave on the washboard for a couple of numbers! All profits are in aid of the Alstonefield Village Hall Re-decoration Fund. A big thank you to the organisers, stall holders and to everyone who donated and came along.

Carol Suppers 2013

The two Carol Suppers on 20th & 21st December brought good cheer, fabulous food and great entertainment from the children and the clockwinders, not to mention humourous storytelling by Pen Gilman and appearances by Father Christmas on both nights.  Thanks to everyone involved in the evenings, which have raised £1078 for Cancer Research UK. Click HERE to view the Clockwinder’s performance on Saturday night  (13 mins).

Harvest Festival 2013

After a lovely Harvest Service at Church on Sunday, we enjoyed the traditional supper on Monday night, with auction of produce. Young Ruby provided ongoing entertainment as one of Auctioneer Chris’ assistants!  Thank you to everyone involved in the organisation of this event.

New Year’s Market – Saturday 5th January 2013

The Village Hall staged another successful indoor market on 5th January and a lovely start to 2013. There were plenty of bargains to be had at various bric-a-brac, antique & book stalls, and the ladies (and gent!) in the kitchen did a splendid job on the refreshments.  Whilst the Manifold Trio played seasonal and popular music in the background, the tombola drum was kept busy with attractive prizes to be won. Profits in aid of the Village Hall totalled over £720. See more photos of the day in the gallery. Thank you to everyone who supported and organised the event.

Where’s Wally? – 31st December 2012

Alstonefield welcomed in the New Year with a fantastic fancy dress disco in the village hall where costumes from the 60’s & 70’s proved popular, as did a number from the medical professions! The popular children’s character ‘Where’s Wally’ proved a hit and this photo was taken as our very own recreation of a typical montage (click to enlarge).  Our thanks go to Richard (superb DJ of the night) and to Tara who organised this community event. CLICK HERE to see more photos.

Carol Suppers 2012

Now in its 26th year, our annual Carol Supper event took place in Alstonefield on Friday and Saturday nights, in aid of Cancer Research UK and raised a magnificent £1263.  The Children managed to sing loud enough to ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘Jingle Bells’ for Father Christmas to call with gifts on both nights, after we had enjoyed the traditional meat & potato pie supper and trifle.  Entertainment included a confident rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ on the piano by Millie Allen and some lovely singing by her sister, Ruby on Friday.

Click picture to view the Christmas Twist Dance

Dressed in 60”s outfits of black & white, the dancing girls performed the ‘Christmas Twist’, and then Rob Handscombe led what can only be described as an ‘alternative Clockwinders’ performance, including a very funny episode of Mastermind featuring Frank Lipp.Thank you to everyone involved in organising these events. Click here to view the Christmas Twist Dance. See more photos in the gallery.

Luscious Lemons for Harvest – 8th October

Last year’s review of our Harvest Supper carried the headline ‘Apples Reign over Harvest’, following a bumper 2011 crop and large quantities being auctioned off for about 50p. Cooking apples were in short supply this year, but Alstonefield provided some real alternatives, with black tomatoes, hot chillis and the highlight, 4 luscious lemons grown by the Wildings here in the village.  A delicious beef & potato pie was enjoyed by the 80-strong crowd, followed by apple crumble (perhaps we’ll do a lemon one next year?), coffee & mints and a special appearance by the Ceilidh Band.  Young Ruby provided much entertainment during the auction which was superbly managed by our own Chris Hornblower. The evening raised a fantastic £780 for St. Peter’s Church.

Macmillan Coffee Morning – 28th September

Bric-a-brac stall

A fabulous £612 was raised for Cancer Research from the Coffee Morning held in the Village Hall on Friday 28th September. A big thank- you to everyone who helped and to Audrey & Carolyn for organising the event.

Flower & Costume Festival – 2nd to 5th August 2012

Concluding with a Songs of Praise service at St. Peter’s Church on Sunday 5th August, the ‘Dig for Victory’ Festival  enthralled visitors to Alstonefield over the 4 day weekend, where our beautiful  12th century Church  was decorated with stunning displays based on village life during the war years. The Village Hall was also decorated  and tasty refreshments were served by ladies in 1940’s pinnies. A total of £4000 was raised which was split between St. Peter’s Church and the Village Hall.  Well done to Notty and Ann for staging the event.  See pictures in the Gallery >>>>>HERE

Ceilidh – 24th March 2012

It was good to finally get hold of much sought after-tickets for the Alstonefield Ceilidh and very glad we were that we had persevered. My friends and I from the far-flung reaches of
Leek, Upper Hulme and Elkstones received a warm welcome at the village hall and had great fun dancing – or should I say staggering and galumphing around – to FCB (Festival Ceilidh Band)
whose enthusiasm and patience was heroic! In no time we found that we had made new friends, or reconnected with old ones, as we joked our way through hand-holding, toe-
treading and general swinging around in all directions but not necessarily as the band had planned!

An additional treat was the unexpected appearance of the Titanic Brewery singers, Nine Tenths Below,who entertained us with a spirited and harmonious rendition of sea shanties and enabled
us to get our breath back. Their powerful voices rang out across the room without microphone or accompaniment – apart from a pint of beer in hand which no doubt lubricated the
larynx and I think we can guess which brew it might have been!

But in spite of this wealth of talent and good fun, competition for the highlight of the evening must surely have come from the cooks who provided a vast array of casserole dishes and
sweets served with good humour and generosity. Our only disappointment was that we didn’t manage to sample them all as they all looked delicious and the ones we tasted were

So thank you to all for such an enjoyable night and I hope you’ll have us back again. A fun way to raise funds to keep a community facility going. Well done to Dave and all who helped
in the organisation.    (Jill Gregory)

Alstonefield Rocks – 10th March 2012

Forty Four people helped themselves to wine and rock cakes and then settled down to listen to some astounding facts. We now know that this area is very much like the Bahamas! Crashing waves, lagoons and reefs! That doesn’t sound much like our area, but that is how it all started. If you missed this talk and ever get the chance to hear it at another time, you should definitely make the effort.

The following day, with the sun shining, a group of us met up at Ecton. In the distance of a mile we discovered the rim of the reef where there had been ocean and, even more fascinating, where a land mass from the South West had collided into solid hills and tilted the layers of rock in a spectacular fashion. Impressive to such an extent that people come to view our rocks from all over the country. Many thanks to Albert Benghiat for making us view our area through different eyes!

New Year’s Market –  7th January 2012

If there’s one thing that Alstonefield does well, it’s community. Thus it was that a market that could have just been retail therapy with a bit of fund raising thrown in turned into therapy for the spirit and pinned ear to ear smiles on the faces of everyone involved. It was a glorious melange of empty bottles, cards, walking furniture, filled boots, brics and bracs,  clothes and silly hats and oh the toys! The band played Monty Python as Geoff and Margaret sold icons of bygone times. The Parish Council showed Mr Kipling what a cake should be and the Tombola Stall gave the National Lottery a run for its money! Sausages, toasted delights, tea, books, coffee, books and more books! And then, in a flash, it was over. But this year, in Alstonefield, Christmas went out not with a whimper, but with a roar! A Happy New Year to us all, each and every one!

CLICK HERE to see more photos of the New Year’s Market

Carol Suppers 2011

Two fantastic evenings of carol singing and entertainment hosted by Chris Hornblower & Brian Allen in aid of Cancer Research UK were held in the Village Hall over the weekend of 16th & 17th December. After a pie & pea supper and Santa’s annual visit, we were ready to sit back and enjoy the entertainment.  After Pen Gilman’s very funny recitation, the Clockwinders wassailed us to the sounds of Ken Sharples on electric guitar and Alan Barnard on piano, followed by the very special Alstonefield version of the ‘Village Green Preservation Society’.  If you had missed the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Final on Saturday night,  you would have been compensated by the Christmas ‘Swing’ number performed by the Dancing Girls, fantastically choreographed by Lizzie Nicholls.  But the star of the show has to be young Mille Allen with her very own rendition of “All I Want For Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth”. Well done Mille, for bringing a tear to our eyes!  A big thank you also to Dorothy Critchlow and her team for co-ordinating the events.  The amount raised will be published here shortly.  (Note – click on the photos above to enlarge) Watch the entertainment again with these  YouTube links  – Clockwinders video.     Dancing Girls

Festival of Angels – December 2011

One of the large satin angel banners

From the £4500 raised from our Festival of Angels in 2011, £1500 was donated to Katharine House Hospice in Stafford. Part of this money was used to pay for the day care service on Monday 28th May 2012, in memory of Belinda White (Cathy’s sister).   Jani Barnard and Cathy Reavy were given a tour of the Hospice on 28th May. It was wonderful to see the funds being used in ‘real time’.

A Photographic Success – 8th October 2011

Brian Ross’s photo exhibition made £262.50 for St Peter’s Church .  The low entrance fee and the poor weather helped to swell numbers, who came in to escape the constant rain!  There, they were entertained by Brian who demonstrated how to improve their photos and even how to “cheat” in Photoshop.  Many people took the opportunity to have a portrait taken, with the majority opting for the full make-over treatment.  Brian was also able to smooth out wrinkles, brighten eyes, push in cheek bones and thicken eye-lashes.

All Brian’s recent International successes were on display, including Strike and Waif that were each awarded 2 medals and a ribbon.  Everyone enjoyed munching delicious home-made cakes, washed down with tea and coffee as they watched the digital display of village life over the past few years.

Congratulations to the Wood family.  Hannah won the close-up images competition and Jo the baby portrait competition.

Thanks go to all who helped with the set-up and the clearing up at the end of a very enjoyable day.

Swishers in Full Swing – 7th October 2011

Swish (n) Party game for ladies, involving lots of rails bedecked with clothes. The objective of the game is not clear but, when the whistle goes, clothes are moved around the room in a random fashion involving much laughter. Clothes may be passed from lady to lady and a try may be scored by taking a garment behind the screen in the corner of the playing area. Scowls and mutterings followed by a return to rail usually indicate an unsuccessful try. Glasses of wine may be served throughout the evening to encourage more uninhibited play. Towards the end of the game bouts of bag stuffing break out and fines are imposed on those left holding the bags!

The village of Alstonefield has many prodigious swishers and an evening of high merriment was spent. As a result of the generosity of all involved, a sum of £380 was raised for Village Hall refurbishments. Thanks to Jean and Tara for organizing the event  and everyone who helped, especially Milly for bag stuffing!

Apples Reign over Harvest – October 2011

A bumper apple harvest this year  proved a real challenge for Auctioneers Ernie Allen & Rob Handscombe at this year’s Harvest Supper on 3rd October, but the generosity of supper-goers won out in the end, with over £800 being raised  for St. Peter’s from the evening’s celebrations.  Thank you to all who made this a wonderful community event.

Macmillan Cancer Big Coffee Morning – September 2011

A great turnout on a lovely sunny morning with some very generous giving has resulted in a grand total of £602 being raised for Macmillan Cancer Support. Since the event started in Alstonefield around 15 years ago, we’ve raised over £10,000 which is a fantastic achievement. A big thank you to Audrey who has organised this year’s event.


Food Glorious Food – 14th August 2011

Maureen & Paul have raised a further £302 for St. Peter’s Church, from their BBQ,  making almost £1000 raised for the Church this weekend. A great achievement. Thank You.

Top Tango for Tara – 14th May 2011

Tara and Richard are pictured after their winning tantalizing Tango at the Alstonefield Dancers’ ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ evening, where £130 was raised for the Village Hall Extension Fund. Masterminded and choreographed by former west-end dancer, Lizzie Nicholls, the evening provided superb entertainment and fantastic food with lots of laughs , including a dramatic show-dance from Lizzie and her ‘troup’.

The Leaden Boot – 22nd May 2011

see  The Leaden Boot pages for a full report

Easter Cream Teas for Zambia Hospital – 2011

Gemma from the Old School House served up delicious cream teas at the Village Hall & Old School Garden on Easter Monday 2011 in aid of the Chikankata Hospital in Zambia. The hospital, run by the Salvation Army, is where Gemma will be spending 2 months of her summer holiday this year, as part of her medical degree. Serving over 80,000 people and treating illnesses such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, this rural hospital lies 60 km from the nearest town and some 30 km from a tarmac road. Whilst the Zambian government provides some funding, the hospital relies heavily on donations to run. If you missed the teas, and would like to donate, please contact Gemma or click here. Well done, Gemma and we look forward to hearing about your experience over the summer.

Valentine’s Ceilidh – 12th February 2011

Dave Littlehales and his Festival Ceilidh Band gave us another brilliant evening of entertainment in the Village Hall . All the way from Blackpool, the Band accompanied our brave, and very occasionally outstanding attempts at the various dances! The ladies in the kitchen surpassed themselves with the fantastic range of tasty food ‘on offer’, and a total profit of £692 was donated to St. Peter’s Church Water Appeal. Many thanks to Val & Dave for organising this very successful event.

‘Some Like it Hot’ and ‘Some Like Ice Cream’ – 29th January 2011

A truly fantastic evening was experienced by all who came along to the very first Alstonefield Film Night. ‘Alstonefield Fleapit Productions’ did a brilliant job at re-creating an authentic cinema atmosphere, with popcorn, cushions for hire, and very original ice-cream sales lady in the interval (alias Bridgette Lipp). After ‘Tom & Jerry’ cartoons and a short Laurel & Hardy film, the Tissington bangers & mash were devoured, followed by absolutely delicious puddings. The main feature, ‘Some Like it Hot’, was made even more enjoyable by the information sheets provided with trivia & ‘goofs’ relating to the filming. We even had tea, coffee & mints served to our tables – actually, it was better than the cinema! Many thanks to Sue Lovatt & Margaret Cohen & all their helpers for putting on this lovely evening. An amazing total of £477.25 was raised from this event towards the extension and upgrade of the Village Hall to improve facilities. A big thank you to all those who came to support their village hall and enjoy a great night out. See village hall extension page

Carol Singing Around the Village – 2010

In 2010 we chose Alstonefield Village Hall to benefit from our Carol Singing. Over two very cold nights we sang to numerous houses within the Village and surrounding area. Everyone we sang to on our route were very welcoming and generous, resulting in a total of £290 raised. A special thank you to all who came along to sing, the warm hospitality and all the donations received.

A Magical Village Christmas – 19th December 2010

A light covering of snow and below-freezing temperatures created the perfect backdrop for a traditional Georgian Christmas at The George Pub. With a pink fairy (the chef), an elf (the butcher) and plenty of Santa outfits (everyone else!), the assembled villagers enjoyed burgers, hot dogs, roast chestnuts and mulled wine, whilst being entertained by impromptu groups of carol singers.  The children became excited by the arrival of Father Christmas on his sleigh, and were entertained well into the afternoon by the horse and carriage rides circuiting the village. A stunning £673.70 was raised for Wetton and Alstonefield First Responders and St. Peter’s Church Water Project. Many thanks to Emily and her team: the Elf (Richard Hobday) the Fairy (Chris the chef), Mrs Santa (Holly), Fred and his horse Billy, the Carol Singers and of course Santa and his sleigh.  See more pictures HERE

Pig’s Head for Carol Suppers – 2010

With a  jovial rendition of the ‘Boars Head Carol’ by the Clockwinders, complete with Jester (Rob Handscombe) and real Pig’s Head (courtesy of Richard Hobday), supper-goers may have been concerned about a last minute change to the menu, if we had not already tucked into a delicious meat & potato pie! The merry bunch of Winders, in tudor costume,  continued to entertain us, on both evenings, with their very special version of Abba’s ‘Money,Money, Money’,  a clever ditty about the Lead Appeal. Earlier in the evening, the children, awaiting the arrival of Father Christmas,  had sung ‘Away in a Manger’, and later on, the traditional ‘We Three Kings’ was admirably performed by the men.  And we must not forget the Alstonefield Dancing Group, adorned in black & red, who opened the evening’s entertainment with a spectacular Spanish Flamenco.  Thanks must also be given to Brian Allen & Chris Hornblower, the MC’s for the evenings. The total amount raised for Cancer Research UK was a fantastic £981.70.   Click HERE to see the clockwinders video on YouTube and HERE to see the dancing group.

Alstonefield dances the Night away – 6th November 2010

Aged 6 to 66, disco-goers at the Guy Fawkes party were entertained until midnight by the fabulous Dave Dee & his disco. Playing requests for the children such as ‘Yellow Submarine’,  and for the middle-aged, Pink Floyd’s ‘Money’, he had everyone in the room singing to ‘Sweet Caroline’, before launching into a fun (and fairly silly!) game for the children involving babies’ dummies. To an attentive audience, 6 year old John nearly took first prize, but was pipped to the post by a very determined Christopher. The supper of Stanshope Farm’s delicious hot dogs, and a range of puddings to surpass any restaurant, was devoured by all, before Jo Griffin led those who could keep up, into a very energetic action dance!  A big thank you to all who supported the evening but particularly to  Helen Bonsall for organising this great village event, the proceeds from which will be divided between the St. Peter’s Church Water Appeal and Ashgate Hospice.

Harvest Celebrations Produce Bumper Crop 2010

A massive £750 was raised at the village hall on Monday evening (4th October 2010) at the village’s annual harvest supper celebrations.  Home-made meat and potato pie and apple crumble were heartily consumed following the traditional verses of “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”.  After supper, churchwarden John Reavy gave everyone further reason for celebration by announcing that costs for the replacement lead roof and alarm system for the church worked out £2000 less than expected.    With overwhelming generosity from residents and inspired fundraising, not only have these costs been paid in full, but the long-awaited project to provide a water system to the church can now begin.  With a positive response from the ‘audience’, John was thanked for all the extra work he has had to put in over the summer.  The auction of produce was expertly managed by Chris Hornblower and his young band of helpers.  All proceeds this year will go directly to St Peter’s Church.

Lead Appeal 2010 – The total is smashed!

If you were in Alstonefield over the August bank holiday weekend 2010, you’d have seen Paul & Maureen cooking hamburgers, hot dogs and bacon baps and Jean and Ernie’s gardens buzzing with villagers and visitors consuming  hundreds of teas, coffees, cakes and strawberry cream teas.    Enduring memories are of Mary and Nora eating their very first burgers and a coach load of very lubricated and hungry cricketers from Clifton on a stag do.  Business was so good that extra stock had to be sent for and villagers freezers were emptied!  Over the 3 days, together with their tireless helpers, they made an amazing £1,455.71.

As stated at the launch, the extra money raised will be dedicated to putting water into the Church to preserve its sustainability.  In order to celebrate this achievement, the church bells were rung for an hour before the Evening Service on Sunday 5th September.

St Peter’s PCC cannot thank you all enough for your generosity and support.

Scrap Turns to Gold – 21st August 2010

A staggering total of £ 571.00 was raised from the Scrap Collection   An amazing effort was made by the people of the parish in donating their scrap.  Special thanks must go to Mr D. Salt of Milldale who offered to collect  Milldale’s scrap using his vehicle.  Inca Metals of Ashbourne were incredible.  Not only did they have to make three trips to Ashbourne laden with metal, but he gave us the best possible price for the scrap.

Below is a quick break down of what we received for the different types of scrap.

Lead Batteries £37.05  Lead £63.18  Stainless Steel £40.95  Copper £86.82  Steels £211.70  Aluminum £ 12.73  Brass £ 118.55

Not only have you raised funds for the church lead appeal, but we have cleaned up the environment.  Many Thanks.

Village Yard Sale –  August 2010

It was an early start for Alstonefield.   At 7am, stallholders were setting up, trailers started unloading furniture, wheelbarrows were put to good use and balloons festooned Post Office road.   It was bright and cold.  Extra layers were added, bacon butties consumed and coffee flowed.  By 10am the village was buzzing.  There was a somewhat friendly rivalry between the main stallholders:  Jani Barnard and Susan Wilding claimed to be the most upmarket; Meg and Rob Handscombe the cleverest…well it was Meg’s idea to start with; Pen Gilman and helper Audrey Chambers the most organised, with books beautifully sorted and categorised; Stuart and Kirsty (on behalf of Frank and Bridgette) the best sales pitch, with the best story of the day.  A Tupperware cereal container was priced at 10p.  After thoughtful consideration the customer asked “Will you accept 5p?”

It was a terrific day; so thank you one and all from a very grateful PCC; we made £805.  You can almost hear the water beginning