Gittisham Gazette December 2023

Gittisham GazetteDec ‘23 Edition  
A monthly community newsletter published by St Michael’s Church and Gittisham Parish Council

What’s On?

at St Michael’s Church, Gittisham

Carol Service

Sunday Dec 17th 4.45 pm

Festive drinks and mince pies during the interval

Carols on the Green

Friday Dec 22nd 5pm

at the Lychgate with the Honiton Town Band, Sausages and Mulled Wine

Christmas Eve

Midnight Eucharist at 11.30pm

Christmas Day

Holy Communion at 11am


Village dogs Reggie and Fig, both celebrated their 2nd birthdays this month

And this little chap paid an unexpected visit after about 400 years of absence:

Christmas Message from Julia Barratt  

As I write, we are still at the beginning of Advent when we are reminded of God’s time breaking through into our ordinary human time as we prepare to celebrate God’s coming among us in the form of vulnerable human baby‘ God with us’, entirely dependent on our care. The infinite breaking into the finite as glimpsed in moments of joy and wonder at the Advent Sunday Concert in our beautifully decorated Church filled with people, music and song, when it felt like Christmas Day had already arrived! God’s time ‘Kairos’ that is not dependent on ‘Chronos’ – human clock time. How often do we arrive at Christmas Day exhausted after weeks of preparation, of shopping and baking, making or buying and wrapping presents, writing cards, racing to catch the last post, cleaning and decorating the house so as to be ready for guests- only to find that we are disappointed, that somehow our expectations of the day itself are not fulfilled? My own experience of Christmas is that special moments of ‘wonder and awe’ come when I’m not expecting them. At a time unbidden, as it did a year or so ago when out for a walk one late December afternoon, as I describe in this poem ‘Winter Solstice’.   Winter Solstice The sun, low in the sky, winter’s bride, trailing shadows of our former selves, freshly bared branches – the thin end of the year. Slant-eyed, down little-used lanes, byways to a forgotten world – a hidden path; a flash of wings, scattering the hedgerows, anticipating our arrival. A long barn, peep-through slats, horned head of cattle, early lambs, wary mothers sensing our presence; a farmer mucking about with hay, a child watching – as if dreaming. Turning for home, a screech owl haunting, the sky smoking red, returning another way.   Whenever Christmas comes for you, may you be ready to recognise and receive the gift, to accept with the Shepherds and the Wise Men of Old, the invitation to ‘Come and See! To Come and Worship!   With Love and Christmas Blessings from all at St Michael’s Julia Barrett. Licensed Lay Minister in the Honiton Team Ministry. Dec 2023.
New year’s resolution? Do you need to improve your posture, balance and mobility?   Fit for Life – Margaret Morris Movement International (MMM) Classes are held in Gittisham Village Hall on Tuesday morning 10am to 11am. Cost £4 a session plus a retainer of £6 for each group of sessions. I run a group of six sessions with one week break throughout the year. My aim is to improve posture, breathing, balance, mobility and more. Our next session is on the 9th January 2024.   Margaret Morris Movement (MMM) is a unique system of exercise, dance and movement training. It encompasses recreational, therapeutic, athletic and creative elements of dance and exercise for all ages. Developed by Margaret Morris a Scottish dancer and choreographer it achieves a perfect balance between set exercises and free movement expression.   Contact Marjorie ( 01404 41090 07870530766     Presentation to Carol McCann   We had intended to make a presentation Carol McCann for almost 30 years of service as Churchwarden earlier in the year at the Fete and Flower Festival Service but sadly Carol was not well enough to attend. However Sarah Agg-Manning recently visited Carol at Sunningdale House in Honiton where she is at present residing and where on behalf of the PCC, Sarah presented her with two pictures representing her long term tenure as Churchwarden at St Michael’s.   The picture, showing aspects of the church, is now proudly hanging in her room. The other – a portrait taken by Julian Barjzert will be hung in the church alongside the portrait of Fred Blackmore who was another stalwart of the church in Gittisham. Carol was delighted with the pictures and the many donations from those who wanted to show their appreciation of her service. She sends her love and thanks and would be pleased to receive phone calls or visits though please note that the policy at Sunningdale is that all visits should be booked 24 hours in advance.
A message from Carol McCann
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As I’m still in Sunningdale care home I can’t do much about cards etc. I do hope you all have a wonderful time.  I think I will be here for a while and hope not forever.  It would be good to have visitors. I’m allowed out when I want but not on my own, I’m hoping to have a go at driving. I need to go to West Point to practice in my own car, it will give me more freedom and will help me to get out and see more people. Look forward to seeing you soon.  Much love C xxx

Oh! Christmas Tree

Over the Christmas period in our village church a Christmas tree (kindly donated by Combe Garden Centre) will be placed by the alter with lights and beside it will be tags that everyone is welcome to write a prayer or memory of someone or something special and place it on the tree.

Auction of Promises

Saturday 10th February 7 pm at the Hall

Do you have a service or skill you could donate as a lot? This would be placed in a catalogue for Auction in February in the village hall, bar and nibbles available on the night

Helen Hayman is preparing catalogues for viewing. Lots which will also be for sale with a glass of wine for entry!
Details from Helen Hayman. 07806480246


Five councillors met for the December meeting.

Flooding Councillors noted the recent flooding along the Honiton Link Road which has made it impassable. They highlighted the statement in the outstanding planning application for the proposed Combe Farm shop that the development will not increase the flood risk elsewhere. Councillors expressed serious concerns that the recent rainfall and surface water flooding have shown this proposed development to be unsuitable, and will highlight this to EDDC planners.

Councillor Walker reported that the lengthsman had been clearing the drains up Parsonage Lane, and he had also dug a hole along that stretch which had kept one entrance to Gittisham village free from flooding.

Finance. Councillors noted the finances.

Crimes. Due to an ongoing error on the Police UK website, it is not possible to report crime statistics. However other sites report 1 x violent crime in Aug 2023 for Honiton Rural, which covers several parishes. Alasdair Bruce (EDDC) said he had passed on information to EDDC and Sovereign Housing regarding an incident of anti-social behaviour at Longlands Way at Hayne Farm. Apparently this has been aggravated by unnamed residents removing the security locks on the main doors.

Road closures. 7th January 0930-1530 road through Alfington closed for BT pole work

Trains. The railway line between Salisbury and Exeter St David’s is expected to re-open on 11 th December, following work to remedy a landslip at Crewkerne. Rail replacement buses have been affected by the recent flooding.

Buses. Phil Twiss (DCC) said the £2 bus fare is to be continued until end 2024 (although there

are still cheaper fares available, depending on the journey). Not only does this help with the cost of living, it also encourages more people to use buses thereby reducing congestion and helping with decreasing carbon emissions. The revised Stagecoach timetables beyond the parish are now bedding in and there are a lot fewer complaints. Unfortunately, the changes coincided with an increase in illness, mainly respiratory infections amongst bus drivers. Resilience will improve as Stagecoach now has a full cohort at the bus training school.

Councillor vacancy, Gittisham Vale. Adam Powell was elected parish councillor for Gittisham Vale by an unanimous vote.

EDDC Local Plan. David Valentine reported that East Devon District Council has decided to proceed with the development of a second new town of 8,000 homes between Exeter Airport and Crealy. He said this was likely to have some sort of impact on the reallocation of development sites in the Local Plan.

Scam awareness. Janet Twist said WhatsApp users are being encouraged to be vigilant after scammers

hacked into accounts and asked their victim’s friends and family for money.

Beavers. Following the visit of a beaver to the River Gitt for the first time since their re-introduction, the clerk said she had reported this to the Devon Wildlife Trust who have suggested giving a presentation on how parishes can manage beaver colonies.

Next meeting. 4 th January in the parish room at 7.30pm. The Vice Chair wished Councillors, their families and all those who support the parish council a merry Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year.

Parish Council links      Who’s who                

Emergency Plan     

Parish Council Clerk       Email:                   Tel: 01404 851442