Stratford by the Sea 2018


The summer Friends of St Lawrence event this year on Friday 15 June was a return visit by the Navy Larks, a group of around 30 men singing sea shanties. They were very good last year but, if it was possible, they were even better this year. They performed under the watchful eye of their conductor, Kate Edgar, who has increased their repertoire considerably. She explained that this concert was well timed; it acted as a dress rehearsal for the annual Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival to be held the following weekend — 22 to 24 June. Given the performances we heard they will do very well at the Festival. Everybody I spoke to in the audience was very impressed with their performance. They are great fun and were obviously enjoying it themselves.

The event was held in Robin and Clarkie Petherick's lovely garden at Dean's Farm. The view is superb with the Cathedral Spire in the background and the Grade I listed St Lawrence church in the middle foreground to remind us we were there to raise money to help maintain this historic building. We gathered under marquees very kindly provided by Kirsty and Roger Dudin. Erecting the marquees is quite a feat but one which all those participating enjoy - the camaraderie is great and is part of the fun of the event. The marquees were there in case of rain but several people remarked how they helped to create a great atmosphere. It is possible to decorate them which adds to the overall ambience.

There was a good turnout from a broad cross-section of the village. We were delighted to be joined by a number of wives and girlfriends of the singers (which Kate referred to as the WAGs). Luckily the weather kept dry, if a little cold, as a number of people had to sit outside the tented area. The raffle was well supported, which was not surprising, as the star prize was a E50 Broughton Water Buffalo gift voucher that could be spent at their farm shop in Stockbridge. The total profit from the evening was E701 - a tremendous effort considering the expenses needed to stage such an event. Many thanks to all who helped to make it a successful and fun village evening — trustees, friends and, most of all, those who attended.

Jim Platt