Montgomery Christmas Festival this year made the most of the wonderful space in St Nicholas’ Church, where events surrounding the lights switch-on included a Christmas market with a lovely atmosphere, festive refreshments and music, children’s crafts, and the man in red himself with his grotto and gifts. Early on the crisp autumn morning, volunteers flocked to St Nicholas’ Church in Montgomery to set up the Christmas Festival event for 2018. Christmas Market vendors then arrived with imaginative stall displays showcasing their unique local handmade gift and home items. Hundreds of visitors came to scout out these goodies, which included beautiful hand-quilted bags, scrumptious reindeer cupcakes and homemade chocolates, hand-crafted wall art, wild woolly rugs, plastic-alternative homeware, unique personalised photography, Christmas decorations, jewellery and gift products, cards and wrapping papers plus local winter scene holiday cards and Montgomery calendars – there were so many lovely things! The festive atmosphere was enhanced by some of Montgomery’s musical talent: flutes, saxophones and cajon (percussion) cheerily played renditions of favourite Christmas carols to add to the joyful environment for visitors! Children crafted handmade decorations at dedicated craft tables, ready to adorn a tree at the Tree Festival in Llandyssil the following weekend. Later, a jolly special guest appeared to lead everyone to the lights switch-on; Santa counted down and the Monty Magic lit up the Town. Santa then led everyone back into the Church and greeted children in his grotto. After all this, plus lots of mince pies and the raffle being called, it was time for a swift clean-up by the amazing troupe of volunteers. They left no trace and the Church fell silent once more, resting and prepared for Sunday Communion the next day. Jenni Visser, of the Montgomery Christmas Festival Committee, says: “It was such a lovely event. The committee would like to thank everyone for making this year’s event the best ever! All the committee members and helpers are volunteers, with many of them working full time in addition to supporting this special event.” The team would welcome any photos from the event, or feedback comments about what went well and what could be improved in future years, and both these things can be sent via their Facebook page Montgomery Christmas Festival.
This year, Montgomery launched its first Live Advent Calendar, showcasing the ingenuity and talent of many Montgomery groups and individuals. Every evening in December, at 6.15pm, a door will open, and those gathered outside experienced something related to Christmas for a few minutes in that doorway. We are all used to chocolate Advent calendars, but the town’s Live Advent Calendar will be filled with story, song and the best that Montgomery’s creative minds could bring. Organised jointly by the chapel and church; groups, individuals and businesses agreed to open their doors and show something of what Christmas means to them. The Live Advent Calendar was launched by the Mayor, Lionel Weaver, on 1st December at 7 Broad Street, when townspeople and visitors were invited to follow a star around Montgomery until the Calendar finished at the Crib Service in St Nicholas Church on Christmas Eve.
The morning of Tuesday the 30th of October 2018 was a fresh, crisp frosty morning. A 'wrap up warm and snug' and 'best get the fire going' kind of morning. A morning that soon wakes you up and ignites the senses. 'I hope our mini adults will be OK?' however my anxieties were quickly dispersed, like blowing dandelion fairies from the stalk. The kids were wrapped up, wide eyes, bushy tailed and raring to go...... Ready to tackle whatever we had planned for them and also explore their own adventures in a beautiful wooded copse and an open oaked field accompanying it. 'there is no such thing as the cold if you're wrapped up, eager to learn and explore, have warm drinks, a fire and meeting new friends for the first time. Adrenaline of excitement is flowing...... A sense of freedom working in a woodland area becomes a catalyst towards the inner most creative, primal and fun DNA of all ages!' This was reflected in the activities we provided on: - Day 1 An introduction of us, safety and respect talk Introduction of all our mini adults to one another with warming drinks A walk around the area and explaining the boundaries A game of Owl and Mouse (an ice breaking, warm up energised game to get the blood pumping and laughter flowing, Scavenger hunt Slack line walking Snacks Make a protective egg shelter in tribes where the older ones supported the younger ones. Catch the egg shelters. Songs around the fire Making dens Free time, child led play to explore the area and their own creativity Baked beans and Jackets Making a spider web Creating sparks with the fire steel Collecting wood to make their very own small 'marshmallow baking fires in tribes Making the fire and creating s’mores Pack up time Day 2 Normal introductions and walk with warming drinks. Free time and child led play, soldiers, dinosaurs and robots around the woods. Making dens Slack line walking Snacks Carving pumpkins in tribes Making the pumpkins explode froth from their mouths in tribes Songs around the fire Pumpkin soup and food More child led play around the woods Making wands, brooms and conker caterpillars. Creating sparks with the fire steel Collecting wood to make their very own small 'marshmallow baking fires in tribes Making the fire and baking the Marshmallows Apple bobbing Toffee apple making Popcorn shaking Free play and Pack up. Wow.... What a busy but rewarding, enjoyable joyful, playful, energises, fun filled and humbling 2 days. To see all our little tribes people having fun, the freedom to express themselves, act responsibly, act caringly and respectful to others, be role models to the younger ones, be creative, be imaginative and be themselves was inspirational on reflection. Kids should be allowed to be kids. Our little tribes over the 2 days has positively benefited themselves and us...... Being around enthusiasm at these ages will remind us all that we have an inner child and brings out the fondest of all childhood memories and the child within myself. Especially when I'm in the Great Outdoors within my very own 'Woodland Pack!' It was so refreshing to see all the children interacting with the outdoors without a hint of an electronic device. Natural active environmental stimulation A big thank you to Paul at the Forest and Dal-dy-dir for the wonderful facility and support provided to make these last two days special. Also, thank you to Jon whose positive energy was infectious!
Arthritis causes pain, fatigue and isolation for 10 million people in the UK every single day. It’s no respecter of age and affects youngsters as well as older citizens. It can have an impact on the ability to work, personal relationships, and an individual’s independence. The ability to meet and share with other people living with arthritis can be of huge value in providing mutual support and a social circle. Sandi Coppi, who has been living with arthritis for years, has decided to act to mobilise fellow sufferers in and around Montgomery to come together and form a support group. She’s called it OUCH (for obvious reasons) or ‘Osteoarthritis U Can Help’ and is now looking to meet people who would like to work with her to form a group. She has left flyers with Montgomery Medical Practice, Newtown Surgery, Montgomery Library, Castle Kitchen and the Ivy House Café, and set up a public Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/oucharthritissupport. Sandi said, “My idea is that if you are having fun and focusing on things that you like doing, then your pain disappears. There are lots of activities we can do that will benefit us immensely. I often need help to get me motivated, so I am hoping there are more people out there who can do just that. This is not an exercise group. I am an arthritis sufferer who believes that together we can support, care for and motivate each other to do the best we can to improve our lives. So, come on - let's get this party going!” You can call Sandi to find out more, or to get involved, on 01686 668462, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Panto Performers Olivia Evans and Elsie Anton-Stephens, both aged 10, from Montgomery have been chosen to perform in this winter’s Mother Goose pantomime at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn. The girls, who each attend several weekly dance classes at the Sally Gartell Academy of Dance, were selected during open auditions at the theatre in September. Ruth Anton-Stephens, Elsie’s mum, said, “Miss Sally has trained the girls into really good dancers and helped them have opportunities to perform in public. She's always doing extra things for her students and encouraging them to dance at local events such as the Street Fair and the Montgomery Show.” The pair will now form part of the orange team of dancers, ranging from 9-15 years of age, taking part in 24 of the performances of the professional production of Mother Goose between November and January. Olivia has already experienced performing in Shropshire’s biggest pantomime, having taken part in last year's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was seen by more than 40,000 people. She knows how much hard work is required, but also how rewarding participation is. "I'm really looking forward to learning the new dance routines. Last year was really tiring but it's worth it when you get on stage, and I made lots of new friends," she says. Children from Montgomery School will be going to see Mother Goose later in the term, and their fun-filled panto trip will be made even more exciting by being able to watch Year 6 pupils Elsie and Olivia performing in the show.