The first of a new series of events, to be known as the “Monty Hour”, will take place on the 20th of January with a talk on “Recording Wildlife in Montgomeryshire” delivered by Simon Boyes (Bird Recorder for Montgomeryshire) and Clare Boyes (Bee and Wasp Recorder for Montgomeryshire). A group of Montgomery residents have started up this Monty Hour session which is open to all who are interested in topics relevant to Montgomery and its place in the World. The hour will usually take the format of a presentation given by one or more speakers followed by a question and answer session. Topics will be very wide ranging with the initial set including wildlife, reading, history, travel and celebrations. Town Councillor Gwil Stephenson, who is part of the group of residents organising the events, explained, "We know people are struggling with lockdown, and thought this might be a way of replacing some of the regular and one-off events that people are missing so much because of the pandemic." Gwil, who will be using his IT expertise to host the events, added, "We plan to work in partnership with local groups too. For our first talk, we were pleased to work with Montgomery Energy Group (MEG) who have moved their monthly presentations to the Monty Hour time slot. We will be working with other groups and individuals in the future to put on events covering a range of topics; we hope there will be something for everyone over the forthcoming period." The Zoom sessions, all taking place at 7-8pm on a Wednesday evening, can be accessed from the link https://montgomery.cloud/hour. People are welcome to attend an individual session, or to join each time, according to their interests and how busy they may be, and there will be no obligation to participate. Future events are being added to the calendar at the same link, and ideas for future sessions will also be welcome. If you are unsure how to link to the zoom session, or have any queries or suggestions, please email email@example.com. The Monty Hour logo was designed and created by Keri Castrelo Brignell.
The Churchward County Trust, which is building a full-size re-creation of a Great Western Railway (GWR) 'County' class 4-4-0 locomotive named 'County of Montgomery', has unveiled the loco's new nameplates. Forty of the original 'County' locos were built between 1904 and 1912, with 11 named after Welsh counties on the GWR network. Montgomeryshire was not included in the GWR's naming scheme at that time as it was a Cambrian Railways stronghold, but the county found itself at the heart of the GWR following the grouping of railway companies in 1923 when the Cambrian was absorbed into the GWR. It was for this reason that the Churchward County Trust selected the name County of Montgomery for its new loco. The nameplates have been generously sponsored by John Buxton of Cambrian Transport, and were produced by the Procast Foundry in Yorkshire. The new loco is being erected at Tyseley Locomotive Works in Birmingham, where the main frames (chassis) have been assembled, the first example to be built since 1912. The CCT has also placed the order for County of Montgomery’s two cylinders, which are to be cast in the coming weeks, and will soon be ordering the four 6ft 8½ diameter driving wheels. CCT chairman Gary Boyd-Hope said: “It’s wonderful to see the new nameplates, which have been manufactured in the traditional manner with individually-cast brass letters mounted on a steel backplate, and surrounded by brass beading. We feel this gives Montgomeryshire the recognition it missed out on over 100 years ago when the original engines were built.” Further details of the project and how to support it, including a ‘County for the Cost of a Coffee a Week’ scheme, can be found at www.churchwardcounty.org.uk Photo credit: CCT
St Nicholas’ Church in Montgomery is delighted to have been awarded £9700 from the National Heritage Lottery’s 15 minute Heritage fund. The support will help the 13th century church share stories of the people involved with the building through history with locals and visitors, school children and the wider world. The funding is part of the National Heritage Lottery Fund’s response to the pandemic, encouraging people to engage with history locally and explore their own area in more detail. Lydia Bassett, a church committee member who worked on the application, told us, “We have some incredible stories to tell about our church - from Wales’ warrior princess in peril to literary ladies like Magdalene Herbert and the heartrending tale of The Robber’s Grave. However, at the moment those stories are not easily accessible to visitors, and many are not even known and understood by local people and schoolchildren. We want to tell the stories of this richly connected building, including of the metaphysical poet George Herbert; Magdalene Herbert, John Donne; Shakespeare’s Mortimer, his connection to Welsh warrior Owain Glyndwr and marriage to Glyndwr’s daughter Catrin.” Lydia added, “Montgomery has been at the heart of the history of the borders for centuries and we’re looking forward to sharing some of those stories through the church.” The money will be used for:- Creation and installation of bilingual interpretation panels; The installation of a projector, and the creation and display of short films on the memories of local people in the church; Providing training to local volunteers to support Tower days and give guided tours; Working with the local School to develop events telling the story of the individuals linked to the building. A small working group has been set up to support the project, and they will be working with specialists in the field as well as the local Civic Society and Old Bell Museum. Photograph: The Herbert tomb in St Nicholas’ Church Montgomery Photo credit: Adam Cusack at G17
Sue Blower, Montgomery’s Town Crier, was watched by 5.3 million viewers on Christmas night as she took part in the popular game show Blankety Blank. Sue met six celebrities on the show, as well as the host Bradley Walsh, who was taking a break from Doctor Who to host this one-off special. Sue had to complete a number of phrases and, although she didn’t reach the final round, she came home with the famous Blankety Blank chequebook and pen. Sue said, “It was a fantastic opportunity both to take part and to represent my home town of Montgomery as its Town Crier. All the celebrities were very friendly and we had a lot of fun.” Anyone who missed the programme on Christmas night can still see it, using one of the catch-up services.
The online Advent Calendar developed by Montgomery teenager Catrin McDougal has been an outstanding success, with a different short film each day being viewed by hundreds of people, and positive comments received from across the world, as well as from local residents. The content included readings, dances, festive music, short dramas, bell ringing, crafts and an explanation of Hanukkah; as well as contributions from the school in English and Welsh, and Montgomery's youngest contributors at pre-school, who danced and sang enthusiastically to Jingle Bells. The calendar finished with a message from Father Christmas himself behind door number 23, and Rev Alexis Smith gave a short version of the crib service behind door 24 for Christmas Eve. Catrin said, “The advent calendar has been received really well by locals and people further away. My aim was always to bring the community together and – with the help of Adam Cusack, Claire Weston and everyone else who contributed – I think we have.” She added, “This Christmas is going to be difficult for all of us, but being able to watch these videos hopefully will have brought a bit of joy to people’s lives.” Anwen, living in Malta, said on the website, “I missed visiting this year, so it’s great to be able to share in a little bit of Monty cheer.” Elva Barros commented from Spain, “I love it! It is beautiful. How good that although we are going through difficult times we find time to do these beautiful things.” With many people congratulating Catrin on her efforts on social media, Montgomery resident Doreen Eaton commented a few days in, “Such a great idea. Look forward to opening them every day, it really cheers me up. Well done all - roll on tomorrow!” Montgomery neighbour Rob Harper added, “This is a great idea and just what we all needed to get into the Christmas spirit. Thank goodness for our lovely community here in Montgomery, we are all extremely lucky to live in such an outstanding place.” Cartrin says, “The videos are still available if you’ve missed any or not been able to watch them.” https://www.montgomery-wales.co.uk/christ/advent/advent.php Photo: Lesley and Mike Mills sent a specially recorded short video for Catrin’s Advent calendar
The Christmas Festival committee were pleased and privileged to welcome Andrew Logan to Montgomery to judge the 'Christmas Celebrations' window competition. Andrew Logan is a local artist, sculptor and jewellery designer based in Berriew with his work found at https://shop.andrewlogan.com and https://andrewloganmuseum.org Andrew judged the competition based on two categories - business and residential/domestic properties. Andrew had a wide variety of designs and displays to choose from and the Christmas Festival Committee, on behalf of Andrew Logan, are pleased to announce that the Bookshop (Eaves & Lord) and The Flower House were the joint winning entries for the business properties and two properties on Broad Street and Castle Street were the joint winning entries for the residential/domestic properties category. Andrew was really impressed with all the entries and a prize from the competition sponsors and an autographed postcard from Andrew Logan will be handed to all entrants. Andrew commented it was difficult to make a choice from such an array of fantastic and creative entries. The prizes were left on doorsteps / mailboxes on the morning of Sunday 20th December following the latest lockdown news. Well done to everyone, it has been a fun and exciting build up to the judging and especially during the visit by Andrew and his team. The Montgomery Christmas Festival Committee would like to offer a big thank you to Andrew Logan for his creative inspiration and innovation and feedback about all the entries. Thank you to all the competitors and the businesses who have sponsored the event, namely RVW Pugh, Montgomery Waters, SJ Roberts and Pickstock Homes - we couldn’t have made this happen without you all. Please keep an eye out for the red hearts displaying #montymagic while walking around the town, especially along Broad Street and Arthur Street. Best wishes to you all over the festive period.
Montgomery school children from years 4, 5 and 6 have been commended in the Hungarian national press after a video produced locally in the town went viral in the country. The Montgomery “Building Bridges” video, produced as a response to one produced by Magyar Cymru earlier this year, is intended to build further links between Montgomery and Hungary, where János Arany’s famous poem, ‘The Bards of Wales’, recounts a tale based at Montgomery Castle. The children worked on a greeting in both Welsh and Hungarian for the video, and were supported with their pronunciation by Veronica Hopkins, a Montgomery resident who speaks Hungarian, having Hungarian parents and relatives and being a frequent visitor to the country. The Hungarian Daily News reported that “the students of the local Ysgol Trefaldwyn primary school greet the Hungarians with a perfect pronunciation at the beginning of the short film”. As well as appearing in 11 national newspapers in the country, the story of the video also made national Hungarian TV. The video has now been viewed over 60,000 times with more than 30,000 views on YouTube and more than that again on social media channels. It is available on YouTube via https://tinyurl.com/MontyCCC.
The Christmas Festival Committee are organising a Christmas display window competition themed ‘Christmas celebrations’. The competition is open to both businesses and private properties in Montgomery.An entry form needs to be completed, and is available from firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Bunners shop. Please return the form 28th November (private properties) and 27th November (businesses).The windows will be judged the week before Christmas, but all entries for businesses must be mounted and on display before 28th November.The committee have been fortunate to secure money prizes from local companies:RVW Pugh https://www.rvwpugh.co.ukMontgomery Waters https://www.montgomeryspring.co.ukand SJ Roberts Construction https://www.sjroberts.comGood luck to all entrants! Image: a Christmas window in Broad Street from our 2018 live advent calendar
Our Harvest and Healthy Living Week We have spent the last few weeks giving thanks for Harvest and also promoting healthy living. One of our farming families also donated resources for our younger pupils to make some Harvest Scarecrows. Science and Technology The upper school have been completing science investigations comparing different forms of exercise and the impact on their pulse rates. They have ensured fair testing by repeating tests and building in equal rest periods. After half term the Y2/3 class will receive toothbrushes and we are hoping to organise a virtual tour of a dental surgery with Mr Simkin, a parent and a dentist. Expressive Arts Our Y4/5/6 musicians composed and performed a piece of music on the theme of journeys using a range of tuned and untuned instruments. One depicted searching food and used tribal music as their inspiration and another showed the journey of water from source to the sea. Language, Literacy and Communication Our youngest class learnt and performed the Talk for Writing story 'Little Red Hen.' It is remarkable to think that our reception children have only been with us for a matter of weeks. Humanities, including RE and Collective Worship We have engaged in class assemblies with the theme of Harvest and also enjoyed our regular Open the Book online assemblies. Our RE focus has been on pilgrimages.
Montgomery cyclist Emma Serjeant finished her season on a literal high, by coming second in the British Masters Hill Climb Championships, which was held at Carr Lane Hill, Palterton, Derbyshire on the 11th of October. British Masters cycle racing is for male and female racers who are at least 40 years of age. Although Carr Lane hill is only 1475 m in length, it has a maximum gradient of 15%. Hill climbs are run as time trials, with riders setting off at one minute intervals to beat both the gradient and the clock. Emma said, “It’s been a very strange year with a number of my key races having been cancelled, but it was good to be out racing again against some of the top masters cyclists in the UK.” She added, “After pushing as hard as I could, I was beaten by 5 seconds by winner Sandra McKay - but I was very happy with my silver medal and a large bottle of beer!”