By Martin Gibson. Contact: mrtngibs@aol.com

Services Sunday 13th June: 9:30am Matins led by Rev David Moss. 6pm Holy Communion with Rev Ann Lloyd

The funeral of Robin Bush took place on Tuesday just gone. At last, many more people are permitted to attend funerals and for Robin there were some 35 mourners together with 12 members of the choir, which again was a first. In fact it is 15 months since the choir last sang in such numbers.

Robin had been a churchwarden at St Mary’s for many years and also rang the bells. He had a great love for St Mary’s and was a regular attendee with his wife Penny and children Hannah and James, all of whom were at the funeral along with his son by his first marriage, Allen.

The collection at the funeral was for the automation of the church clock.

Whilst on the subject of clocks and the like, many of us have sorely missed the lack of bell ringing during the pandemic. Now, even though restrictions may well be relaxed so as to allow a group of people to ring our bells, two other factors have come in to play. Firstly, the existing group of ringers has lost members making it difficult, perhaps impossible for them to ring. Secondly, whilst the tower is being restored, bells cannot be rung because of the pressures they exert on the structure. It may be three months after works finish (December) before we will hear St Mary’s chimes once more.

Another member of our congregation who has passed away, is Trevor Anderson. Trevor died last Saturday, quite suddenly, although he had been unwell for some months. Trevor founded the Monday Movie Club with Roly Bain. He was also a founder member of the Olveston Countryside Group which did so much nature management work in the 80s and 90s. Our thoughts are with his widow, Isabel and his 2 sons. Trevor’s funeral will be held on Tuesday 29th June at 12 noon.

Up to 60 people are now permitted to be at funerals, so anyone who wishes to pay their respects will be welcome to attend.

Last week, over two days, a number of volunteers led by Sandy & Debbie, gave At Mary’s a deep clean. Cobwebs were removed from the highest places, hot water and polish cleansed the remainder. How fresh everywhere smelt on Sunday. Thank you to everyone involved.

The planned replacement of all the play equipment at Old Down has been temporarily delayed. This is as a result of difficulty in matching the supply of the equipment with the arrival of grants. The work should go ahead in mid August.

You may have spotted the two VAS speed cameras recently. One is outside the church in a 20mph zone and the other on Alveston Road opposite the football pitch. Both are fully owned and operated by the parish council.

Following the great success of Olveston United Amateur Football Club’s women’s football team winning their league in their first season, a 2nd team has been created. The changing rooms in the Queen Alexandra Memorial Pavilion are horrendously dated and in need of urgent replacement. OUAFC, supported by the parish council, is very actively seeking funds to allow them to completely modernise their facilities.

And finally:

One Sunday morning, the Vicar noticed little Johnnie was staring up at the large memorial plaque that hung just inside the large wooden doors of the church, It was covered with names, and regimental flags were mounted on either side of it.
As he’d had been staring at the plaque for some time, the vicar walked up, put his hand on his shoulder, and said quietly, “Good morning Johnnie.”
“Good morning Vicar,” Johnnie said, not taking his eyes off the plaque. “What is this?” he asked.
“Well, Johnnie, it’s a memorial to all the young men and women who died in the service.”
Solemnly, they stood together and stared at the large plaque. Little Johnnie’s voice was barely audible when he asked, “Which one, father? The morning or evening service?”

And from my postbag this week:

Vicar – It’s no good asking me for ideas on what name you should trade under, I was very disturbed to read that you intend to build a still in the crypt. Yes, it might solve your church’s money problems but it is most certainly against the law. And it’s no good saying the the Chief Constable is amongst your parishioners, he is in the position to uphold that law and could see you put away for a long time. What’s this…. Oh, it may be his idea but I still don’t like it, the Church of St. Joseph is no Benedictine monastery and whilst I don’t know how they get away with it, I do know you most certainly won’t!

And: Dear Bishop: I’m still trying to find a way for you to get your ring back without you being involved in a breach of promise action.