If you’d gone to St Mary’s Avington on Sunday afternoon, you might think you had entered another world—being greeted by Vernon and Arminel Tottle, decked out in costumes dating back to the 18th century!
We were gathering to hear the assembled musicians and choir of the ‘Madding Crowd’—also all dressed in Georgian period costume—as they performed for us various hymns, psalms and other songs from that historic century during which the church had been built.
After a workshop—during which we heard about the history of the church’s building from Gill Graham Mawr and about the development of musical worship from Mike Bailey—we then had a short Service of Evening Prayer as it might have been experienced 250 years ago, back in 1773 (just two years after the church was consecrated).
And then the party began!—great conversations taking place whilst the Madding Crowd continued to entertain us in the background.
It was also an opportunity to express publicly our thanks to Gill Graham Mawr for all she has done in relation to the St Mary’s since she first arrived in Avington nearly 40 years go. We wish her well as she moves to her new home.
And we owe a great debt of thanks to Helen Wayne and the DCC for all they did to make this event such a success, as well as to the others from the village (known locally as the ‘A-team’!) for all their practical support in making the church and garden look so fine.
It was truly a “once in a generation” event—a special event in a unique place—and we also raised a goodly sum for our three Harvest charities: THANK YOU!