Friends of Meads Parks and Gardens
Since were formed in 2015 we have been lucky enough to have the support of local artist Paul Clark. He not only designed our beautiful logo but also all the flyers and posters for our events. The brilliant thing is that Paul has donated his time and talent to us for free.
One of our best raffle prizes has been two places on his popular watercolor classes at South Street Art Studios and the great news is that Paul has now published a book based on his teaching techniques. I caught up with him to find out more.
'I feel that that a lot of books teaching watercolour tend to be overly complicated, putting many people off before they have even started. My guiding principle in writing the book was to make the reader feel as though they were taking part in one of my classes. The approach I have always used is to make the process as easy as possible and my whole ethos was to keep it simple.’
Watercolour: Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner explains the fundamentals in a friendly and accessible way. Paul shows you what you need in terms of tools and materials and then goes on to explain and illustrate the basic techniques before presenting ten of his paintings for you to replicate and put the lessons you have learned into practice.
‘One of the greatest pleasures for me in teaching painting is to watch individuals develop their own style and see their reaction as they master new techniques. To be able to take my methods to others beyond the classroom is a real privilege.’ says Paul.
And you will have the chance not only to buy Paul’s book but also to meet him in person at his book signing event taking place at The Dolphin pub in South Street on Thursday 23 November from 4.00pm to 7.30pm. At £9.99 is makes a great Christmas present.
Paul is now teaching from his base at Bexhill but has said that he will be delighted to carry on helping us with flyers and posters. It reminded me of the year when he hand painted the sign for cream teas at one of our Meads Village Picnics. Here's a picture of the maestro in action.
See you at The Dolphin...
A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO SUPPORT THE FRIENDS
Some time ago, our Treasurer Wendy Dunne applied to Waitrose for the Friends to be one of the good causes in their 'Community Matters' campaign and we found out earlier this week that we had been successful! A huge thank you to Wendy.
During the whole of November The Friends are are one of their three chosen good causes. So each time you shop in the Eastbourne store this month, please pick up a green token and place it in our section of the Community Matters box. The more tokens we get, the bigger the donation we will receive.
Here is a picture of Wendy and I visiting the store this morning and we were delighted to see that our box already had quite a few tokens.
Please keep them coming and if you can ask family, friends and neighbours to do the same then that would be fantastic!
Terrie Rintoul, Chair of the Friends
Great news for the Friends
As a result of All Saints Park and the Helen Garden being entered into the South and South East in Bloom Competition 2017, both parks has been awarded a Silver Gilt medal!
The Judge's report praised the new sustainable planting and improved mowing regimes in the Helen Garden and the sowing of the wildflower beds. He also expressed great interest in our plans to create a Physic Garden in All Saints Park.
And that's not all...
A separate competition was held to judge the effectiveness of each of the Friends Groups taking part. The categories were:
I am delighted to tell you that we were judged as Thriving which is a remarkable achievement considering that our group was only formed two years ago.
I passed on the news to those who helped with the planting of Autumn crocuses in All Saints yesterday. You can tell by the picture that it put a smile on all our faces!
Let's go for Outstanding next time...
Thursday 27th July 2017 was a very special day for the Friends because it marked our first significant achievement - the planting of two stone pines and the installation of a board celebrating the lives of two remarkable Meads residents, Elizabeth and Molly Sedgwick.
What started out as one of our short-term objectives in 2016 – the sorting out of a sad looking flowerbed - became a journey of discovery at the heart of which is a story of courage, heroism and a daughter’s devotion.
It begins in 1902 when the sixteen-year-old Elizabeth got a job as a waitress at the Alexandra Palace – fondly known as the Ally Pally. Overhearing two men who needed someone to be a target for a Wild West Act in which an apple was shot off a girl’s head, she volunteered on the spot. That thirst for adventure was to play a major part in shaping her future.
Elizabeth went on to become Dolly Shepherd, the Edwardian Lady Parachutist, thrilling the crowds by descending from a balloon filled with hot air, thousands of feet up. She would hang from her parachute gripping a trapeze bar, with a safety-belt round her waist and her legs in a sling.
But one day in 1908, aged just 21, Dolly proved that she was not just a shallow thrill seeker when she carried out the world’s first ever mid-air rescue. She and another parachutist, Louie May, were about to perform a double descent when Louie May found that she was unable to detach herself from the balloon. Dolly could have left her to her fate and descended safely on her own. Instead, she released her companion’s safety belt, told her to take her legs out of the sling and put them round her own waist and let go of her parachute. Dolly then released her own parachute, pulled the rip-cord and they crash-landed together.
Louie May survived without a scratch but Dolly was paralysed and told that she would never walk again. Needless to say, she confounded everyone by not only walking but also parachuting again eight weeks later!
Then, in 2004 at the age of 84, Dolly’s devoted daughter Molly performed a 13,000ft parachute jump with the Red Devils to commemorate her mother’s selfless and heroic act. When Molly died in 2005 she left £1,000 to be used in memory of her mother. Here the story turns full circle as that bequest had been spent to create the flowerbed which the Friends set out to improve in 2016.
The beautiful stone pines which have now been planted in honour of Dolly and Molly are sometimes called ‘Parasol Pines’. Perhaps, given time, these particular trees could become known as the ‘Parachute Pines’.
We hope that over the years, when people stop to read the interpretation board and learn about these two extraordinary women, they will find their story truly inspirational.
The Friends would like to thank Meads councillors Kathy Ballard, Robert Smart and Barry Taylor for making funds available from the devolved budget and to Christine Aldous, EBC Senior Specialist Adviser, for her expertise and advice in helping to make it happen.
The photo below was taken on 27th July after a brief ceremony attended by Councillors Robert Smart and Kathy Ballard together with Meads Community Association (MCA) Chairman Dennis Scard, FMPG Chair Terrie Rintoul, members of the MCA and FMPG Committees, Christine Aldous and Dolly Shepherd enthusiast Debra Wallace.