This week: Stuart Briggs, Bridport Carnival, Bridport Torchlight Parade, National Ukrainian Day Picnic, The Melplash Show.
Sadly on the Saturday morning of the Carnival we received the news that our great friend, Stuart Briggs had passed away at home in Bridport. Stuart and his wife Kathy were two of the first people we made friends with after arriving in Bridport 6 years ago and we have many great memories of the times we have spent with them. Stuart had a passion for photography and an appreciation of fine wines, but above all he was dedicated to Bridport Rugby Club and I know that he will be greatly missed by them. Not just a supporter but Vice President, photographer and match reporter . He has been a driving force behind the scenes to get things done for the good of the Club and his recent role helping to run the club bar certainly kept him busy! He was also often in the Kitchen on match days and events and would turn his hand to most things if he could help the club.
On Saturday the Bridport Rugby Club hosted a Tens Tournament and a minutes silence was observed by all. I have included a photograph and a statement issued by the club:
It is with immense sadness that I write to let you know that Stuart Briggs passed away on Saturday 19th August.
Stuart was a very loving husband of Kathy, devoted dad of Claire and much loved by his many friends.
Since his arrival, our Vice Chairman, Stuart, has been a huge part of Bridport Rugby Club and has recently been instrumental in the Club taking on running the bar.
His match reports and photography skills will be greatly missed, as will his support to the Club.
Stuart’s Funeral Service will be held at 11.30am on Friday the 8th of September at Weymouth Crematorium followed by refreshments at Bridport Rugby Club from 1.15pm.
Everyone is welcome to attend both the Crematorium Service and at the Club House to continue sharing memories of Stuart.
Family flowers only please but donations, if desired, for The Living Tree may be given at the Service, online at funeraldirectors.uk.comor sent c/o A. G. Down Funeral Directors, 66 South Street, Bridport, DT6 3NN.
He will be sadly missed by many.
Despite the sad news, both Bridget and I knew that Stuart would want life to go on and he certainly enjoyed telling people he knew the Mayor of Bridport very well so with that in mind we decided that the best way to remember him was with a smile and enjoy all that Bridport has to offer as he would have done.
We were pleased to have our two Granddaughters and their Mum join us for the weekend celebrations and what a weekend it was!
The Carnival is certainly back with a bang and it was a magnificent spectacle this year with very imaginative floats that were appreciated by a huge crowd thronging the streets. It was a very special time for us to be driven in the vintage Rover as part of the parade and a joy to be involved in such a celebration.
Congratulations to the winning Avatar float and the Carnival Princess and her two attendants looked fantastic and very regal at the head of the parade and I am sure they will never forget this special time.
It is difficult to put the event into words. Special thanks to the Carnival organisers and everyone who took part and also all those who were part of the massive crowds that came to wave and cheer, it certainly made to whole event a “must see” Bridport special!
Bridport Torchlight Parade
Two superb events on successive days and Bridget and I were really proud to be able to lead the parade accompanied by our Grandchildren and their Mum. I was advised by previous Torchlighters to take in the scene looking back up South street and I must admit the sight was breathtaking.
The breezy conditions meant the torches would burn quicker than normal so I tried to set a brisk pace so that we would hopefully manage to reach West Bay with our torches still burning. It was a close run thing for a few! Fortunately there were not any reported mishaps and our Town Crier informed me that the relatively quick pace being set was being appreciated.
It was amazing to see so many people lining the streets all the way to West Bay and especially the large crowd in the Bay waiting for the parade to arrive. After throwing my torch onto the roaring bonfire (the wind had changed direction) we made our way to the West Bay Hotel outside bar for well-earned refreshments. There was a request for Candyfloss and soft drinks from the Grandchildren and a pleasant wait for the Fireworks while enjoying the music from the Skalatans who were very entertaining as always.
The fireworks were spellbinding and our family viewed them from the beach which added a bit of extra magic with the reflections from the sea.
It was another one of those special events that will never be forgotten and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to lead the famous Torchlight Parade, I hope there were many happy memories made for other people on Sunday night.
How can we ever thank the Carnival Committee for arranging the events, those that made sure we were safe and closed the roads, those of you who bought torches and took part and those that turned out and lined the streets for the evening. It was another Bridport special without a doubt and an event not to be missed.
On a serious note I have had some requests from some residents in West Bay to explore the use of “Quiet” Fireworks due to the distress the loud bangs can cause to children, pets and livestock. I do consider ourselves lucky that our Cocker Spaniel doesn’t even blink when the fireworks explode but I can appreciate that, while the sounds add to the visual joy of the fireworks, it can be distressing for some and I have promised to explore this further. It does seem to be catching on in some areas.
National Ukrainian Day Picnic
Bridget and I were honoured to be invited to the National Ukraine Day picnic celebrations on Tuesday that were held on the green outside the Salthouse in West Bay. The event was arranged by Brit Valley Rotary Club and would normally have been held on August 23rd but, due to it clashing with the Melplash Show it was decided to hold it a couple of days earlier. It was a wonderful warm evening and we were treated to a very sociable time, lovely food (and drink), Sea Shanties from our favourite local group and a chance to talk with some of our Ukrainian guests who were spending their second National Ukraine Day still far away from their homeland.
As our day to day lives go on it is all to easy for us to forget the acts of war that are still happening in and around Ukraine. I give thanks to those generous people who have welcomed those seeking refuge from the horrors of conflict and hope that one day those that want to return to their country will be able to do so in safety.
The Melplash Show
We were welcomed to the Melplash show at 08.30 by Simon Wakely who is the current Vice President of the Melplash Show and treated to a guided tour before the crowds arrived. Although we have been to the show before it was a treat to see all of the animals and have a chance to talk to the Farmers who owned them. I was amazed by all of the different varieties of each breed of animals and the enthusiasm of the farmers, their families and helpers for the chance to show off their prized animals.
We looked in at the cookery theatre and the food hall and then moved on to the various competition tents where we saw fantastic floral displays, vegetables, preserves, art, cakes and many more categories too numerous to mention.
This was followed by an attempt to visit all of the various vendor stalls in a day but we failed, there is too much to do and see at Melplash! We could only marvel at the logistical and organisational skills necessary to put the show together.
The Grand Parade was a joy to behold as all of the animals that had been on show were brought into the ring. Not an easy task trying to keep them all calm but their handlers did a great job of lining them all up.
I had the honour of being first up and presenting the Bridport Townsfolk Bowl to the owner of the Best Beef Beast then it was finally time to relax and watch the rest of the prize giving.
After the cups were presented an award was made to 13 young people who were successful this year in applying for the Melplash Agricultural Scholarship which offers financial help to young people who want to pursue a career in Agriculture, Horticulture or Forestry (or any closely allied subject) and I had the chance to talk to one who was heading for New Zealand to put the finishing touches to the skills he had already learned. This year the fund was an incredible £34,000 and over the last ten years the scheme has raised over £300,000.
For more information on the scheme contact Lucy Hart on [email protected] or call 01308 423337
The application form is available to download from:
The closing date is 1st of July each year and to qualify you must be 16 years or older and live within a 12 mile radius of the Melplash Village Church DT6 3UD.
Finally our thanks must go to the President of the Melplash Show, Mr. Michael Fooks, for the invitation and hospitality shown to us and again to Simon Wakely, Vice President, for being our Tour Guide and putting up with our questions, he was an excellent host!
Note, Photographs courtesy of Tim Russ, an official Show Photographer:
Contact [email protected]