All in a Good Cause

A glimpse at fundraising in St Teath in years gone by

Our village has frequent opportunities for us to get together, enjoy an event and raise funds in the process, be it breakfasts, coffee mornings, lunches, cream teas, concerts, auctions etc. (have you noticed how often food is involved?)! It is interesting to reflect on how the village raised money in the past.

The St Teath Church Log Book records an Entertainment on October 26, 1917, when the audience was treated to songs and recitations, many of which had a wartime theme. The children, trained by Miss Giles, opened the evening with a ‘costume song – Red Cross Nurses’. Mrs. Hartop’s recitation, ‘News from the Front’ followed Miss Williams’ rendition of ‘When You Come Home’. Some light relief was provided by Rev. and Mrs. Kingdon who sang a comic duet, ‘No, Sir’. The children opened the second half of the programme with another costume song, ‘My Golliwogs’ – definitely off limits in our current era of political correctness! Of course, the programme ended with the singing of ‘God Save the King’, and proceeds from the evening were for the Red Cross and the Institution for Blind Soldiers, each of which received £5.10.0 (5 pounds 50 pence).

A ‘Grand Entertainment’ was held in the ‘Council School’, on Boxing Night in 1917 to provide parcels for ‘our boys’ at war. Admission for a ‘reserved and numbered’ seat was 2 shillings (10 pence); front seats, reserved only, were a shilling (5 pence), and back seats were sixpence (2 and a half pence). Featuring the ‘first appearance of the world-famous St Teath Pierrots!’, the entertainment began at 7pm and ‘turning out time’ was about 10pm. Whilst the audience roared with laughter, there was a different sort of roar for many of the local lads, fighting under fire.

The St Teath Pierrots with the Reverend Kingdon (centre). Photo: Brian Kingdon

The Church Log Book includes a follow-up from the ‘Grand Entertainment’ – a touching handwritten letter from the vicar, the Reverend Claude Kingdon, which is given below.

St Teath Vicarage
North Cornwall

Jan 29 1918

My dear

This little present of 6/-
(30 pence) Post Order and Cards are the result of an Entertainment here-and go to you with our love and gratitude – and with the prayer that GOD may indeed bless and keep you – one day to return to dear old Blighty – and St Teath and your loved ones – we are keeping the home fires burning.

Will you, if possible, send to me a field postcard to say you have received this.

Yours faithfully in Christ
Claude D. Kingdon (Rev)

What pleasure, and maybe just a small measure of homesickness, these letters must have given to men existing under the most terrible conditions in that winter of 1917, to know that their village was thinking of them. Ninety years on, that caring still remains a strong thread in our village fabric as we continue our fundraising activities.

Grace Keat