Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Winter's Eve 2020 was very different from previous years!
Here is its story – hopefully, bringing back some happy and festive memories from that time of uncertainty .
It started with the Christmas Tree of Good Wishes on 28 and 29 November when villagers left a lovely selection of messages on the weeping birch tree outside the village hall which Monica wrote up and sent around the village - the list of messages are at the bottom of this page.
On the Sunday there was the grand switch on of the Village Christmas Lights – with a wonderful performance by Beth, Mostyn, Maia and Olwen Whelan – big thank you’s to Andrew Bateson, Charlie Bithell, Kevin Wilkinson and Tim Neudegg for help with putting up the lights and marshalling and to John Williams for switching on the church lights, which looked wonderful.
The fantastic 12 Days of Christmas, organised by Caroline Neudegg and aided by lots of elvish helpers, started on 1 December with a different collection in the telephone box on each of the 12 days for items to make up Christmas Hampers for the Vale and the Dusty Forge Food Banks – in addition a cash donation of £150 was made to Ely & Caerau Foodbank raised from the sale of 100% wool toy and cushion filling produced from the fleece of Romney sheep reared in St Hilary by Heather and Colin Shaw!
After the 12 Days of Christmas, the telephone box was the location for the Great St Hilary Takeaway with an assortment of gifts, edible goodies, fun activities and surprises for the younger residents of the village.
On the weekend of 5 & 6 December there was a lot of brain activity as residents young and old enjoyed strolling around the village finding the clues and solving the puzzle in the St Hilary Xmas Trail devised by Neil and Jayne Warnock.
The Christmassy Festive Home Competition was held over the same weekend – with the Calcaterras in The Nest winning a seasonal hamper to reward their marvellous efforts – lots of villagers decorated and lit their homes and there were lots of positive and warm comments from those who enjoyed the festive stroll around the village.
Finally, Stephanie Edwards and Shaun Dixon entertained villagers on Friday, 11 December with the stunning Carols Round the Village, aided and abetted by Marged, Pat, Caroline and Monica – “exceptional”, “fantastic”, “I could have listened to them for ever” and “absolutely wonderful” were just a few of the comments we received.
The Support for Winter's Eve
It was pleasing to see so many villagers supporting Winter’s Eve, either directly by helping to organise the activities or by participating in the events
However, the pandemic meant that we had to develop a different approach to fundraising
Through GoFundMe we raised over £1,000 with an additional £500 donation from Llanfair Community Council – a massive thank you to everybody who contributed
The funding went towards:
- A new 8ft Christmas tree and a set of vertical lights
- A replacement set of icicle lights to go round the village hall (the existing set did not work when we took it out of storage!)
- Insurance for Winter’s Eve and for village activities in 2021
- Honoraria for the professional singers
- A prize for the winner of the Festive Home competition
- Goodies for children
- An awning for village use (we had hoped to use for events on the Green – but Covid regulations scuppered that)
- Sundry items to make the activities safe
- Marketing and publicity materials
Surplus funds went towards activities planned for 2021:
- Three music events: harp, opera and musical theatre
- Village events and exhibitions
- Cut clear and clean (3Cs)
- Telephone box initiatives
- Village insurance
These are the messages that villagers put on the Christmas Tree of Good Wishes
- How do you help someone who has lost their Christmas spirit? Nurse them back to elf!
- Wishing a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year to everyone in the village and their friends and families. It has been a very difficult year but it has been lovely to be part of a village that has managed to keep the spirit of all holidays and celebrations alive. We are looking forward to a FABULOUS 2021. Thank you to everyone.
- Merry Christmas everyone including dogs and cats
- Wishing all the villagers of St Hilary and a happy and healthy 2021
Love from the Nest
- Wishing our lovely village friends a very happy and peaceful Christmas. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. Here’s to 2021! Merry Christmas
- Gan ddymuno Nadolig hapus a heddychlon iawn i’n ffrindiau pentref hyfryd. Pob dymuniad da am flwyddyn newydd iach a hapus. Codwn wydraid i 2021! xxx Nadolig Llawen
- What a privilege to part of St Hilary community. As we start advent and look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus we would like to wish you all a very happy ‘covid free’ Christmas. And thank you all for the food donations villagers have made to the Dusty Forge Food Bank in Ely. Your generosity has made and will continue to make a real difference to those who have very little….. With our love
Lynne and Bruce
- Merry Christmas to the villagers of St Hilary
With love from Mary, Maya, Maisie & Amber, Emma Llewellyn’s, Webleys and Rees
- How fortunate we feel to live in such a beautiful and friendly village – thank you
Caroline and Tim
- Mentioning lovely villagers, we just want to say Rosemary & Simon Lait have a most wonderful time in your new (also old – family ties) home in Newport Pembs – we will greatly miss you
Caroline and Tim
- Thank you St Hilary friends for our 17 happy years in the village. We will miss you as we set off for our new adventure! Happy Christmas. Love
Rosemary & Simon
- To all in St Hilary…may the peace and joy of Christmas be with you this festive season and throughout the New Year. With best wishes
Pam & Kevin Wilkinson, Old Farm
- Happy Christmas to all plus a healthy one. Longing for the day when we can all get together and have a hug. Best wishes
Ralph and Mary
- A big thank you to everyone for your kindness and support over this difficult time. Now it is time for the elves and their helpers to take a rest and recover after all this hard work.
Rae & Graham Kitchen
- Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and happiness for 2021. Let’s hope it’s a better, happier and healthier year than 2020. Stay safe. Best wishes Jayne, Neil and Lewis
- Gracie “Happy Christmas” Hope you are on the beach and not in A&E on the 25th. We will celebrate again if you are allowed to come home in July. Love as always.
Message from the Shaws to their grandchild in Australia
- I would like to wish a very happy Christmas to everyone
- Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas! Despite the present situation we’re so excited about having our first Christmas in St Hilary. Here’s hoping for a less dramatic 2021. Cheers!
Clare, Phil, Wilfie and Bea
- A happy, peaceful and healthy Christmas to all St Hilary residents
- Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and looking forward to a healthy New Year with the freedom to follow our dreams!
Monica & Terry
- Merry Christmas St Hilary
Andrew and Judith, Ochiltree
- Merry Christmas and a happy New Year
- May the Christ child bring you and your family much Christmas joy and peace. Gobeithio bydd mab Duw yn dod a llawenydd Nadolig i chi a’ch teu?
Ewa and Gareth, Manor Cottage
- Good wishes to all and a very happy Christmas