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.
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.