Wednesday, 19 December 2018

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from everyone at Bridging Arts.
The past 12 months have been action-packed and fantastic. We have worked with so many people in this country and in France.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part, listened, watched, played, inspired and generally supported us. We couldn’t have done it without you and it has been enormously worthwhile. We’re looking forward to keeping in touch!
We like Caspar David Friedrich’s painting which so famously captures the spirit of Christmas.
It’s about looking beyond the ordinary for hidden meaning. And it celebrates the human spirit.
So here's to a brilliant 2019.

So here’s to a brilliant 2019.

Monday, 17 December 2018

A snapshot of 'dancercise' ...

Simone Sistarelli showing an ultra stable way of balancing the body
'Dancercise' is hard to say.... but the clue is in the name. Here are some photos of a recent session at the Masbro Centre, Hammersmith, London with dancer Simone Sistarelli who inspired the Elders' group.  This was a way of brightening up the day if everything seemed miserable, Simone said.
"I don't want to be cheese-y but movement can make you happy. We're going to go crazy and TAKE the happiness! We're going to learn how to move and also transferring skills to everyday life." 
Simone demonstrated and led the group with some very simple movements that people could use to keep fit but also have fun. Movements you could of course use to dance - which everyone ended up doing at the end.
We're lucky to have funding from Localgiving's Magic Grants to organise this very popular activity. Simone will be holding another session at the Masbro Centre in January.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

An uncanny discovery in Sherborne


A strange and slightly unsettling discovery today in Sherborne, Dorset (where I only went because I'd managed to leave behind a bag in a nearby service station. Thank you to the wonderful lady who found it and handed it in).
In the amazing Abbey, we came across two World War One memorial tablets, both to men who died early in 1915. Gareth Hamilton Fletcher died on 25 January 1915 at Cuinchy, La Bassee, France, aged only 20. He was in the Grenadier Guards.
His parents paid for this memorial in Sherborne Abbey, as well the memorial a few feet away to Laurence Rowe Fisher-Rowe who died, aged 48, on 13 March 1915 the day after receiving wounds at the battle of Neuve-Chapelle. He was also in the Grenadier Guards and married to Eveleen Fletcher, Gareth Hamilton's sister.
So this family lost two members  - a son and a son-in-law - in a few weeks.
Sad enough - but I wanted to know more as both men died in the area we've been studying in Estaires - where the 25th Field Ambulance was stationed (there were many Cornishmen in this unit).
It was a surprise and slightly uncanny to discover (via the Commonwealth War Graves website) that that Laurence Fisher-Rowe had actually been buried in Estaires. He must have been taken from the battlefield to a Field Hospital in the town.
Two weeks ago we were in Estaires marking the centenary of the Armistice, in the graveyard where Laurence Fisher-Rowe and nearly 900 other men lie buried.
Most of their stories are simply unknown - so it is good to learn more about just one (and his brother-in-law, Gareth Hamilton Fletcher, who is remembered at Le Touret Memorial, by the road between Bethune and Armentieres). I am guessing that Gareth's body was never discovered.
In the 25th Field Ambulance War Diary, the entry for 15 March 1915 describes much activity in the hospital around the preceding days, the start of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
Have to say - we know about these deaths and this tragedy because of the Memorials. They were paid for by grieving parents who had the resources to create something lasting to remember them. There were so many others who didn't - and so many other men who lie completely forgotten.

Friday, 16 November 2018

An amazing reunion in Estaires, France

Have finally had time to collect together pictures and clips of videos from the amazing meeting last Friday (9/11) at the College du Sacre-Coeur, Estaires, France, between descendants of young Cornish soldier Leslie Pentecost and the Smagghue family who welcomed him to their home in 1914. Click here to view on the Bridging Arts website.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Laying wreaths in Estaires, France yesterday

Alison Pooley and her sister Carmen Saunders laying a wreath in the English cemetery in Estaires, northern France, yesterday to mark the centenary of the Armistice.  Estaires was on the front line  for much of World War One and important Field Hospitals were created there. Men from Dolcoath Mine's was St John Ambulance team were stationed there - including Fred Head, James Phillips, Fred Negus and Leslie Pentecost (Alison and Carmen's grandfather). There are 900 British and allied graves in Estaires' Town cemetery- as well as many French civilian and military dead.
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Presentation in Estaires

Cornishwoman Alison Pooley and her sister Carmen Saunders at the Armistice Day commemorations at the Town Hall in Estaires, northern France, yesterday. Alison and Carmen were there to mark a 100-year-old friendship. Their grandfather Lesley Pentecost was billeted with the Smagghue family in the town and forged a strong friendship with them. Back home in Cornwall the Pentecost family kept all the letters and photos over the years. Yesterday, 100 years later, they presented an album with them to descendants of the Smagghue family who hosted their grandfather. Background on
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Saturday, 10 November 2018

Honouring a Cornishman on the Western Front

Very moving today to be in Sailly-sur-la-Lys, northern France, as local people honour allied forces' war dead. Here Jean-Pierre Acquette lights a candle to place on the grave of Thomas Penhorwood, a former Newquay policeman. The wreath laid by Camborne Youth Band last August still lies there.
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