Friday 29 November 2019

Easyfundraising really IS easy

It's easy to raise money for Bridging Arts by shopping online: please remember us in the frenzy of Black Friday and Christmas shopping!
Easyfundraising really IS an easy way to raise money for a good cause.  You don't pay a penny, but the retailer gives a percentage of the sale price to us.
Here’s how you can get started: Go to
  • Type 'Bridging Arts' in the box, then click through and follow the links.
  • Once you've ordered, the retailer calculates the percentage of the sale price and pays it to us.
It's an easy way of supporting Bridging Arts. Your  help really DOES make a difference. Thank you!

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Dance sessions for older people

Our dance and exercise sessions with residents at John Betts House, Hammersmith have just finished for the autumn (2o19).... They were led by Italian dancer Simone Sistarelli.....  John Betts House, run by Hammersmith United Charities, has wonderful gardens (pictured). There are more than 40 flats where residents can live independently.
Those who regularly attended the dance sessions loved them! Here's what they said they liked:
  • Clear instruction
  • The instructor was informative about the reasons for the individual exercises, and very positive. There was no feeling of competitiveness
  • Moving better
  • Getting active
  • I enjoyed the music and movement and felt better after!
  • Everything!!
  • Testing but not too painful
  • They are great. The feel good factor is terrific
A huge thank you to LocalGiving for a grant towards this work.
Simone Sistarelli specialises in work with older people. One of his most important projects is one specializing in people suffering from Parkinson's Disease. Click here to find out more about his work.

We've worked with him previously at the Masbro Centre, Hammersmith.

Tuesday 26 November 2019

Exhibition just closing at Camborne Library

Our exhibition PLAYING FOR CAMBORNE now at Camborne Library  and Council offices is closing this week, slightly earlier than advertised on the poster. Apologies to all: however the Library has taken us by surprise by deciding to put up its Christmas displays....
The exhibition is available for free loan. It tells the story of a group of brave tin miners from Dolcoath who - more than 100 years ago - set off to the Western Front after World War One broke out in 1914.
Last year (August 2018), 100 years on from the end of the war, Camborne Youth Band followed in their footsteps and travelled back to France and Belgium to honour their memory.  Click here to view a film about the trip.
They took a 100-year-old bugle that belonged to one of these men, Fred Negus.  Fred’s great great grandson, Corey Williams, plays in the Band.
They also took a rugby ball, signed by current Cornwall and Devon teams, to honour the memory of three famous rugby matches played at the Front in 1915.
They visited:
  • Estaires, in northern France, where they played by the War Memorial and presented the rugby ball to the town
  • Sailly-sur-la-Lys, where a Cornishman from the Field Ambulance is buried
  • The Menin Gate, Ypres, where they played to a crowd of thousands.
The exhibition, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund,  tells the story of this history - and the Band's journey. For more information, please email

Tuesday 19 November 2019

French students honour World War One dead this Remembrance Day

French students at the northern town of Estaires - on the Western Front throughout World War One - made a dignified and moving gesture to mark Remembrance Day this year (2019) by placing wooden crosses with handwritten messages on the hundreds of graves in their local cemetery.
Estaires was hit hard by World War One, virtually flattened after the German Spring Offensive in 1918. Prior to that, Field Hospitals had been operating in the town, based in local schools and factories. Many of the nearly 900 World War One dead who lie in Estaires cemetery died in those hospitals: the College du Sacre Coeur was one of them.
College du Sacre Coeur students braved the bitter cold to walk to the graveyard on Friday 15 November . They read Laurence Binyon's famous lines of remembrance and John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields.
The school band played the Marseillaise and the National Anthem.
"What beautiful and excellent work," said their teacher Anne Debette who, with her colleagues, worked extremely hard on this project.

Work last year

 The students, from the College du Sacre Coeur, have been working with us to mark World War One history over the past 18 months.  In 2018, they staged an exhibition with correspondence from Leslie Pentecost, a Cornish miner, and helped to reunite the descendants of the Smagghue family who in the war years befriended this soldier and other Cornishmen in the town.
Estaires Town Hall's communications expert Tony Haverland made a film of the whole event: click here to view.

Future work

We're looking forward to working with Anne further over the next few months, developing links between the College du Sacre Coeur and schools in Cornwall.

Friday 15 November 2019

A still life in a vegetable crate

Loved this crate of vegetables outside an Italian cafe in Hammersmith near the river. Colours and composition worthy of a Dutch master.

Saturday 9 November 2019

Exhibition at Camborne Library, Cornwall, open Remembrance Sunday 12 noon to 1pm

Our free exhibition PLAYING FOR CAMBORNE: MUSIC AND RUGBY IN WORLD WAR ONE AND NOW will be open Camborne Library from 12 noon until 1pm on Remembrance Sunday .... so that people attending local church commemorations can attend after the service.... Beautiful knitted and crocheted poppies created by local people are still on sale in the library- all proceeds to the British Legion.

Friday 8 November 2019

Poppy-making workshops in at a Camborne primary school

At St John's Catholic Primary School, Camborne for the second year running to mark Remembrance Day. Really engaged and lively students handled World War One artefacts and made poppies. Postcards to the Western Front written by St John's students are currently on display at Camborne Library as part of our exhibition PLAYING FOR CAMBORNE: MUSIC AND RUGBY IN WORLD WAR ONE AND NOW....

Tuesday 5 November 2019

Christmas card competition at St John's School, Camborne

We're looking forward to see entries for our competition for a Bridging Arts Christmas card this year. We've asked students at St John's Primary School, Camborne, to create entries showing what Christmas means to them. The winning entry will become our charity's card.
Closing date: 8 November 2019. The winner will be announced shortly after that ......

Monday 4 November 2019

The Great Escape

Looking for traces of World War One Prisoner of War camps in Lower Silesia, Poland in September.... came across this, the famous tunnel Harry.  This was the site of the World War Two POW camp Stalag Luft 111,  near Zagan, where a mass escape was staged in March 1944 and immortalised in the film The Great Escape, starring Steve McQueen.
Most of those who escaped were executed by the Nazis.
The remains of the camp are in the middle of these woods on the outskirts of the town.
They are not far from Szprotawa, a town nearby where Devon man Reginald Rice was interned. Rice was one of the 25th Field Ambulance and served alongside Cornish miners from Camborne and Redruth who signed up in 1914 under local doctor William Blackwood.
We don't, sadly, find any traces of what in World War One was called Sprottau POW camp. No one in the town knows about it - and it's a rainy Saturday with few people around to ask.

Sunday 3 November 2019

Banner outside Camborne Library

Good to see our exhibition banner outside Camborne Library.  PLAYING FOR CAMBORNE: MUSIC AND RUGBY IN WORLD WAR ONE AND NOW is currently on inside. All very welcome to our launch event on 7 November 2019 at 6pm at the library. We'll be launching a book about the Cornish miners who signed up in 1914 and served throughout the war in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Saturday 2 November 2019

Glimpse of Armistice Day 2018 in Estaires, France

A glimpse of Armistice Day, Estaires, last year when we visited the town with Alison Pooley and Carmen Saunders from Camborne, the granddaughers of Leslie Pentecost. Pentecost was a Cornish  miner who was based in the town with other Cornishmen at the start of the war.
Pentecost sent back many postcards which the family has kept carefully over the years. They are a unique record of the war, and tell the story of his friendship with the Smagghue family in Estaires.
Last year we reunited the Pentecost descendants with the Smagghues and hopefully laid the foundation for links between Cornwall and Estaires in the furure.   In the video, Alison and Carmen lay a wreath on the war memorial in Estaires cemetery.
We'll be telling this story at our launch event in Camborne on Thursday 7 November at 6pm at Camborne Library when we'll be launching a book gathering this - and other local stories - together.

Friday 1 November 2019

Knitting poppies

Thanks to Tina Williams  of Barripper, near Camborne in Cornwall, lots of people have started crocheting and knitting poppies to be displayed at our exhibition PLAYING FOR CAMBORNE: MUSIC AND RUGBY IN WORLD WAR ONE AND NOW at Camborne Library. These poppies will be sold in aid of the British Legion ahead of Remembrance Day 2019.
Tina has tracked down good knitting and crochet patterns and crocheted many, many poppies herself. The knitting group at Camborne Library has also got involved.
A great example of someone's enthusiasm and dedication starting something really worthwhile.

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