Motcombe residents and their friends will have a new way to celebrate the countdown to Christmas this Sunday as a donkey leads singers and musicians through the village. Barney Mauleverer told ThisIsAlfred that he’s excited to have organised this brand-new village event.
“I think there’s a great community spirit here,” said Barney. “Now that everybody knows who the doers and creators are in the village, you spread the word and things get done. It’s not just me. I might come up with an idea or two, but we have a good crew who just make stuff happen.”
The procession is a new initiative. “This is going to be a first for Motcombe. We’re going to be gathering at the Coppleridge Inn at 5pm on Sunday. We hope to encourage out a lot of locals who will be dressed up warmly and carrying lanterns. We have organised what we’re calling a donkey procession,” said Barney.
A road closure will be in force on Sunday afternoon to ensure safe walking as locals pass through the village. They will pause for residents of The Grange, the retirement property. As the reveller’s stride along The Street, music will be provided by the Shaftesbury Town Silver Band. Conductor Martin Hill told Alfred that fifteen of his musicians will be playing a range of festive carols for people to sing along with.
Barney says singing will feature prominently on Sunday. “The Shaftesbury Choir, the Motcombe Choir and also some of the Gillberries are coming across from Gillingham,” he said. It’s the Motcombe Choir’s first Christmas performance. “A lovely lady called Sue pulled together some rather sweet-sounding people in March or April this year. This will be one of the first public outings.”
Barney says the event isn’t raising cash for a cause. It’s just another of many occasions designed to bring villagers together. “It’s really about community. I think it’s lovely to be able to put on occasional things that draw people out of their houses so they can get to meet each other within the busy village that we have. It is just a bit of fun,” he said.
Although, as a Christmas event, there is a strong religious theme, all denominations or people with no religious affiliation are welcome. “It’s open to all faiths. The vicar of St Mary’s is coming along. We also have the Methodist Church coming.”
Barney says that Gus, the donkey, is a ‘micro-donkey’. “He won’t be carrying anyone on his back. He is from a rescue centre nearby, run by a Motcombite who came to the fete.”
Visitors from outside the village are encouraged to take part in the event. “We’re open to everyone joining in. We would like to think that Motcombe is the epicentre of community activity in this local area of SP7 and SP8, which include Shaftesbury, Gillingham and over the border to Mere,” said Barney.