Unfinished business and something new

Show notes (summary)

Welcome to Season 2 of our podcast. For our first episode of 2022 we announce the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th prize winners of our Wonderful Villages Photo Competition and reveal some of our plans for this year, including a brand new and exciting opportunity to receive recognition and support for your village, church or community hall.

Transcript: Season 2 / Episode 1

Johnny Thomson 00:00
Hello and welcome to The Village Halls Podcast sponsored by Allied Westminster, the UK’s largest specialist provider of village hall insurance, and the home of VillageGuard. And so here we are in 2022. Hopefully all refreshed and raring to go with the opportunities and challenges facing us all this year. Best wishes to all of our listeners and I hope you will enjoy what we’ve got coming up for you in season two of our podcast. And more on that a little later. However, for now, we do still have a little bit of leftover business from last year to cover off, that being the other winners of our Wonderful Villages Photo Competition. And to help me with that, I’m delighted to once again welcome along Allied Westminster’s MD and my fellow photo competition judge, Gavin Mitchell. Hi, Gavin. How you doing?

Gavin Mitchell 00:52
Hello Johnny. I’m very well thank you. Very well. Happy New Year to you.

Johnny Thomson 00:57
Yeah. And to you. And hope you had a great Christmas as well.

Gavin Mitchell 01:00
Yeah, quite a quiet one. It was it was nice. It was great. It was good and all safe and sound, did our tests and all the rest of it. So yeah, it worked out very well.

Johnny Thomson 01:09
And all over and all soo to be forgotten.

Gavin Mitchell 01:13
Indeed and onwards into the New Year.

Johnny Thomson 01:15
Okay, so as you may remember, we revealed the overall winner of our photo competition, Rafford Village Hall back in December. But we still have fifth, fourth, third, and second places to announce. Now, if you’d like to see the other winning photos, as Gavin and I talk through them, I suggest you either go to the photo competition page of our website at www.thevillagehallspodcast.com. Or, if you aren’t already, listen in to this podcast on our YouTube channel, which you can find a link to on our homepage, or simply head to YouTube and search for The Village Halls Podcast. So, without further ado, let me get straight on to fifth place. The nominated and village hall for this photo was Noss Mayo Village Hall in Devon and the person taking the photo was Tracy Watson and… what a photo it is! Now, if you can’t see it, as I speak, apologies, because there’s just so much going on in here, it’s almost impossible to describe. We’ve got some bizarre looking boats, people in fancy dress, and a couple in the background quite clearly perplexed by what they’re witnessing. And to be honest, we selected this photo mainly because it was just so mad and so intriguing. I mean, one of the small boats there in this photo has the words ‘the bins will empty themselves in time’ written on it. And there’s there’s a poor dump cuddly toy rabbit hanging off the back of one of the boats as well, for reasons well, none of us can figure out to be honest. Gavin your thoughts on this one.

Gavin Mitchell 03:00
Oh, we haven’t enough time. We haven’t enough time to cover it. I mean, this is the bizarre thing about a podcast show, we’re talking about a photograph. I would encourage anyone to go and have a look at this photograph on The Village Halls Podcast website. It’s just fantastic. There’s so much happening in it. There’s a woman clearly about to plunge into the water by accident off one of the boats. Somebody lending a rather poor helping hand I think. And in terms of what you said there about what’s written on the side of one of the other boats, the same boat and reading it says ‘keeping your streets dirty since 1916’. Just fantastic! I mean, there’s there’s just too much going on in that photograph. It’s just great.

Johnny Thomson 03:46
It’s fantastic. So well done Tracy, you certainly entertained us. And if like us by the way, you’re intrigued about the event being depicted in this photo, which is called ‘The Beer Race’, apparently, which quite frankly doesn’t surprise us. Have no fear because Tracy has said she’ll come on the show later this year and explain everything. So I’m definitely looking forward to that one! Now, Gavin, tell us about the fourth place photo please.

Gavin Mitchell 04:19
The fourth photograph. Yeah, there’s a lot happening in that photograph. It’s just got everything about community spirit. And it’s just so clearly a rural community that’s got together and just having a lot of fun. There’s a tug of war race going on. And you know, it’s just full of folks really going for it. And almost everyone is engrossed with what’s going on apart from one small child who’s totally fixated with a sweet or something that he’s eating. Certainly hope that side of tug of war doesn’t doesn’t lose. It looks as if he would be flattened if they all fell over, but it just looks great. There’s a lot happening, everyone’s having a really, really nice time and this this is from Nick Whines, and it’s the village hall he nominated was Froyle Village Hall. It’s in Hampshire. And yeah, it’s just fantastic. It’s the it’s the Froyle Fete in full swing, and there’s a bric ‘n brac bookstore, barbecues and marching band, they’ve got welly chucking going on, apparently on the day, and it’s, it just looks fantastic. It’s there’s a lot happening. And, you know, I don’t know, from my standpoint, I don’t know in terms of the quality of the photograph from a photography standpoint, you’re better able to judge that than I Johnny, but it’s just got a lot happening and it does everything we asked of a competition entry.

Johnny Thomson 04:21
Yeah, it did raise a question for me as well, which is I was wondering why it was all men, you know. And what, Nick, what Nick said was, it was because the tug of war is actually a battle of the sexes, so you can’t see the other end of the rope but apparently, it’s the men v the women in the in the village. So that’s a good one. And Nick described the village hall with his entry as well, didn’t he Gavin, quite interestingly shall we?

Gavin Mitchell 06:07
Well, yes. Well, what’s he said here, he says it’s famous for its cakes and its garden, the village hall is the hub of the community, has regular coffee, mornings, classes, quizzes. It’s all run as ever by volunteers and the last comment was fantastic: ‘The loos get blocked, the roof leaks, there is never a dull moment sorting things out, and when you die of exhaustion, they’ll all hold a wake in your honour. Fantastic!

Johnny Thomson 06:33
I’m sure that’s something probably all village hall people out there can relate to.

Gavin Mitchell 06:37
Empathise with that, yeah. Perfect, perfect.

Johnny Thomson 06:41
Excellent. Okay, so moving swiftly on the third place. And this one was taken by Robert Anderson, who nominated Golant Village Hall in Cornwall to win the £250 in prize money. What we liked about this photo was, well a few things. First of all, there is obvious joy just surrounding participation here in what is a typical outdoor village hall event with people smiling and laughing as they lineup for an egg and spoon race. We also loved the diversity in the image, not just in terms of ethnicity, but also around different generations taking part. And finally, I’d like to give a technical shout out to Robert for this photo too. He clearly knows how to work a camera Gavin, you know with everything that needs to be in focus, very crisp, very clear, and the background nicely separated. So great photo Robert, thanks for your submission. And, and I know as well he was delighted that his image was going to help support the village hall there in Golant.

Gavin Mitchell 07:47
I think it’s a fantastic photograph. I liked the information that we picked up about this photograph that the road where the the race is run with, with the egg and spoon race is covered at high tide. And the note who received with the photograph said basically that any broken eggs that don’t get cleaned up by our doggies are quickly washed away when the high spring tides cover the road.

Johnny Thomson 08:12
Yeah, it’s amazing, isn’t it? All of the different stories and different snippets of information that we’ve picked up from this. And you know, to be fair thing, that’s probably why it took us so long to to come to a final judgement, because we weren’t just looking at the photos we we’re also intrigued by all of the fascinating background with this. And anyway, so finally Gavin, tell us about the second prize, which I know struck you, strck you from the moment you saw it didn’t it?

Gavin Mitchell 08:41
It did, it just stood out. And this photograph was from Maureen Round and it’s from a village in Shropshire and the nominated village hall was asked for Ashford Carbonell Village Hall. I would encourage you to go and look at this photograph again, if you’re listening to this. It’s a great photograph. But I don’t know, it’s is it comic, is it tragic, I don’t know? What it is, is two ladies basically standing looking as if they’re in some sort of chemical warfare situation at a table in a leafy little village. And the message basically that came with it was said during the second lockdown, they had a wonderful team of ladies who carried out the usual Wednesday coffee morning, but ‘to go’ instead of actually inside the village hall. And the photo is one of the two go coffee stations where there are two ladies braving the wind, the rain and the snow to provide a hot cup of coffee and some homemade biscuits for the villagers. And this meant that people could get out of their homes and meet, albeit briefly, other villagers at a time of isolation. And I just thought, you know it’s a tragic photograph of the sign of the times, but my goodness me it shows community spirit. And you can see they’re loving what they’re doing. It’s a fantastic photograph. And you know, four years ago, you’d have looked at this and said, what on earth is going on? But let’s hope in four years time people will be saying that, but you know, it’s a sign of the times, but it’s a great photograph. Great photograph.

Johnny Thomson 10:15
That’s it. It does and it tells a story doesn’t it of how of how things were. And so from that point of view, it’s it’ll be timeless as well. Another thing Gavin, the day we told Maureen as well that she’d won the £250 and £500 for their village hall, she’d received some body in bad news, which I won’t go into, but needless to say, we’re glad we were able to cheer Maureen up a bit and in her words, put a smile back on our face as well. So all the best to to Maureen out there as well. And that’s pretty much it for last year’s photo competition. Thank you again to each and every one of you who entered. And it was a tough job picking the winners wasn’t it Gavin?

Gavin Mitchell 10:17
Yeah, it was was a tough job. But what a great great selection before of photographs. We had photographs from the north east of Scotland, Shropshire, Cornwall, Hampshire, Devon, great. Good, good selection of photographs.

Johnny Thomson 11:15
Yeah. And now you may be wondering, when we’re going to be doing it all again. And on that front, and with Season Two of The Village Halls Podcast in mind, we’ve got some news for you. Now, I hope you’re not disappointed, but we’ve actually decided not to do the photo competition again this year. So I guess that’s the bad news. But the good news is we are planning something that we think is both bigger and better. Would you like to give some of what I’m talking about away right now Gavin?

Gavin Mitchell 11:49
Yes, indeed, what we’ve decided to do, partly because I think, as I said, photographs and podcasts did not sit well togetherm, so what we wanted to do this year was partly I think, inspired by all different fantastic podcasts over the last year and some great stories and some fantastic inspiration we received from that. We thought what we would do this year is provide a community award, which we can basically provide to somebody who’s done wonders for their local village community. It could be in any aspect of community activity, whether it’s charitable, whether it’s just helping people, whether it’s been helping out with with lockdown, something amazing for your village hall, again inspired by the amazing podcasts that we heard throughout the year. And in parallel to that, we would also like to provide the village hall for that particular village, an award as well. So it’s somebody, or a group of people even who have done something magnificent for the village in the village community, and a contribution to the village hall. So we would like to reward someone or a group of people for doing something great for their village community. And we would also like to provide a parallel award for their local village hall.

Johnny Thomson 13:16
Yeah, and I think the other thing to say is that this is an idea, isn’t it Gavin that is just kind of germinating at this, at this point in time. We need to get down to the finer details, because we’ve also talked about doing one or two other awards for different categories and things like that. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to go away and think about this a little bit more and then get back to you late February, early March time with more information on the categories for our awards and how you can enter, and so on. But for me, The Village Halls Podcast is about two things when it comes to village halls and the people involved with them. Firstly, it’s about us sharing great stories and ideas that make communities tick, as you’ve mentioned Gavin and we’ll certainly have more of those for you in season two. And it’s also about giving some recognition to you, the unsung heroes out there that do so much for your local community. So, we really hope that the awards we have planned for this year will help do that and also become an integral part of our podcast moving forward. So please just watch this space yeah?

Gavin Mitchell 14:30
Listen to this space Johnny.

Johnny Thomson 14:33
Yeah. Yeah, very good. I like what you said about podcasts not being the most visual medium!

Gavin Mitchell 14:41
Well there’s a website, please visit the website.

Johnny Thomson 14:42
And so that’s it for our first episode of 2022 and season two. Thanks again, Gavin for coming on as always.

Gavin Mitchell 14:55
My please, okay, can I finally wish all the people who got involved in the photograph competition and the related village halls, in fact to all village halls out there that are listening in and all the subscribers, a very happy healthy 2022. And let’s hope we get through all of the doom and gloom as quickly as we can. Wishing you all well in 2022.

Johnny Thomson 15:17
Yeah, and I’ll second that certainly Gavin. And looking forward to talking to you again, as I say in March when we talk a little bit more about awards. And many many thanks to our headline sponsor and specialist insurance provider Allied Westminster of course as well for making our podcast possible, and whose services you can discover more about ay villageguard.com. And to online booking system provider Hallmaster, who also sponsor our podcast, and can be found at hallmaster.co.uk You’ve been listening to The Village Halls Podcast, a unique listening community for Britain’s village, church and community halls and anyone interested in the vital community services they provide. We’ll be back again soon with another episode. So if you haven’t already, please visit thevillagehallspodcast.com to subscribe, sign up for updates, link through to our social media pages and to find out more. Until the next time. Goodbye for now.