All five prize winners came to Pilton on Saturday October 30th to receive their prizes in Pilton Church, and then read their stories to an enthusiastic audience in Pilton Church Hall.
Heere are the results, plus links to more information about them and links to their stories,
First Prize Kathleen Wing, Plymouth, Devon The Shaman
Second Prize Jenny Tunstall, North Somerset, Ursa Major
Third Prize Marka Rifat, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, In the time of plenty
Local North Devon Prize, sponsored by Broomhill Estate
John Croker, Bideford, Rondo’s Rhythmic Rodents
Local Pilton and Bradiford Prize, sponsored by Broomhill Estate
Ian Lewin, Bradiford, A Tight Turn
The following – below – contains photographs and a description of Saturday’s event.
We are very grateful to the Rev Marion Sanders, her husband Bill and Carole Tudor for their help in making the event in the Church possible. It was so special having this event in the church that Hector Hugh Munro (Saki) attended when he was a boy. We would also like to thank Bev Snowden and our brilliant Compere David Weeks for introducing everyone, and our Town and District Councillor Ian Roome for presenting the local Prizes (kindly sponsored by Broomhill Estate).
We started this page with photographs of the five Prize Winners, but the event began with a few words of welcome from Rev. Marion Sanders. She kindly said how grateful the Church were to our group for saving Manning’s Pit, and spoke about how much the fields meant to local people, especially during the pandemic.
We had a problem with photographs at this point, but Martin Haddrill has managed to send us a still from his video (more about that another day):so we now have a photo of Marion as she gave her introduction.
Marion then handed over to Friends of Manning’s Pit Committee member Bev Snowden, who spoke with great passion about Saki. Like quite a few of us, she hadn’t warmed to his stories the first time she read some, but she now calls him a genius, and she recommended that anyone who wanted to appreciate Saki should begin by Googling his ten most popular stories.
Both Bev and Marion’s words were inspirational, but unfortunately their photographs were the only ones that did not come out well. This wasn’t either of our photographers fault, but mainly our own, for not giving clearer instructions to begin with, so apologies! We had also hoped to do a rehearsal, but Covid restrictions got in the way of that.
This next photograph, of Bev, although blurry, does catch something of her enthusiasm and thanks to Richard Martin for catching the moment.
Following on from Kate’s reading about Saki’s childhood, Peter Christie, one of our three Judges, was introduced. The other two Judges, Sir Richard Eyre and James Lovelock, were unable to be with us, but David thanked them for their involvement
Following Peter’s talk, the prizes were presented – see the photographs at the beginning of this post – and we then left the Church and walked down through the Churchyard and across the road to Pilton Church Hall. This was a route Hector Hugh Munro would have known well, so we were literally walking in his foosteps.
Earlier, during the Prize Giving Ceremony, Richard Martin was busy taking snapshots at the side of the church, here is a slideshow:
While we were in the Church, a couple of helpers had remained in the Hall, getting everything prepared and setting out refreshments. Masks had been worn by everyone in the Church, except those speaking and presenting, but in the Hall people were drinking and eating, so this was not the case.
This is the time to say a special thanks to our magnificent team of helpers, most especially Katie Martin, Denise Smith, Yvonne Hellicon, Christine Lewin and her daughter Jess, Chris Bulpett and Tim Saunders and there must be others not mentioned here, please email a reminder if you have been left out by accident! Then there are all those who donated drinks and refreshments. As always we had too much rather than too little. Plus thanks of course photographers Jim Smith and Richard Martin and Martin Haddrill with his video camera.
Richard Martin was busy again with his camera while we were talking, eating and drinking – here is another slideshow with some of the many photos that he took. Click on the arrows at the side to move the photographs.
Then it was time for everyone to sit down again, for the readings.
The first to read was Marka Rifat, from Aberdeenshire. Her story was a very short but beautiful one. It was called “In a time of plenty” and you can read more about her, and link to the story, on our website here; https://www.manningspit.com/saki/prize-winners/marka-rifat.html
The second story to be read was Ursa Major by Jenny Tunstall, and Tim Saunders, who loved this story most especially, had asked if he could read it – it is quite dramatic and Tim enjoys acting. Tim is not only our Treasurer and sometimes Panto star but an artist as well.
You can read more about Jenny and find a link to the story at this website page https://www.manningspit.com/saki/prize-winners/jenny-tunstall.html
Here’s a charming image of Jenny, from earlier, as well.
Then it was time for the First Prize winner, Kathleen Wing to read her story too. You can read more about Kathleen here on the website: https://www.manningspit.com/saki/prize-winners/kathleen-wing.html
Here she is, reading her story The Shaman, which was a perfect example of a Saki-like story. It could be described as a story about a somewhat unassuming woman in her fifties who is underrated by a younger man who thinks he knows it all – a modern take on Saki’s stories in which pompous people have their pretensions punctured..
Finally, the two Local Prize winners read their stories:
Finally, the most local Prize winner of all, Ian Lewin read his story, a sad and atmospheric tale that felt very much as if it was set in the Bradiford Valley.
Fortunately, while that tale was sad, it isn’t a lament for Manning’s Pit. When the Competition was launched, the future for Manning’s Pit was uncertain. Now it is assured.
A final short slide show (photos from Richard Martin)
Thank you to everyone for making it a great evening, and thank you to all who entered the Competition, no matter how they fared. We appreciated every story, and were only sorry there could not be more prizewinners.
We will be adding news shortly about those stories that were Highly Commended.