U[p on the Balcony


June 3rd 2021

There are now only 27 days left to submit your entry into our Short Story Competition, so if you have started one, don't delay in finishing it! Entry details are here: www.manningspit.com/saki

It is also only 18 days until the Summer Solstice. Almost a year ago, we held our first of four walking events to celebrate the solstices and equinoxes. There wasn't much else we could do during the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns. By July we hope to start holding Coffee Mornings again in the Hall, if all goes well, and - weather and lockdown measures permitting - we may decide to have another walk on Sunday 20th. Last June's walk was the hardest obviously, with a start at a very early hour, but it was a great day. 
Here is a lovely photo from then of a family who came out in support, preparing to do their relay leg of the fields. These little girls have grown up during the campaign, as their parents were supporters right from the beginning in late 2015.

Family ready to

May 25th 2021

We are very excited to have support from Broomhill Estate, the famous Hotel and Sculpture Gardens that are at Muddiford, just over two miles upstream of Manning's Pit.

These prizes will be local ones, first for the best entry from North Devon and secondly for the best entry from Pilton and Bradiford, the two villages where Saki lived as a boy.

For more about the Broomhill Estate, go to this link: http://broomhill-estate.com/

May 15th 2021

Only six weeks left now to write a story and win £500! 

Sometimes it seems as if Saki himself is haunting us as strange events featuring cows take place, reminiscent of Saki's story The Stalled Ox. Perhaps that is only to be expected of an organisation led by artists trying to save fields that are at present being grazed by some attractive but feisty cattle.

Here is a link to Saki's story:

May 6th 2021

Hedgesparrow on
                                                Saki's hat by Tim

Thanks to Tim Saunders our Treasurer for this image. The Saki Short Story Competition has just under two months to run now. We have already had a good number of entries from many parts of the UK as well as several from abroad.  Full details are here:  http://manningspit.com/saki/

April 3rd 2021


March 26th 2021
Spring Equinox Walk
John at dawn
 John at the start at 6.15.
Zsuzsa running at 7.15

       Zsuzsa running at 7.15

Sunday March 21st was the day we chose to mark the Spring Equinox with another of our Sunrise to Sunset walks. It was yet again a very successful and inspirational day, starting at 6.15 am and finishing at 6.15pm. It was damp and dull when the first walks took place but the weather soon brightened up, and throughout the day a succession of supporters were out walking through the fields.
Many found it a great release just to say hello (in a socially distanced way) to other walkers they came across, and as the sun came out everyone felt a lifting of spirits after what has been a long and difficult winter for us all.
We have put a slide show on the Blog of photos taken throughout the day, and posted many more photos on our Facebook Page as well., including photos of a little girl called Ivy who was the star of the day - more to come about that!

Supporters in Rope Swing field
A local couple who have supported the campaign since 2015, out for a walk in the Rope Swing field, early afternoon
Tim and Kate watch the sun setting
Kate and Tim watch the sun setting over Bideford Bay in the distance, from the top of Manning's Pit. After a warm day, it was getting very cold again.

March 7th 2021
Reminder of statement posted before Christmas:

As pointed out at the end of November,  we have decided to call a halt to our fundraising efforts for now. We are able to access extra funds on top of the amount raised already. Thank you all for your magnificent efforts, every donation large or small has helped us on our way.

We remain in negotiations with the seller and ask you all to be patient as this is a long process. As soon as we have more news it will be posted here. 

These negotiations continue, and if it is an even slower process than expected, we ask people to remember that we have all been in the midst of the Covid pandemic that causes many  problems as well.

Meanwhile, we soldier on in lock-down, with the heartening news that vaccinations are proceeding at great pace. More and more of our supporters have already been vaccinated, which is very good news.

This last week or so there has been a flurry of Press and Radio interest in our Short Story Competition, with a report in the North Devon Journal (not available online) a report on the North Devon Gazette website, plus an interview on local radio station The Voice with our secretary Chris Bulpett, who spoke powerfully as always.

With nearly 4 months to go, entries are coming in steadily, so our message is - get writing! Give yourself a chance to win the first prize of £500! For more information, go to:  http://www.manningspit.com/saki/

February 13th 2021

We are still waiting for news, and nothing much else is happening.   Despite the fact that most of the country has seen snow, we have missed it yet again. That is the penalty for being in a coastal area - you can see the Taw Estuary, Bideford Bay and the cliffs beyond Westward Ho! from the highest part of the Manning's Pit and the lower parts are not far above sea level. We have however had the occasional frosty morning between the days of rain and locals continue to enjoy their walks in Manning's Pit as a break from lockdown.

Monday 4th January 2021

When our Buy Manning's Pit campaign began, we would never have imagined that we would still be looking for a result at the beginning of 2021. But we didn't reckon on a pandemic, and this is a very different world.  One thing we have learned though, before all others, is that no place is more valued by the people of Pilton and Bradiford and Barnstaple than Manning's Pit.  Even in the depth of a wet winter, and despite the muddy conditions that are exceptional at the moment, it is a fantastic asset during lock down.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday December 21st

As pointed out at the end of November,  we have decided to call a halt to our fundraising efforts for now. We are able to access extra funds on top of the amount raised already. Thank you all for your magnificent efforts, every donation large or small has helped us on our way.

We remain in negotiations with the seller and ask you all to be patient as this is a long process. As soon as we have more news it will be posted here.

To mark the Winter Solstice, we did another Sunrise to Sunset event on Sunday 20th December - taking even greater care with social distancing following the news about the new variant of the virus.

You can see a full report of the day's event on our Blog, along with photographs.

Sunday November 29th

As we near the end of lockdown on December 2nd, we enter Tier 2, so not very much will change. although up to 6 people will be able to meet up in gardens again.
This week we were pleased to hear from supporter Anne Beer, who has had a book published recently. It is called My Life on a Cliff Edge, and is an autobiography. Anne is a talented artist and writer, and her poem Manning's Pit Fever was Highly Commended by the Judge of the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry Competition. 

Sunday November 15th

The Saki Short Story Competition

Following on from the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry Competition (2018). the Friends of Manning's Pit are now launching the Saki Short Story Competition. Hector Hugh Munro (Saki) grew up close to Manning's Pit.

  Entries can be accepted from November 20th, and the Competition closes on June 30th 2021.

The Judges will be Sir Richard Eyre, James Lovelock and Peter Christie.

Saturday November 7th

On Thursday 5th November we entered another lockdown. Once again, any find raising activities have become very difficult, and we have decided to call a halt to our fundraising efforts for now. We are able to access extra funds on top of the amount raised already. Thank you all for your magnificent efforts, every donation large or small has helped us on our way.

We remain in negotiations with the seller and ask you all to be patient as this is a long process. As soon as we have more news it will be posted here.

Saturday October 24th

Go to our Blog for full results of the Children's Poster Competition.

One of the winning Posters: by Hope Gleeson from Westward Ho!
Poster by Hope Gleeson

Wednesday October 21st

Jack wants to keep on walking - more reports in the North Devon Journal:

Jack's walk report North Devon

Jack's sponsored walk raised over £560 - read a report of the walk with photos on our Blog:


If you came from a link about the MP and Councillor support on the main Page, scroll down to around September 3rd, to see Selaine Saxby, and then up for Robbie Mack, Ian Roome, Jo Orange, Mel Lovering and Janet Coates.

Monday October 5th

Jack has now raised £273! His mother is also offering a hamper of sweets as a raffle prize, everyone who sponsors Jack gets a raffle ticket.

Friday October 2nd

Three year old Jack was going to do a sponsored walk For Manning's Pit this Saturday, but with an Amber weather warning for tomorrow the walk has been deferred until next week. One good thing about this is that gives everyone some more time to sponsor him - here is his fundraiser page:  https://buymanningspit.enthuse.com/pf/jacksfundraisingwalk
He's raised £173 already!

Thursday 1st October

The last couple of days fundraising have been a little slow for some reason, but today we had lots of action. People are helping in so many ways, writing letters to papers, sending money, even just showing emotional support as we do our best to think of ways to raise more. 

There was a good article in today's North Devon Journal and we had a number of contacts because of it - one of the extra pluses from our campaign has been the opportunity to meet or talk to so many lovely people. One lady - met in the fields a few days ago - sent a very moving letter to the Journal. We have published it on our Blog, here: https://manningspit.wordpress.com/2020/10/01/a-wonderful-message-just-recieved/

Monday 28th September

We have just had a donation of £5000 which puts us on our way towards our next target of £120,000. All our biggest donors have been anonymous but we hope they know how much we appreciate their donations.

There's a good report from Tony Gussin in the North Devon Gazette online:

Call to Keep Funding Raising as Manning's Pit fails to sell at auction.

They used this photo of the Gomez family, who took part in our Walking Relay on September 20th.  This shows three generations, parents, children, grandmother - and of course the family dog.:

Gomes family about to walk in
                                  Manning's Pit

Friday 25th September

A new statement:

Following the unsuccessful sale of Manning’s Pit at auction on Wednesday 23rd September we have opened a dialogue with the seller to see if we can agree terms, and it is more important than ever that people donate to help us reach a figure that will get the deal over the line

Wednesday 23rd September

Manning's Pit did not sell at auction today so we remain hopeful a purchase may yet be agreed and are continuing to fund raise with that aim.

Tuesday's news wasn't quite right - there were bids that were higher than the amount we have raised, but they did not reach the reserve price, which is why there was no sale.

Tuesday 22nd

We have had some really bad news. Someone has already made a bid for Manning's Pit, of £182,000 plus VAT. Unless we have a miracle benefactor to add more than £115,000 to our current total, before around 11 tomorrow morning, we have lost our chance to buy Manning's Pit.
We had hoped that no one else would bid for the land, especially because of the planning history, but it hasn't worked out. At the moment we don't know who the bidder is, or whether they are a developer.
We won't say stop donating because there might still be someone who could help us out, but obviously only a very large amount would help us now.  If such a person exists - please use the contact details here.

Another developer supports our campaign:

The Managing Director of Newland Homes, says this about Manning's Pit: 
It is a beautiful and special place that should not be encroached upon by new housing. Manning’s Pit should be saved for its outstanding beauty, its ecology and its valuable public amenity.”

Read more here:  https://manningspit.com/developers.html

Also, please note, in the last few days, if you want to donate and have any queries, please call 01271 376594 - and leave a message if no answer.
Save Manning's Pit for Victor the rescue dog: https://manningspit.wordpress.com/2020/09/20/save-mannings-pit-for-victor/

Messages from support from supporters in locked down Melbourne Australia - on Blog: https://manningspit.wordpress.com/2020/09/17/lockdown-message-from-melbourne/

News update September 13th

Saturday 12th
Town and District Councillors Ian Roome, Joe Orange, Mel Lovering, Janet Coates and Mark Fowler come to Manning's Pit.
Report and photos on Blog.

Councillors in
                                                  Manning's Pit

Thursday 1Oth
Councillor Robbie Mack comes to Manning's Pit:
Read report on our Blog.
Robbie Mack in
                                                  Manning's Pit

North Devon Gazette online:
Last Appeal to buy Manning's Pit before it is too late: Tony Gussin

North Devon MP
                                                  Selaine Saxby in
                                                  Manning's Pit

Selaine Saxby, North Devon MP, comes to Manning's Pit with a bottle of House of Commons wine signed by the Prime Minister.  More to come on this here, but already mentioned on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Front Page of North Devon Journal and more on our Blog 

Manning's Pit is entered in September 23rd Auction.

The news has come at last. After six months delay, following its withdrawal from the Auction that would have taken place on April 1st, it is now entered in the upcoming Clive Emson Online Auction on Wednesday September 23rd, with a guide price of £180,000 - £220,000. This price does not include the VAT that would be charged on top.

Garfield Weston Foundation

On Thursday September 3rd we had the exciting news that we had received a £20,000 pledge towards our goal, from the Garfield Weston Foundation. They say they hope this will stimulate others to support our aims as well.  We are thrilled with this news, and wish to state how grateful we are for their support.

We have 18 days to raise what is a very large amount of money from a small community that is not very wealthy. If it seems impossible, that is what some thought at the time of Dunkirk. And even if we don't manage it, this time - when we started fund raising we had little expectation of having to do it through a pandemic - we hope any prospective buyer will realise that they will have a battle on their hands that will not go away.

News from August:

Children's poster competition: here is a link to details about this competition/

Graciella Sillence-Dreyfur from
Pilton wins CPRE Devon Children's Painting Competition Prize!

This is some exciting news!  Graciella loves Manning's Pit and wants to donate her painting to raise funds for our campaign. More about that to follow soon, but here are some links:


https://youtu.be/VL52wK-AO20 - includes a photo of Graciella with her painting


August 7th
We marked the Summer Solstice with a Dawn to Dusk Walk, now we are running a competition for the best child's Buy Manning's Pit window poster, finishing on the day of the Autumn Equinox, September 22nd. More details to come but here is an example to get everyone inspired:

Buy Manning's Pit

August 3rd.
A very big thank you to both Wendy and Helen who have been raising money for us at the car boot sale and with a Facebook Auction. Our total has gone up again by a good amount, which is really something to be pleased about during such a difficult time. We know that so many good and important charities are struggling at the moment, so every penny that has been donated is extremely welcome!

And thank you to all those who donated items - we know someone is especially looking forward to a certain number of carrot cakes!

July 26th
Well done to everyone who helped at the Car Boot Sale today - it seems to have been a big success. They went with a car full and came back with it mostly empty!  We haven't counted the takings yet but will add them to our totals later.

Thanks to the organiser of this and also the Facebook Admin who is running the Auction on the Facebook Page for the next few days.  Items for the auction are being posted once a day, two at a time, with the last time for bids being 6pm.
Keep an eye on our Blog and Twitter during this period for quick news updates.

July 19th
Our total is increasing again, despite this being such a difficult time to fund raise.  Weather permitting, we will have a table at the Pottington Car Boot Sale on Sunday July 26th, and we will also be having an online Auction - watch our Facebook Page for details about this - https://www.facebook.com/manningspit

July 13th
We had a good report in the North Devon Journal about our walk.  Otherwise everything has been a little quiet. The main news is about what is not happening - Manning's Pit was not included in the Clive Emson Online Catalogue for this July. While lockdown is easing, we are not really back to normal yet, and it isn't possible to hold many fund raising events.
Cutting from North Devon Journal:
North Devon

June 20th.  From Dawn to Dusk - or more accurately from sunrise to sunset - supporters of our campaign took turns to walk round the Manning's Pit fields in a relay that took just under 17 hours.

It was a most beautiful day and so many people enjoyed themselves -   it was a very special day.
Photos have been going up on Twitter, Facebook and the Manning's Pit Blog.
Here's a lovely photo of a local family about to start their walk.


June 19th  We want to give a special thank you to Samantha Higgins who made a large number of face mask for us to sell. We put them on our Facebook Page and they sold out before we could add them to the website! 

face masks

Latest Update, June 11th 2020

What will happen next with Manning's Pit?

The truth is we do not know. The catalogue page for Manning's Pit (or Land to the East of Windsor Road as it is described in the catalogue) says only Postponed, and the Auction went ahead without it. We believe the land owners intend to take it back to Auction at some point. We can only wait and watch.

Statement from early April:

Since we began our campaign, we realised it was not going to be an easy time to fund raise. First we had political uncertainty, then a general election, then Brexit, then the usual problems associated with belt-tightening after Christmas bills, but we were hopeful that spring would bring new confidence to those who had been unsure about how much to give.   Then came lockdown because of the pandemic, and many of our supporters are either in isolation or on the front line, either working at nearby North Devon Hospital or in other key work. We thank them all, and know that many of us have to focus first on other things for a while.

At the same time, it has been obvious that Manning's Pit is more precious than ever as a resource for the people of our area, a place where they can exercise freely in the open air while observing the correct social distancing. It has been notable how many new people have been seen walking in the fields in the last few days. We are asking all of those who are discovering Manning's Pit for the first time to think about donating towards our appeal.

This article below was in the North Devon Journal on March 19th, only seen later  because of lockdown difficulties, so we are posting it now:

March18 North Devon Jounral

Wednesday March 25th 
The Auction will now be on April Ist, but Manning's Pit is not included in it.  For some reason - we do not know why - the sale of Manning's Pit has been postponed. See this link:

Tuesday March 24th

After the message of support from Sir Richard Eyre (CH) we have had a message of support from James Lovelock (another CH.) He has family connections as is well known, and many members of his family have walked in Manning's Pit. We used this Quote from his first Book, Gaia, A New Look at Life on Earth, and he thought it would be an appropriate quote to use now. Manning's Pit has not changed too much from the countryside he knew as a boy, in the 1920s, when Henry Williamson was researching Tarka the Otter and visiting here.  And it has inspired new generations of Poets too, as we saw in our Poetry Competition.

The England I knew as a child and a young man was breathtakingly beautiful, hedgerows and small copses were abundant, and small streams and rivers teemed with fish and fed the otters. It inspired generations of poets to make coherent the feelings we could not ourselves express.

 JIm Lovelock with his son John, a few
                            years ago.
Here is Jim Lovelock, with his son John, a few years ago when they both lived near the borders of Cornwall. John now lives in Pilton, and did a sponsored walk for us in January, raising over £1000.

Monday March 23rd
With only two more days to go, after today, it is hard to know what will happen at the Auction, but we give a big thank you to Don't Just Bin It North Devon who have donated £402 to our cause.
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic it is also hard for many people to focus on anything as much as they would normally, so we give them an extra thanks for that.

Thursday March 19th

We recently received this message of support from the distinguished Theatre and Film Director, Sir Richard Eyre:

"I very much hope that it will be possible to save this remarkable piece of land, with all its literary associations, for use by the local community and visitors.
Sir Richard Eyre”

Here is an interesting interview with him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCzGr26TVG0

Wednesday March 18th

More news: Auction online only - online bidding. https://www.cliveemson.co.uk/

Thanks to our MP Selaine Saxby for writing to the auctioneers on our behalf a few days ago, asking whether they can legitimately advertise Manning's Pit as having planning potential. She has also given us a good quote for the Press (see below)

We have been lucky in having support from her, and our two previous MPs Peter Heaton-Jones and Nick Harvey. This is a campaign that is supported by all political parties, and we thank them all.

Selaine - along with all the other General Election candidates - visited us in Manning's Pit during the General Election.  Here is the quote she has sent us now:

It was great to meet with the Friends of Manning’s Pit, they have done an excellent job in saving this vital community space from development.  I am confident that given time they will be able to raise the money to purchase it for future generations as well. We need to protect our green spaces and I will do all I can to support the community.’ Selaine Saxby MP, North Devon

Selaine Saxby meets Freinds
                                        of Manning's Pit

The photo from November, when Friends of Manning's Pit officials met with each General Election candidate in turn, L to R, Chris Bulpett (Secretary) Christine Lovelock (Chair) Selaine Saxby, and Tim Saunders (Treasurer)

Tuesday March 17th

Sadly, in the present circumstances,  we have had to cancel the last two events we had hoped to hold, both Ty Redif's Pet Portrait Photography Sessions and our last Coffee Morning.  As a community group, we have put the safety of the community first.

At a time when many of us are very concerned about what lies ahead, it isn't easy to concentrate even on this campaign, no matter how important it is to us all. During the last four and a half years we have made many friendships and value all our supporters, and the health and well-being of the vulnerable among us must be our first concern.

This does not mean we will not be fund raising until the very last minute - so please please if you haven't donated yet, do so now. It is still possible that we might get help in other ways, or that no one bids at the auction.  So every last penny could still count.

Back to our main page, if you can DONATE still.

Friday March 13th
presentation of cheque from Barratt
                                David Wilson Homes in Manning's Pit
Joanna Towns from Barratt David Wilson Homes (the developers building in the field adjacent to Manning's Pit) presents a cheque to the Buy Manning's Pit Campaign.
Thanks to Richard Martin for the photograph.

As we pointed out on our main page, the auctioneers details imply that Manning's Pit has potential for development because of the houses being built - by Barratt David Wilson Homes - taking place in the adjacent field.
Speaking for Baratt David Wilson Homes, Joanna said "We are delighted to support the fund raising initiative of the local community for their purchase of the green space manning's Pit."

Report on The Manning's Pit Dog Show, March 7th.
This event was organised brilliantly for us by Christine Lewin, and everyone who came thought it a real success.
Fifty one dogs took part, accompanied by their owners (of all ages) and there were ten classes, with each dog present doing an average of two and a half classes.
Among the Class winners were Tracey Bailey, for Dog Most Like its Owner (see below) and Paul form the Yeo Dale Hotel, for Best Trick. We hope to have a full list of winners soon to add to our Dog Show Page, which will have even more photos and information.
There was also a magnificent Raffle with some fabulous prizes donated by a local businesses - the Big Thank you board below left was produced by Lynda Payne, who also designed the poster.
All in all, the event raised about £600 and a great time was had by everyone who came along.
THank you to sponsors
Tracey Bailey and her prize winning

This is on the North Devon Gazette online today.

From the article:

The campaign has received a boost after a donation from David Wilson Homes, part of Barratt Homes, which is building the new residential development adjoining Manning's Pit.

Read more on the link above

A reminder about Saturday's Dog Show:

Dog Show Poster

Three weeks to go.

What we need now are some big donations!  But also we want to thank each and everyone of you so far for all your donations, whether big or small, they all count.

Leaflets have been going out across Pilton and Bradiford, and we are getting a good response as well. Thank you to all who have been delivering leaflets, especially both children and OAPs who have been demonstrating how much Manning's Pit means to people of all ages.
Leaflets being deliverd Windsor Road
Signs going up to make sure anyone coming to view "Land to the East of Windsor Road" will be aware that they are coming to see Manning's Pit.

On the left, one of our younger supporters delivering leaflets.

There will be more leaflets still coming, if you haven't had one already, but do let us know if for any reason you were missed out.

auction sign Manning's Pit gate

A sign went up on the Manning's Pit gate on Tuesday February 25th announcing that the land is for sale by auction.  Details are now in their catalogue:


Apparently, Manning's Pit is being described as "Land off Windsor Road, Barnstaple" yet again - as it was in the Planning Application that was withdrawn (for the obvious reason that it was about to be refused)

That is like describing Hampstead Heath as "Land off Millfield Lane, Highgate."

The auction will be on Friday March 26th, so now we have a deadline to aim for!

More news to come.... meanwhile, come on all you pirates - you had better get digging!

Pilton Panto
As usual, we get a mention in the Panto, the Pirates say they'd like to find the Treasure so they could Buy Manning's Pit.  Well done everyone for a great show!
It's been a quiet week on the fund raising front, but we are getting back to work now.

Saturday February 22nd

This is the last day of Treasure Island, this year's Pilton Panto.  It's been a great show, well done everyone! Very many of our supporters are involved, and as has happened every year since 2016, Manning's Pit gets a mention in the performance, so thank you to the organisers.
In case you haven't been already, take this link to find out about tickets for today's performances.

Thursday February 20th

Here's a great new poster (thanks to Linda and Martin) for the Dog Show on March 7th. There are some very good Raffle Prizes as well - more information to come on this.

Dog Show
If you would like to print your own for your window, here's a link to a pdf:

Saturday February 15th

This week and next week many of our supporters are involved with Pilton Panto, so there will be few other activities. Preparations are ongoing though for other upcoming events, such as our Dog Show on March 7th (posters about this going out shortly.)

Valentine's Day
This photo of a window in Pilton says it all:

Window in

The online report shown below was also covered in the paper version of the North Devon Gazette, and this week's edition of the North Devon Journal.

Friday February 7th

Sampling the brew, at the Reform Inn
Esther Davies, proprietor of the Reform Inn, and members of the Friends of Manning's Pit sampling the new brew.

Report from Tony Gussin at the North Devon Gazette:


Mannings Best Bitter
10p from every pint of Manning's Best Bitter will go to the Buy Manning's Pit appeal.

Some of the proceeds from the brew on offer at Pilton's Reform Inn will go towards bid to raise enough money to buy the local beauty spot Manning's Pit and preserve it from development.

Benjamin Manning, the controversial publican from Pilton who came to local fame (and notoriety) in the 1850s, was surely there in spirit when members of the Friends of Manning's Pit met up at the Reform to sample the new Manning's Best Bitter.

"Ten pence of every pint sold will go towards the campaign," said publican Esther Davies.

"The beer is made by Greys brewery, but my wholesale company (WWC) designed the logo and named the beer for me! It is a 3.6 per cent smooth flow session bitter with a malty flavour."

A 'ghostly tweet' also appeared on twitter from the account of Original Benjamin Manning: 'The Reform have a beer named after me at last! 'ave been waiting 150 years. Tis time for a beer methinks'.

If you'd like to support the appeal, go to https://manningspit.com/buy_mannings_pit .

Sunday February 2nd

This last week has been a quiet one on the fund raising front, but we have been busy in various, planning new events and making new contacts.

We were especially thrilled by one donation which came from Clare and Michael Morpurgo.  As the writer of War Horse, among numerous other books, Michael is of course very well known, and he and his wife Clare founded the Charity known as Farms for City Children.

This has a special resonance to our campaign, as the Manning's Pit fields are the place where many children living in our town can experience a piece of real countryside, where they can paddle in rivers, climb trees, and see nature at first hand.

Saturday January 25th

The Sponsored Read raised over £560!
Parents, children and staff at Pilton Infants’ School and Pilton Bluecoat Academy were keen to support our ‘Buy Manning’s Pit’ campaign, and organised a sponsored reading event over Christmas.
It’s not the best time of year to ask for more money, but the children who took part were very committed and managed to raise over £560, and read over 100 books.
The prize draw for a £20 book voucher was won by Arthur Barber of Bluecoat Academy.
This is another great result, thank you to all the parents and children who took part:

The photo shows Alex Meller reading to his sister Lucy.  Alex won Third Prize in the Under 12 Category of the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry Competition last year

Alex Meller reading to his sister

Thursday January 23rd
North Devon Journal report on John's walk:
John's total is now just over £1000.

North Devon Journal 23rd Jan 2020
                                page 2

Total announced Sunday January 19th:  £44,365

January 19th Report on the walk - go to our Blog for full report with photos.
John's walk - more about it. He has raised well over £900 with more still coming in.

Here is Selaine Saxby, our new MP, holding the finishing tape as John arrives after his epic trek up and down the Bradiford Valley.

the finish

January 12th

How fast time goes by! We were barely recovered from the excitement of the Oggle Band Ceilidh when it was time for our Coffee Morning on Saturday 11th. This was successful too, and we had time to chat with a number of interesting people - including the former vicar of Pilton, Anthony Gearing, who founded the Green Man Festival.
The cakes as always were fantastic.

January 5th
Yesterday's event, the Ceilidh with the Oggle Band in Pilton Church Hall, was one of the best events we have ever held. It was a complete sell out, there was a magnificent atmosphere, and rarely have people enjoyed themselves more. We are so very grateful to the Oggle Band, for putting on this event to help us raise money. Had the Hall been twice the size it is, we feel we could have filled it twice over, it was so successful. And, as they said when they were leaving -  next time, maybe we will be able to celebrate something really exciting!

Oggle Band
Phil (guitar) and Jo (fiddle)
Oggle band
Oggle Band
Garry and Paul
Oggle Band Member
Dancers in the dark
The photo above was taken with a mobile when the lights were dimmed and is very blurry, but it gives an idea of the fun people were having.

More images, thanks to Phil for sending them
more dancing
 The Oggle Band on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/OggleBand/

January 1st 2020

As expected there were not very many payments in the last few days, so the total has not gone up as fast as it normally does. However we have extra amounts promised (and may not have seen all BACS payments yet.) We also expect to raise a good amount of money with the Oggle Band Event this coming Saturday.  It was so good of the Oggle Band to do this event for us, and we are all very excited about it!

We are in the process of delivering our first campaign Newsletter, and within the next three or four days virtually all households in Pilton and Bradiford should have received one. Let us know if for any reason you don't get one.

Update re John Lovelock's Walk:
For one Leafleter (John) New Year's Day meant a lengthy visit to North Devon Hospital following a nasty dog bite when trying to push a newsletter through a letterbox.. The Hospital is close to Manning's Pit, and many hospital workers are numbered among our supporters. On the plus side of the accident, supporters on Facebook suggesting using a spatula to push leaflets through letter boxes, which is a great idea and works a treat. As part of his training for his sponsored walk on January 17th John was out again leafleting two days later (with spatula.)

John with sling and bandaged
                                finger John with sling and bandaged finger.

John's Sponsored Walk for Manning's Pit on January 17th (supported by Twinkle)


Message from Pilton Schools

Sponsored Read

Parents at Pilton Infants’ School and Pilton Bluecoat Academy are keen to support the ‘Buy Manning’s Pit’ campaign, and have organised a sponsored reading event which is taking place over Christmas.
As you’ll appreciate this is an expensive time of year for parents, so if you know a child at either school who has chosen to take part in the event (which is voluntary), I am sure they would be very grateful for your sponsorship, no matter how small!
Every child taking part in the sponsored read gets a certificate, and the chance to win a book token, so it’s well worth joining in.
If we don’t get enough money to buy Manning’s Pit, any money raised through this event will be given to the schools.
We are really grateful to the children, parents and staff at both schools for their support in helping us to ‘Buy Manning’s Pit’.

Yet again we have been mentioned in the newspapers.
This time it was in the North Devon Gazette, on Wednesday December 18. The article is by Tony Gussin, in connection with our Presentation at the Museum the week before.

You can expand the image to read the article by clicking on your mouse.

In the photograph:
Tim Saunders (our Treasurer) Kate Shaw, Toby and Theo Lawrence, Alison Mills (Museum Manager) Christine Lovelock (our Chair) Chris Bulpett (our Secretary) and Katie Martin, who runs our Instagram for us.

Barnstaple Museum, Saki figurine

December 22nd

John Lovelock's Sponsored walk page is now launched. John accompanied Twinkle on part of her walk, and Twinkle is going to join him for some of his. You can read all about it on this page:  https://manningspit.com/john-lovelock-walk.html

Following Thursday's General Election, Selaine Saxby will be our new MP.   We know already that she will be supportive of our campaign, as she has already persuaded the Prime Minister to hold up a Buy Manning's Pit sign (scroll down for photo.)  Commiserations to all the losing candidates, and we appreciate their support too.

Wednesday December 11th

Apologies for late update on this – Twinkle was in the North Devon Journal again, published December 5th but available until the 11th.

Twinkle - NDJ

Tuesday December 10th
This Monday a small group of us came down to the centre of Barnstaple to present our Shrouds of the Somme H H Munro figurine to the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, where it will have a permanent home.  We purchased it last year, and it was sent to us after the Shrouds of the Somme Touring Exhibition completed its journeys around the country. 

The photographs show the figurine on display, and also a group of us around it. In the photograph, Tim Saunders, Kate Shaw, Toby and Theo Lawrence (the boys who live in the house where Hector Munro lived as a boy) Alison Mills, the Museum Manager, Christine Lovelock, Chris Bulpett and Katie Martin.

At the Museum
The Saki Figurine

Friday December 6th
Our final General Election candidate photo  in Manning's Pit was the only one that didn't quite work, with camera problems taking photos for Finola, for both helpers. So apologies that this one isn't posed as the others were. Also our secretary wasn't able to come along, so Kate steeped in as the third Committee member.  As with the four other candidates, we enjoyed meeting Finola ONeill, the Labour candidate. As you can see by the helmet she is holding, she was the only candidate to arrive on a motor bike!
How nice it has been to meet them all, and know they all support our campaign. As always, to see larger versions use your second mouse button and click View Image.

Finola ONeill 
Thursday December 5th

Alex White, the Liberal Democrat candidate, came to Manning's Pit to meet us, and here is a photo of him with us.  Nick Harvey, who was the Liberal Democrat MP for North Devon, came along with him as well. It was good to see him but we couldn't include him in the photo because we had decided to show each candidate with the three of us, to be consistently fair. Alex was unluckier with the weather than the others had been, but he did not let it put him off.
The photograph was taken by Mark Fowler, a professional photographer who also sent us other photos of Manning's Pit.

Alex White Lib Dem candidate in Manning's

Tuesday December 3rd

The Prime Minister shows his support for the Buy Manning's Campaign.
When Boris Johnson came to North Devon recently he met the Conservative candidate Selaine Saxby, and she has posted this image on her Facebook page, along with this comment:

"Buy Manning's Pit campaign endorsed by Boris!

When I met with Boris Johnson last week he was delighted to lend his support to the community to enable them to buy and preserve Manning's Pit.

@buy_manningspit  "

Boris Johnson supports our campaign

As we always make clear, we are non-political and we have been pleased to welcome all the candidates when they visited Manning's Pit (we hope to get photos from the Lib Dem and Labour candidates very soon)  We have also asked the other candidates if they can persuade their leaders to do the same, and we will be very pleased if they can achieve this.

We were especially pleased to have an immediate email  response to this news from Robbie Mack(the Green Party candidate) saying that it was good to have a sitting Prime Minister's support and he appreciated our efforts to always be even handed.

He and the other candidates are all hoping to get similar endorsements from their leaders!
Watch this space, as they say!

And a final mention to add to add to Sunday's news:

A very very special thank you to Twinkle and Wendy who have raised  over £1800 through their sponsored walk. Full report on their page now.

Saturday November 30th - new total coming tomorrow

Twinkles  Walk
-full report coming shortly on her page.  She has raised well over £1700! Here we are at the start of her walk, in Lynbro Road, about to go down into Manning's Pit. It was very cold and windy.
The start of Twinkle's walk


Re the General Election : Visits to Manning's Pit from Alex White Liberal Democrat (last Friday, waiting for photos from them) and Finola ONeill Labour this Thursday (our camera malfunctioned so waiting for photos from Finola's friend)

Thursday November 28th

Twinkle and Wendy hit the headlines - their photo by the Manning's Pit gate makes a big splash on the North Devon Journal front page.   Twinkle has now raised well over £1600!

Wendy and Twinkle

Tuesday November 26th

A new page for Twinkle goes live - see photos and videos here, as the date for Twinkle's walk approaches.

Sunday November 24th

The Coffee Morning in Pilton Church Hall was a great success, confounding expectations as we had not managed to advertise it as well as we had hoped. So many people came and we had some really interesting conversations, in fact we all wished it had gone longer as it is hard to chat to everyone. Last week we had a visit from Alex White, the Liberal Democrat candidate at the Christmas Market, today we had one from Robbie Mack, the Green Party candidate. Nigel Dilkes, the vicar was also able to come along, as there was no Church service this morning. He was such an important part of our Environmental Exhibition this summer, and we apologise for not finishing the website pages about that - it will be done but at the moment we are flat out working on the fund raising.

Coffee Morning

Friday November 22nd

This time we had a visit from the Liberal Democrat Candidate, Alex White. He was unlucky with the weather but nothing daunted posed with us in a muddy damp field, As soon as we have the photos, they will be added.

Thursday November 21st

With the General Election in full swing, it is interesting to see that there seem to be more Buy/Save Manning's pit posters around in Pilton than anything political!  Perhaps that is because all the political parties involved agree on the one issue of Saving Manning's Pit.

They are all demonstrating this by meeting up with us in Manning's Pit itself, beginning with with Selaine Saxby, the new Conservative candidate, on Monday.  You can see her below left, with Chris Bulpett, Christine Lovelock and Tim Saunders (thanks to David Hoare for taking the photograph).

Robbie Mack, the Green Party candidate, came on Wednesday, along with Ricky Knight, who took the photograph. It was another beautiful day, if rather windier. We really enjoyed meeting both Robbie and Selaine, and look forward to visits from Alex White (Liberal Democrat) on Friday and Finola ONeill (Labour) next Thursday.
Click on View Image for larger version of photos.

Selaine Saxby, Chris Bulpett,
                                Christine Lovelock and Tim Saunders
Robbie Mack in Manning's Pit

Sunday November 17th

Today, we had our garage sale - not quite so well attended - it was cold and damp, and for some reason there were very few people around. Nonetheless, it was financially successful, and we had so many items donated that they will be for sale in various ways going forward, as well.

Twinkle was going to come along, but she doesn't like the cold, and was feeling grumpy, so she had the day off. That didn't stop people signing her sponsor form - we'll need to do a weekly total for that as well.
sgarage sale

We've had a busy weekend!. On Saturday,  the Christmas Market was extremely well supported and we made many new contacts as well. Ian Scott came to see how it was all going, and we also had a visit from Alex White, the new Lib Dem candidate, who had his photograph taken by our stall (being non-political we will of course welcome all candidates who support our campaign.)

Here are a couple of photos from the Christmas Market:

Ian Scott and Chrisitne Lovelock at
                                the Christmas Market
Above: Ian Scott with Christine Lovelock at our table. Right: Alex White holding our Buy Manning's Pit Leaflet.
Alex White holding our leaflet

November 15th

Ian Scott's Prints are for sale at the Pilton Christmas Market, a great event in Pilton Church Hall. This isn't just about Manning's Pit of course, but we have a table, and will be selling Cards  and Prints.
Here are Ian Scott and Christine Lovelock, admiring the Print. Christine's Cards of Manning's Pit are also going to be for sale - all proceeds from both Prints and Cards will go to the Buy Manning's Pit Appeal.
Ian is hoping to come along to sign his Prints in person. Orders can also be taken if we should run out of either Prints or Cards!

Ian Scott and Christine Lovelock with Ian's

November 12th

Chris Bulpett (Friends of Manning's Pit secretary) speaks on The Voice, Monday morning.
Message from a supporter - "Heard it on the way to work - he did good !!"

Preview at the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon of an Exhibition of F R Lee's paintings - Tim Saunders and Christine Lovelock attended. One of the paintings was a Pilton one - F R Lee lived across the road from Broadgate Villa while Saki was growing up there - see below.

Remembrance Day at "Broadgate Villa."

Toby and Theo Lawrence with the Saki
Photo by Tim Saunders

Here are Toby and Theo Lawrence holding the Shrouds of the Somme Figurine (owned by the Friends of Manning's Pit) that represents H H Munro (Saki) who was killed during the Battle of the Somme, on November 16th 1916.  On the wall of the house you can see the blue plaque that commemorates the fact that H H Munro lived here.

As a child, like Toby and Theo, Hector Munro lived in this house in Bellaire, Pilton. And like the Lawrence boys, he loved the countryside now known as Manning's Pit.

Toby and Theo won First Prize for the 11 and Under Category in the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry Competition, with their poem "Manning's Pit."

November 11th   Total Funds raised in our Buy Manning's Pit Appeal :  approximately £13,500.

Oggle Band

Keep going to our Calendar Page for latest updates on events organised.  It's great news that the  Oggle Band are putting on a Ceilidh for us on January 4th!

Old Stone Bridge
Former Mayor Ian Scott is having Prints made of his Manning's Pit drawing
to raise funds for the cause. He's hoping to come along to sign some in person at
the Pilton Christmas Market on November 16th.

Wendy Robinson and Twinkle's Fundraiser for Manning's Pit launched

Friends of Manning's Pit and Green Man CIO fundraiser launched

Ty Redif's film Manning's Pit - Our Future - is launched at the Big Party, and then featured on the manningspit.com website.
Ty Redif

by Tony Gussin, October 18th 2019

Launching the new Buy Mannings Pit campaign
                        at Yeo Dale Hotel, Pilton. Picture: Tony Gussin

Radio Devon come to Manning's Pit. Reporter Angela Kalwaites arrives at 7.45 to interview us, despite the weather - rain again.

Left to Right
Ian Roome (District Councillor) Chris Bulpett, Christine Lovelock, Ryan Vowles, KateShaw, Ty Redif
Radio Devon car

Ryan Vowles sends first Buy Manning's Pit Message - from Iceland

Ryasn Vowles

Ryan's poem that won a first prize in the Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry Competiton