East Devon District Council Chairman, Councillor Stuart Hughes (left) and Neil Parish MP. Photo courtesy of: Colin Davis

Over 100 local authority dignitaries and politicians attend “best ever” Civic Service

Sidmouth’s Parish Church of St Giles was packed to the hilt on Sunday 20 March, as over 100 local dignitaries, including chairmen and Mayors, from county, town and district councils, together with Neil Parish MP and the Deputy Lieutenant of Devon, the Honourable Charles Fane Trefusis, attended East Devon District Council’s Chairman’s Civic Service.

The Reverend Canon Dr Philip Bourne conducted the service, which featured well known hymns such as ‘Praise my soul the king of heaven’,  ‘Come down O love divine’, ‘Amazing Grace’ and the national anthem.

A beautiful peace poem, ‘We cry for peace (the world cries for love)’ by Yam Padua was read by Councillor Stuart Hughes, the Chairman of East Devon District Council.

St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians chapter 13, was read by the Vice Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council, Councillor Ian Mckenzie Edwards,  while prayers of intercession were read by: Police Sergeant Andy Squires, Henry Gordon Lennox, Strategic Lead at East Devon District Council, the Reverend Handel Bennett and Honorary Alderman Mrs Frances Newth.

Without doubt, though, the limelight was stolen by children from Sidmouth Primary School who sang Peace, perfect peace and I wish I hadn’t cried so much, accompanied by the full Sidmouth Town Band.

While Amazing Grace was sung, over £300 was collected for the Sidmouth Admiral Nurse appeal, to care for dementia patients and their families, as well as the new Gateway charity, which provides support for homeless people in Sidmouth.

Chairman, Councillor Stuart Hughes said:

I am immensely grateful to everyone who helped organise this event and to the Reverend Canon Dr Philip Bourne for conducting the service. It was by all accounts a tremendous success and I would like to thank everyone for their generous donations to these two local charities.

It was a wonderfully musical service thanks to the children who all sang beautifully. In addition, to have live music of the quality provided by the Sidmouth Town Band was a real treat, as it encouraged everyone to sing their hearts out. It was all very uplifting and a number of people have said it was the best civic service ever. Thank you all for taking part and making it such a success.

After the service the Chairman and his guests enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea at Kennaway House.