Frozen in time

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Wowzer! What a night.
Thanks to everyone who came and sung their hearts out at the Frozen singalong and made it a truly magical night. You were GREAT!
Shrugs off cape, sings “Let it go, let it go…”

Xmas Windows Competition – The Winners

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It was a shame that the less-than-festive drizzle drove us inside for carol-singing this year, but lovely to see everyone packed into the candle-lit Hall. Big thanks to St Luke’s and the PCA for making it such a jolly affair with marvellous musicians and mulled wine.
We announced the winners of our spectacular Christmas Windows Competition. Thanks to everyone who entered and perked up the neighbourhood with their fantastically cheerful windows. There were some inspired entries, which made judging very tricky.
Congratulations to (drum roll, please)…

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General entrants category
1st place
The Cropp Family of Coventry Street (for the THIRD year running!)
“For their sheer skill in model making and additional historical information”
2nd place
Deirdre and Naomi of Hamilton Road
“The angels were big and beautiful and filled the whole space of the windows.”
3rd place
Ella Mae and Andrea of Coventry Street
“A beautiful colour-changing snow scene, full of detail.”

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Under 10s category
1st place
Christopher of Lancaster Road
“Your window made everyone smile with three bold reindeers, full of character.”
2nd place
Thomas and Margot of Chatsworth Road
“Lovely humourous window, we especially liked that you included yourselves.”
3rd place
Isabella Evans of Stanford Road
“So much to see, we really liked the flying Santa.”

Everyone was presented with rosettes and chocolates (the Cropp family also won a cleaning kit from our generous sponsor, The Green Cleaner, to ensure that their windows always sparkle) and the winners will have their names engraved on the coveted trophies.
We’d like to say a BIG thank you to the following people:

  • Kate Kingham (general superstar) – for doing all the hard work behind the scenes.
  • Sarah Jones (local artist and judge) – for taking time out from Milton Open House to judge your lovely windows.
  • Catherine Cole, Martha Hunt and Gill Hasson (Hall heroes) – for helping to deliver entry forms.

MASSIVE high five to The Green Cleaner (fab, local cleaning agency) for meeting all the costs of the competition and for providing prizes.
Their support means that every penny participants gave goes to help the Hall. If you need a Spring clean in the New Year or regular cleaning help – keep them in mind.

If you have (or work for) a local business, sponsoring events at the Hall is a great way to show your support for the community. Not to mention that 800 shareholders and our social media audience of thousands get to hear about you. We’re a loyal lot who generally like to support those who support the Hall. Spread the love. Contact us for more details about sponsoring for upcoming events.

See you in the Hall soon.

Junior Bake Off Takes Off

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We might not have had a marquee and Mel and Sue larking about, but we had all the other key ingredients for a Great Junior Bake Off at the Hall on Sunday; eleven finalists that you couldn’t help but take to your heart, two delightful judges and a bunch of showstopping cakes.

GBBO’s (and our very own lovely, local lass) Kate Henry gave a masterclass, showing our keen cooks how to pipe icing and decorate some fresh sponge cakes. The kids got creative and produced stunning cakes to be sliced and sold to the expectant crowd.

Kate and Green MP Caroline Lucas had the tricky task of judging. They did a brilliant job of giving detailed feedback on look, taste, detail and skill and let each nipper know where they’d excelled; all star bakers in their own right. Scoring highly in each area, Freddie Eatock, Year 4 pupil from Stanford Junior, scooped the coveted title of Exeter Street Hall Junior Bake Off winner and picked up his cookbook prize. Congratulations, Freddie, on your delicious blueberry and marshmallow creation!

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In a fascinating Q&A session, Kate revealed what it was like to bake under the scrutiny of a camera crew and the watchful eyes of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. The kids kept firing questions and there were some funny and moving stories about her experience on Britain’s best-loved cookery programme.

MASSIVE thanks to Kate and Caroline for making the event so exciting and rewarding for the kids. BIG thanks too to our friends on the Stanford Junior PTFA for all their help with our joint first round cake sale competition and to Stanford Infant PTFA for inviting entries. These events don’t happen without the tireless commitment of our own volunteers, so we take our HATS OFF to Simon Hudson who organised the event and are extremely grateful to Iain Chambers (particularly for the cake…!), Polly Stebbens and Marianne Craig.

Check out the photos. We were blown away by the incredible, inventive and original array. Who knew sponge could take on so many different forms? Well done, kids.

And as Iain says, “The amazing standard of cakes presented by the 11 finalists at the Junior Bake Off in Exeter Street Hall would’ve had Mary Berry herself purring with delight. It was certainly a very difficult decision for the judges Kate Henry, from this year’s Great British Bake Off competition, and Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas to pick a winner. Freddie’s incredible Marshmallow and Blueberry Cake triumphed, and then the task of eating all the cakes began! Kate also gave the finalists a lesson in cake decoration and answered their questions, giving a fascinating insight into what goes on behind the scenes at GBBO.”

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Sports Panel Raffle Prize Winner

We love the excitement of a raffle. And it seems we’re not alone. Eight-year old Kaziah Snow Staib-Yaron desperately wanted to win the cricket bat signed by the Sussex County Cricket Team in our recent raffle. Winners were announced at our hugely enjoyable Sports Panel evening.
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The odds were 500 to 1, but to her huge surprise, Kaziah had the winning ticket. Kaziah is a pupil at Stanford Junior and lives locally. Her dad Andrew plays for Firle Cricket Club and has passed on his love of the sport. What’s the attraction for Kaziah? “I just love hitting the ball!”
Kaziah is a big fan of Exeter Street Hall and has enjoyed lots of kids’ parties, circus skills classes and will always remember watching World Cup matches in the Hall.
Here’s to more raffles, happy prize winners and events in the Hall. Congratulations, Kaziah!

Film Friday

We’re trialling a regular Film Friday each month. We want you to have a cosy cinema on your doorstep for a monthly end-of-the-week treat. Our aim is to show the films you want to see. We’re starting out with a 4pm screening for the nippers and a late show at 8pm. But we can tweak this in response to demand.

Early Show
For November, we screened Despicable Me. Kids spilled into the Hall after school and got settled in for the big event. Captivated by Gru and his minions, they stayed seated until the interval when they were pretty keen on grabbing their hot dogs and squash. Hungry ones refuelled with popcorn and choc ices too. Parents kicked back with a well-deserved drink, having effortlessly taken care of after-school entertainment and supper. We like.

Late Show
We’re really sorry. We had to cancel the 8pm screening of Blue Jasmine due to poor ticket sales. We contacted everyone who booked tickets online. And spread the word at www.exeterstreethall.org and through Facebook and Twitter. To cover our licence (not to mention, create a good atmosphere!), we have to sell at least 20 tickets. If you fancy a film, don’t hesitate – book online and you’ll be inching us closer to guaranteeing we can show it.

Film Friday in December (Friday 19 December)
Early show: 4pm – Frozen (Sing Along). Gracious. You’re keen. We’ve sold out already. We’re looking into the logistics of doing a second screening. Watch this space.

Late show: 8pm – The Grand Budapest Hotel. A brilliantly bonkers caper. Book now with your friends so we can get a full house for a pre-Christmas treat. We’re ready for our close up, Mr de Mille.

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Thanks to: Simon, Gus, Paul, Sean, Darryl, Dexter, Martha, Mike, Polly, David, Sally and Dave for all your hard work towards the launch.

French Soirée – Grand Succès!

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Volunteers (Catherine, Lynne and Caroline) transformed the Hall again, creating a French bistro vibe with copious amounts of gingham, fairy lights and flowers. Lauchana provided the music with lilting ballads throughout the meal before tables were moved back to make room for enthusiastic dancers.

Chefs Iain and Rafe knocked up a sumptuous meal. We tucked into rich and tasty boeuf (and mushroom) bourguignon, pommes dauphinoise and spinach salad; ideal, delicious comfort food for a winter’s night. Warm French bread, crackers and a mouthwatering selection of cheeses followed by a final course of luscious, dark chocolate mousse to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. It was one of those meals that – if you could possibly readjust the waistband on your trousers – you’d vote to eat all over again.

People happily splashed out on some pretty special wine from the Languedoc region, shipped in especially for the occasion. A silk-smooth red and a cheeky white were flowing throughout the evening. It could explain some of the dancing.

Gathering together, breaking bread and having a good time; we love to do this and it’s just one of many reasons why we saved this space. Fancy another supper club? Got a great big idea for another event? Join our fabulous events team and help make the magic happen. Email volunteer@exeterstreethall.org

Thanks to: Iain, Catherine, Rafe, Carolyn, Lynne, Caroline, Dave, Darryl, Martha, Norman, Rose, Sarah, Marianne, Greg, Susan and Gus.

Sports Panel Success

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The Sports Panel was the brilliant brainchild of local resident and top sports writer, Nick Szczepanik. MASSIVE thanks go to him for pulling the team together and Dimbleby-ing (yes, we’re adopting that as a verb now) so splendidly.

We’re indebted to our illustrious panellists and all ‘round good eggs:

  • Mick Cleary
  • Paul Hayward
  • Pete Nichols
  • Lynne Truss
  • Paul Weaver

They answered our audience’s burning questions about sport and gave us an evening jam-packed with lively discussions, fascinating insights and amusing anecdotes.

Want to know who the nastiest people in sport are? Well, you should have come along. We can’t tell tales out of school. Want to know which sport the panellists would happily get rid of? Not many, they’re sport-mad, but Formula 1 was likened to ‘sponsored traffic’ and received the most votes.

photo(3)It wasn’t all light-hearted. Frankly, some of the current issues in sport are far from laughing matters. The panel – and audience – voiced opinions on whether Ched Evans should be allowed to continue his football career, whether corrupt competition bids should be reversed and what could be done about the lack of sports coverage, sponsorship, pay and inclusion of women in sport.

Questions and comments came thick and fast and it was clear that we could have gone all night. But sense (and licensing law) prevailed, although we’re fairly sure that conversations continued at the late night beer festival being held at The Prestonville Arms.

We’re immensely grateful to:

  • John Hoole for sponsoring the event,
  • our intrepid volunteers for making the magic happen, and
  • our guests for getting involved and ably propping up the bar.

Thanks to the BBC Top Gear team, Sussex County Cricket Club and Brighton & Hove Albion too for donating corking raffle prizes, helping us to raise much-need funds.

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We’re over the moon to have hosted a fabulous, fun event and to welcome new people to the Hall, including some sports journalists of the future. And we’re thrilled that we managed to raise a thumping great £1,400, exceeding our expectations and getting our fundraising back off to a flying start after a long summer closure. Sport, beer, chat. A winning formula since time began. Thanks, team!

Christmas Window Competition – NOW CLOSED!

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Christmas Windows Competition – it’s back!
Yes, people – it’s that time of year. Start spraying your fir cones silver and dig out the tinsel. The Christmas Window Competition is here. Compete for your chance to see your name engraved on the coveted cup and win a festive prize. Displays completed and entry forms and fivers submitted by 10pm on Sunday 7 December Wednesday, 10th December please. All proceeds go to renovating our lovely Hall.
Live in Prestonville? There should be an entry form dropping through your letterbox soon. But don’t worry if the dog eats it. Here’s the poster you’ll see splashed around the neighbourhood and you’ll find all the details in this downloadable entry form.
BIG thanks to kind sponsors The Green Cleaner. They’re covering all costs associated with this fabulous competition and digging deep for festive prizes. Marvellous!

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French Soirée

We’re cooking up a plan for an evening at the Hall. Word on the street is that it might involve wine. And food. And having a good time. What’s not to like?

Saturday, 22nd November from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.

Three course meal and live music for £15.00 per head. Licensed bar available.

Click here to buy tickets