Rolleston on Dove Special Events Committee (RODSEC)
News 2006


A Bizarre use for Mammoths

In a concert organised by Rolleston on Dove Special Events Committee (RODSEC) and Rolleston on Dove Women's Institute, the Mellstock Band returned on 25 November to St. Mary's Church with their new seasonal programme "The Leaves of Life". The event had been arranged as a memorial concert in memory of RODSEC's founding Chairman, the late Ann Burston. Her closest friend, Verity Conner, gave a very moving tribute to Ann and talked about some of her many contributions to the life of the village.

The Mellstock Band perform a wide variety of Victorian and Edwardian music on authentic instruments. Dave Townsend plays the concertina, Tim Hill clarinets, Charles Spicer oboes and cor anglais, and Philip Humphries the serpent. Philip explained that his serpent is a rare original instrument, signed by the maker and dated 1840. It is made in sections of walnut, covered in leather and mounted with brass fittings. The ivory mouthpiece was last replaced in 1916 and, as it is now illegal to import elephant ivory, the next one will have to be made from one of the many mammoth tusks which are emerging from the melting Siberian ice.

"The Leaves of Life" included a wide range of seasonal ballads and folk carols and revels "from farmstead, manor, alehouse and street". The songs and instrumental items were interspersed with readings, some in Dorset dialect, from Thomas Hardy, William Barnes, John Clare and Charles Dickens, exploring some of the beliefs and superstitions that surround mid-winter festivities.

RODSEC's next event will be "An Evening with Anne Boleyn", alias Mrs. Lesley Smith of Tutbury Castle, who has already appeared in Rolleston as Mary, Queen of Scots, Gloriana and Nell Gwyn. This will be held in Rolleston Club on Sunday 25th. March 2007. Tickets will be on sale in the New Year and further details will appear on posters around the village. The committee is also in the early stages of planning a "Heritage Weekend" for 14th. to 17th. September 2007. Suggestions so far include Mummers, Guisers, Morris Men, traditional music and well dressing. Someone has even suggested that the present RODSEC Chairman appear in costume as the old Saxon Rothulf after whom the village of Rothulfstun was called! We would welcome any ideas which can be passed on through the Chairman, Arnold Burston, on 813457, or the Secretary, Tom Martin, on 813320

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RODSEC - Winter 2006 News 
(Details extracted from article that first appeared in the Winter 2006 issue of the Rollestonian)

By the time you read this, we shall have held our "Return of the Mellstock Band" concert in memory of our founding Chairman, Ann Burston. We should like to thank everyone who supported the concert (especially Starbucks for selling our tickets as always!), and to express our gratitude to Rolleston on Dove WI and to the Burton and District Arts Council for their generous sponsorship. 

You will also have noticed the new village notice board to which RODSEC contributed £500.

We are putting the finishing touches to our next project, the "Return of Lesley Smith", this time as Anne Boleyn, on Sunday 25th. March 2007 in Rolleston Club. Tickets will be on sale in the New Year. Look out for our posters in our local shops and on the village notice board.

Please remember that RODSEC doesn't operate in isolation. If you think that we can help in promoting your organisation, group or club, please let us know. We are looking forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions for our "Heritage Weekend" from 14th. to 17th. September 2007. As well as an exhibition on our Rolleston heritage, we are thinking of Mummers, Guisers, Morris Men, traditional music and well dressing. What else can you suggest? You can contact the Chairman, Arnold Burston, on 813457 or the secretary, Tom Martin, on 813320.

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RODSEC - Autumn 2006 News 
(Details extracted from article that first appeared in the Autumn 2006 issue of the Rollestonian)

The Mellstock Band returns to Rolleston

Rolleston on Dove Special Events Committee (RODSEC) has organised a special memorial concert in memory of Ann Burston, our founding Chairman. The Mellstock Band will perform their new Christmas programme in St. Mary’s Church on Saturday 25th. November at 7.30 p.m. (See posters in October for details) They have performed all over England and have taken their music to Europe, America and Africa. They have played in many film productions, including the BBC’s adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice” and “Tess of the d’Urbervilles”.

The band performed in Rolleston on 29th. May 2002 as part of the RODSEC Golden Jubilee Village Festival. 

On that occasion, the Church was full and we hope that this year they will again attract a wide cross-section of the community. Everyone who was present at their last appearance will remember the serpent, that strangely-shaped instrument which is the ancestor of the tuba and euphonium. Although it is usually made of wood and covered in leather it is technically classed a a brass instrument. It requires great skill: one enthusiast says that, when blown too hard “it can produce unpleasant noises reminiscent of large animals in distress”. When well played, it has an amazing tone, and Ann was instantly captivated by it. The concert is supported by the Burton and District Arts Council and by Rolleston on Dove WI.

Spring event – An evening with Anne Boleyn

Following the success of our last event, “An Evening with Nell Gwyn”, on 19th. March, we have arranged with Lesley Smith of Tutbury Castle to put on “An Evening with Anne Boleyn” on 25th. March 2007 in Rolleston Club. Lesley maintains close contacts with RODSEC and with Rolleston WI. In the past she has appeared in the village as Mary, Queen of Scots, in the Golden Jubilee year, and as Queen Elizabeth I at a joint WI and RODSEC event in January 2004. 

Heritage Weekend 2007

We continue to plan our next major village event, a “Heritage Weekend”, for, provisionally, 14 – 17th September 2007. We hope that, over the winter months, all RODSEC’s member village organisations will be giving this some thought and provide ideas and contributions that build on the successes of our previous open village events. All suggestions to your member organisation, Arnold Burston, 813457 or Tom Martin, 813320

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A Rose in Memory of Ann Burston

At the end of her performance as Nell Gwyn on 19 March, Lesley Smith of Tutbury Castle announced that she would like to plant a rose in the Castle garden in memory of Ann Burston, who had arranged the evening shortly before her death in November 2005.

On 12 July, Ann's widower Arn, attended by some of her closest friends, met with Lesley for the planting of a dark red rose called L.G.Braithwaite, chosen by Arn at Byrkley Park Garden Centre. Rev. Ian Whitehead conducted a short but very moving service of dedication. After coffee had been served, Lesley agreed to appear as Anne Boleyn on 25 March 2007 at a RODSEC event in Rolleston Club. The next event in Ann's memory will be the Mellstock Band Christmas concert in St. Mary's Church on 25 November 2006.

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RODSEC - Summer 2006 News 
(Details extracted from article that first appeared in the Summer 2006 issue of the Rollestonian)

RODSEC’s spring fund raising event “An Evening with Nell Gwyn”, held in conjunction with Rolleston Club was an outstanding social and financial success for both organisations. In addition to her performance as Nell Gwyn, Mrs Lesley Smith of Tutbury Castle spent much time meeting and chatting with the audience. We appreciate her continued interest in and support for the village.

Our autumn event, a concert in St Mary’s Church, with the Mellstock Band has been fixed for Saturday 25th November. The concert is dedicated to the memory of RODSEC’s founder Chairman, Mrs Ann Burston, who was a band “groupie” Further details in the autumn issue.

We are now developing ideas for our next big village event, in 2007. This will be a “Heritage Weekend”, provisionally 14th – 17th September. Please help your own village organisation develop ideas or pass any suggestions to Arnold Burston (813457) or Tom Martin (813320). We will be looking to make full use of the Croft, St Mary’s Church, Old Grammar School, Club etc., as on previous occasions. We may be over a year away but we must get planning now and we want contributions that cover all age ranges!

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Nell Gwyn in Rolleston

Following her very successful appearances as "Mary, Queen of Scots" and "Gloriana", Lesley Smith of Tutbury Castle appeared as "Nell Gwyn" before a large audience in Rolleston Club on Sunday 19th March. The event was the last one to be organised, shortly before her death, by the late Ann Burston, who had been the Chairman of the Rolleston on Dove Special Events Committee (RODSEC) since its inception in 2000.

As well as being a superb performer who establishes an immediate rapport with her audience, Lesley is a serious historian whose research is thorough and painstaking. Her performances are characterised by a lively wit and an endless fund of amusing and interesting anecdotes. At the end of the show, she announced that she intends to plant a red rose at the Castle in memory of Ann Burston.

The evening continued with a buffet put on by Beryl Toon, followed by the famous RODSEC home-made puddings prepared by Verity Conner and her friends. The next RODSEC event will be a concert by the Mellstock Band in St. Mary's Church in November, and the Committee are already planning a "Heritage Weekend" to be held in the village next year. The picture shows Lesley with new RODSEC Chairman, Arnold Burston.

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RODSEC - Spring 2006 News 
(Details extracted from article that first appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of the Rollestonian)

RODSEC’s spring fund raising event is noted above.

We are not planning a major entertainment this year but considering how we can organise a village “Heritage Day” in 2007. This will be the 300th anniversary of the brickwork sign – I E 1707 - appearing on two buildings in the village, I E standing for Isaac Emery the builder.

Look out for our autumn fund raiser, at popular request we are hoping for the return of the ”Mellstock Band” for a Christmas concert in St Mary’s. The band proved a major attraction during Rolleston’s Millennium Celebrations. 

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Last updated: 6 July 2007