Capturing South Molton in Your Words and Images

Photograph by Karolina Andreasova

We joined a sell-out crowd in the Assembly Rooms, South Molton, made of contributors, townspeople and people from further away – including our North Devon MP, our Mayor and various Councillors, on Saturday afternoon 25th September – to watch the premiere of this joyful, short film by Gordon McKerrow. He has cleverly and sensitively captured the essence of our market town and community.

Gordon expertly melded the words, images, sounds and music contributed by local people, with his own images and footage, to truly reflect life in South Molton during 2021 – and the pandemic – to create a lasting legacy of these times for our town. The accompanying music of the Town Band, and other local music makers, gives this film a genuine charm which was enjoyed by the audience on Saturday and will be appreciated by all who see it.

Mayor Mervyn Way was full of praise and appreciation. Tiny snapshots of the town with words and music interwoven with views of the surrounding countryside and river binds it all together. This film brings joy to the heart and a tear to the eye.

Thanks to Arts Destination South Molton for commissioning this film for their Deep Roots Festival, to Gordon McKerrow for creating it, to Home Instead North Devon and Exmoor for the generous financial support, and to the creative and inspiring people of South Molton who contributed so generously and imaginatively to the making of this wonderful film; also to John May, The Market Cheese Stall, Sainsburys and Mole Valley Farmers for donating the ingredients for the homemade fare for the community tea at the end of the afternoon, and to the hospitality team from the Methodist Church who served us all so competently and cheerfully.

The film is a gentle reminder of why South Molton is so special to those who live here, whether they are born and bred Devonians, or more recent arrivals. South Molton is warm, friendly, welcoming and above all, honest. The living proof of its distinct charms was amply demonstrated by people from all different walks of life enjoying themselves and happily sharing the afternoon of film and cream tea together.

Caroline and Michael Glover, Supporters of Arts Destination South Molton

When we arrived at the Assembly Rooms on Saturday afternoon, 25th September, we were welcomed by the Mayor and the Town Clerk resplendent in their gowns of office. The occasion was the premiere of a film celebrating our town.

As part of their Deep Roots Festival , Arts Destination South Molton, with the sponsorship of Home Instead North Devon and Exmoor, and the expertise of Gordon McKerrow, an accomplished script writer and filmmaker, presented to us a most enchanting film. This incorporated poems, paintings, photographs and music which were contributed by local people, and linked skilfully by Gordon using his own film and photography.

The beginning was dramatic: sheep baaing and moving around pens on market day, amidst the clatter of hooves. This was followed by tranquil scenes of the river, while a poem was sensitively read about the ‘Good Old Mole’. All the while, the wind quartet Giocoso played the soothing Air from Handel’s Water Music.

The captivating opening drew us on to familiar places: the Parish Church with its grey stones, ferns and resident jackdaws, mentioned in a poem by the rector; stunning aerial views from the top of the tower; photos of the Pannier Market full of people and bright colours; the allotments described as ‘a place apart’ and ‘a blessing’. Interspersing the photos and films were finely executed watercolours of areas of the town and more poems.

The Town Band was not forgotten, playing joyfully while a series of masks were shown. Now where had one seen those masks before? On the facade of the George Hotel of course!

I loved the sentiments towards the end of the film: if you’re lonely you can always go to town and meet someone for a friendly gossip… the townspeople are honest and busy people… they will always welcome you wherever you are from.

In the Assembly Rooms was an exhibition of photos of the town ‘Now and Then’ (past and present) created by Karolina Andreasova. A clip, filmed by her, of an old thresher (still in use), throwing out stooks was incorporated in the main film.

The afternoon, with a full house, including our local MP, Selaine Saxby, and other local dignitaries, was altogether a good experience rounded off by a delicious cream tea and homemade cakes, made of ingredients contributed by the town’s businesses.

Rosemary Banham, Supporter of Arts Destination South Molton

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