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Stoke Gifford couple sing in ground-breaking gospel choir at royal wedding

Posted on Thursday 14th June 2018 at 11:35 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of Vernon and Kim Samuels at Windsor Castle.

While millions of people switched on their televisions to watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot on Saturday 19th May, Vernon and Kim Samuels from Stoke Gifford had the honour of being part of the gospel choir that sang at the wedding.

The Kingdom Choir, led by Kim’s sister Karen Gibson, sang a beautiful rendition of ‘Stand By Me’ during Prince Harry and Meghan’s service. Having a gospel choir sing at the wedding was, in fact, the idea of future king, Prince Charles, and the Kingdom Choir were sought out about two months prior to the big day. They then had to keep their involvement in the wedding quiet, so it was quite a shock for their friends and family when they spotted them singing in the chapel!

Speaking to us about the lead up to the wedding, Kim said:

“It was a little bit like being in a dream. It took a while to believe that it was actually happening. In fact, it wasn’t until we arrived at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on the Thursday evening before the wedding that I allowed myself to believe that we were really going to be singing at the royal wedding! In the days leading up to the wedding it was all about preparation – spiritual, mental and physical preparation​.”

As the Kingdom Choir is based in London, the majority of the members are from that area. In fact, Vernon and Kim were the only ones to sing who live outside of London. This did mean that preparing for the wedding proved quite difficult as they only had the opportunity to have two or three rehearsals. Having such a small amount of time to prepare made their performance even more impressive as they also sang a cover of Etta James’ medley of ‘Amen’ and ‘This Little Light of Mine’. These were sung right at the end of the ceremony by which time the royal couple had moved out of the chapel onto the steps.

More: Couple will always remember that they "were a part of history" »

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Stoke Gifford news round-up (May/Jun 2018)

Posted on Tuesday 5th June 2018 at 6:18 pm by Laura Mortimore

Stoke Gifford news round-up.

This month we’ve seen the warm summer sunshine turn into cloud and thunderstorms, however, this hasn’t stopped the Stoke Gifford community from working hard and celebrating their successes.

St Michael’s Primary School

The children of St Michael’s have just celebrated the end of term with their own rendition of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (see photo to the right), performed in the auditorium of the St Michael’s Centre.

Headteacher Mark Freeman said:

“The children of St Michael’s School excelled themselves once again with their performance of Beauty and the Beast, played in front of rapturous audiences over two nights in the magnificent St Michael’s Church Centre.  The performance was the culmination of nearly six months of rehearsals, costume-making and set-creation, and the result was an absolute treat. As has become expected with our tradition at St Michaels’s, what stood out above all else was the wonderful singing, including both solo and ensemble pieces, and the joy and enthusiasm of the children was striking. None of this would happen without the dedication of the staff and parents of the school, who all contributed in different ways to this year’s success. For pictures and video clips please visit the school website:

The school have also been celebrating sporting success as their football team won the cup final, beating Bromley Heath 3-0. They are now hoping to continue their winning streak when they compete in the ‘champions’ league’ next term.

More: Abbeywood School and St Michael’s Church. Key dates for June. »

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Annual fête deemed a success by organisers

Posted on Tuesday 5th June 2018 at 5:45 pm by Laura Mortimore

Stokes Singers perform at the Stoke Gifford Fête.

On Monday 28th May, the Stoke Gifford Fête took place in the Trust Grounds, North Road. It had been a weekend of trepidation for the organisers as they hoped that the thunderstorms would all be over for the big day. Luckily, the rain held off and the fete had a large turnout.

Dave Addison, chair of the Stoke Gifford Trust, said:

“After last year’s heavy rain just before the start of the fete, we were very relieved that the weather on Monday was so kind to us and pleased that we had so many people turn out out for both the fete and the dog show.”

“We were also grateful for the continued support from Stoke Gifford Parish Council and the 1st Stoke Gifford Scouts, as well as local businesses and organisations, which makes the fete viable by providing resources and volunteers. Although, if any local residents would like to help ensure the continued existence of the fête, we would love to have more help with both organisation and running of the event.”

If anyone would like to become involved with the trust committee, please contact Dave or one of the other members of the trust through their website

More photos: Facebook | Google | Flickr

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USA cycling trip is raising funds for British Legion

Posted on Thursday 17th May 2018 at 9:28 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of Matthew Moran ready to leave for his fundraising trip across the USA.

A 56-year-old resident of Stoke Gifford has embarked on the trip of a lifetime to raise money for the local branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL).

Matthew Moran flew to San Francisco on 1st April and is going to spend three-and-a-half months cycling across America. Matthew isn’t making the trip easy for himself, as his route is going to see him take a few detours on his way across the country. He began his journey by heading south from San Francisco to take in some of the Californian coastline before heading east to Fresno. After Fresno, Matthew will conquer the aptly named ‘Death Valley’ en route to Las Vegas. Once there, he plans to visit the Grand Canyon before slowly continuing on to the city of Denver through ‘Monument Valley’.

After Denver, Matthew will head South East towards Memphis, via Kansas, and on arrival, will be able to take in all the Mississippi river has to offer. Another slight detour will see him head predominantly north as he aims for Chicago, before heading east towards Washington D.C. via yet more famous cities such as Cleveland and Pittsburgh. After three-and-a-half months of gruelling cycling, Matthew will reach New York, bringing his sponsored trip to an end.

Matthew has already spent time raising funds for the RBL when, in 2011, he was joined by his son Fraser and together they cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats. Again, they decided not to take the most direct route and instead took in five of the highest peaks in the UK, making their journey 1,100 miles instead of the normal 830 mile distance. With support from friends, family and members of the local community, that trip raised over £2,000 for the RBL. This time around, Matthew has a target of raising £7,500 for the charity.

More: How to support Matthew through his JustGiving page »

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