Latest news from Revive Portland

Portland gets the scare factor

by Harry Hogger, Dorset Echo, 20 October 2011

GHOSTS, ghouls, witches and wizards are being urged to show their support for a free community event on Portland.

Wild about Hallowe’en festivities are taking place on Saturday, October 29, with a 2.30pm start at High Angle Battery.

The ‘Ghost Tunnels’ were cleaned up by volunteers last weekend as part of the annual island clean-up so a treasure hunt can be held.

Event organiser Yvonne Beven said: “This will be a unique opportunity to explore the tunnels, but enter at your own risk, you never know what may be lurking there.”

Wild about Hallowe’en is a joint venture between the Revive Portland community group, Wild about Weymouth and Portland and Synergy Housing.

Spooky family fun will include a falconry display, owls, bats, a junk music activity workshop an open day at Fancys Farm and wandering goats.

The Revive Portland Sea Dragon will make his debut appearance at 2.30pm and at 5pm the dragon will lead a fancy dress procession down the Incline to Osprey Leisure Centre where the main events will take place.

Yvonne said: “There will be loads going on for all the family.

“Not only do we have a fantastic fire show and a new Hallowe’en dance routine performed by GwellC dancers, but the students from Royal Manor Arts College will be organising loads of free fun games and activities for children and adults alike.

“Last year, we had about 3,000 people join the procession, nearly all of whom were in fancy dress and the atmosphere was amazing.”

She added: “Thanks to the generosity and support of Wild about Weymouth and Portland and Synergy Housing and Tesco we are able to put on our third, completely free, Hallowe’en event.

“We would love as many people as possible to join in the fun.”

Highlights will include spooky activities with the Jurassic Coast road show, hot food and a licensed bar.

Portland author Carol Hunt will be launching her new book, Portland Pirates, and Revive members will be dressing as pirates to keep up the theme.

The evening will culminate with a spectacular firework display at 8.30pm from the water.

Mysterious Gravestones

In A View From News, October 5 2011, Harry Walton writes: –

Portland author Carol Hunt has been in touch with me about my interest in discovering skull and crossbones on various graves near Church Ope Cove.
She said: ‘The so-called pirate graves in the ruins of St Andrew’s Church at Church Ope have long since fascinated me and my book Portland Pirates, the third book in the Portland Chronicles, which will be released in mid-October, is inspired by these mysterious gravestones.

‘During my book research, I found out that the skull and crossbones is a mediaeval symbol. Its origins lie with the Knights Templar, for whom it meant death and resurrection.

‘The Templars were once a major international maritime force and flew this symbol on their ships. After the Crusades, many were forced to make a living as pirates.

‘Other Knights Templar were skilled masons, so the skull and crossbones was also adopted by the Freemasons to denote a Master Mason.

‘So although we nowadays associate the symbol with piracy, its origins and possible meanings are more complex. The graves at Church Ope are certainly intriguing.’

Launch of the Big Read at Waterstones, Bridport

Enchantment of the Black Dog has been chosen for the Children’s Big Read, an initiative to encourage reading and discussion for young people linked to the Bridport Literary Festival. Children across Bridport will be reading Enchantment of the Black Dog and will share their experiences of reading, taking part in debates and discussions. The Big Read was launched on 3rd October 2011 at Waterstones Bookshop, Bridport . I was assisted by some lovely children from a local primary school, who kept the dragon and mermaid under control and listened to me reading the first chapter. They asked some great questions and we discussed the folklore that underlies the story, the phantom Black Dog, as well as debating Portland’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster, the weird Veasta. We talked about the map at the front of the book and how it helps to imagine Isabel’s journey through the story. I am looking forward to visiting Bridport primary schools to talk to children about the book and their experience of reading the story.