Thanks to the very generous donation of one local resident the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles has been able to completely transform the usual Nativity display for a marvellous new one. Mrs Kathryn Ballisat, so appreciated the interest and pleasure that the Nativity scene created at Christmas time and the funds it raised for local charities that she resolved to donate money to upgrade it especially when she saw a wonderful new collection of figures at Castle Gardens. Due to her generosity this year there will be a brand new collection of figures including all the Holy family and the animals from the stable, eleven in all. Each carefully moulded plaster of Paris figure and animal has been beautifully crafted and painted to make a wonderful depiction of the Nativity scene. Having lost her beloved brother earlier this year she would like the whole scene to be dedicated to his memory so that he will be remembered for many years to come. Clearly the club members are extremely grateful for her kind thought, as will be local people who come to visit.
Way back in 1952 Sherborne Rotary club organised and constructed a small stand alone crib scene on the Parade. On Christmas Eve that year several local choirs accompanied by the Boys Brigade band gave a concert and sang carols around the crib while a tree, donated by Sherborne Castles Estates, was erected. A collection of £44 was raised enabling the club to distribute Coal and Eggs to 50 local people.
Later in 1978 the Rotary club made a request to the District Council for permission to use the Conduit to house and protect the crib scene. This was duly granted and Rotarian Sid Hamblin made the three wooden panels that are fitted to the alcoves in the Conduit. These were then painted by Ian Robinson, an art teacher at the Girls school, and clothes and props were made and fitted by Rotarians and local people. Initially, the crib was protected by a single metal bar but unfortunately after several incidents of vandalism it was necessary to fit a steel mesh screen to prevent access especially after the stuffed donkey, given by Castles Gardens, was found abandoned late one night in Hospital Lane. Bill Butters generously offered to provide and fit a glass viewing window which enabled everyone to view the Crib scene more easily.
In addition a manhole on the Parade next to the Conduit was constructed at Rotary’s expense to facilitate the erection of a large Christmas tree every year. This caused some alarm the year the Queen visited Sherborne when her security team were inspecting all manholes and discovered a jumble of wooden blocks and metal pipes used to stabilise the tree.
Over the many years the generosity of the public who have appreciated the opportunity to see the Holy family and hear carols have given money that has contributed to the Voluntary Ambulance, Friends of Yeatman, Tinney’s Youth club, the local hospices and many others. In these strange and testing times this year the money collected will go to the Sherborne Food Bank to support their much needed work.
To donate to our Christmas Crib Appeal please visit our Golden Giving page.