CIVIC SERVICE -- The Mayor, Councillor Peggy Fraser-Scott, had invited everyone to join her, and the Presteigne and Norton Town Councillors, in a celebration of the community last Wednesday, September 10, in St Andrew's Church. The service was conducted by the Rector, the Rev Stephen Hollinghurst, and after a welcome from him the service began with the hymn 'Immortal, Invisible, God only wise'. The Bible Readings were read by Gordon Ames and Coun Evelyn Davies, and musical interludes were provided by Tim Hollinghurst, on the organ, and the choir from the highly successful community event 'Get Happy'. Father Andrew Pearce from Knighton gave the address, in which he discussed the tension that can often exist between Church and State, with the ensuing dilemma, and dual allegiance, for Christians. Father Andrew observed how easily state organisations and procedures - originally established to serve the people - could end up achieving the opposite, and how dangerous it could become if 'government' became remote and inaccessible from the community. As a possible outcome of the electorate being ignored Father Andrew underlined the potential consequences of civil disobedience and the growth of extremism. However, bringing the argument back from the national to very local circumstances, Father Andrew concluded with the confidence that public servants in Presteigne and Norton would follow Christ's example... and 'serve' rather than be served. The service ended with the National Anthems - sung in both English and Welsh - and a very welcome buffet, with wine and refreshments.

LONG SHADOWS -- Local author and artist, Juliette Boobbyer, has her play, 'Long Shadows' returning to the Presteigne stage - by popular request - next month, with the original cast from its' 'first performance' in the Assembly Rooms last year. The staged reading will retell the 3,000 year-old story of David and Bathsheba updated into a contemporary setting. Juliet's experience in the theatre is wide - she began by ironing the costumes, and progressed to play-writing! She was co-author of 'Columba', a play with music, which featured in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1978, and then toured the country from Kilburn to - most appropriately - the isle of Iona, playing in venues as diverse as a Glasgow Comprehensive school, St. George's Theatre, Edinburgh, and a Jesuit seminary. Director Margaret Morgan brings her experience as both an actor and director in amateur theatre to this production, having worked with Newcastle Players and Stafford Players, before coming to Presteigne and establishing the drama group 'Tableau'. In 1998 'Tableau' performed a staged reading of T S Eliot's 'Murder in the Cathedral' in Presteigne, Norton and Knighton, and Margaret was joint director of the very successful 'Hopes and Dreams' and 'Get Happy' revues in 2001 and earlier this year. The cast comprises of Carol Brick, Kate Doubleday, Keith Hatfield, Andrew Holmes, Muriel Passey, Andrew Pearce, Robert Segrott, and Adrian and Dee Stott - all looking forward to reprising their performances. The play will take place in the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady and St. Therese, Presteigne, on October 4, at 7pm. Advance booking is recommended, with tickets for the evening costing £5, which will include a glass of wine. Proceeds will go towards the Pilleth Church Restoration Fund. Telephone 01544 260060 or 01544 267986 for tickets or information.

FILM FANS -- Tomorrow (Friday), Presteigne Film Society is presenting Oscar winner, The Hours, starring Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, together with Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. A great opener for the society's new season. The film, with a 12a classification, starts at 8pm in the Assembly Rooms, with tickets costing £4 - concessions £3 - and refreshments available beforehand.

SURGERY UPDATE -- Don't forget! On Thursday and Friday, October 2 and 3, there will be emergency cover only at The Surgery, while a new computer system is being installed. There will be no routine appointments on those two days, nor - very importantly - access to the surgery computer for repeat prescriptions. So patients are requested to kindly plan ahead, and order their repeat prescriptions in plenty of time before that two-day period. Medical cover for emergencies will, of course, be maintained during the computer changeover, and emergency patients can telephone (01544 267985) or visit the surgery as usual.

MEMORIAL HALL -- Were you there in the 50s and 60s? If so, go along to the Memorial Hall on Saturday, September 27, for the Boysey Rumsey Tribute Night! There are a limited number of tickets, so be early - or be disappointed. Tickets cost £5, and the evening starts at 8.30 pm... until late. Late bar facilities will be available.

ST MICHAEL'S MICHAELMAS WAKES -- The Friends of St. Michael's, Discoed, have a weekend of festivities planned for the end of September, starting with their Harvest Festival on Thursday, September 25, at 6.30 pm. On the following evening at 8pm, September 26, the distinguished author Ronald Blythe will talk about 'Sacred Places', reflections on the Divine in nature, childhood and maturity, explorations and the meaning of landscape. He will illustrate the discussion with readings from some of his books. Tickets, which will include an interval drink, cost £5. On the Saturday afternoon there will be the presentation of the St. Michael's Open Poetry Competition prizes and readings - with free entrance - at 2pm, and at 3pm the Wakes Afternoon entertainments will begin, with music by Millennium Brass, refreshments, ferret racing(!) and many other attractions. In the evening there will be a concert, A Box of Delights, given by the Dolau Mixtures under the direction of Marion Rowlatt. Admission will be £5. Sunday, September 28, sees September Serenade, with Ruth Watson, oboe, and Gareth Rees-Roberts, guitar, and Edward Storey, reader. The concert will include the first performance of 'Variations on Caleno Custurame' - an Irish folk-song - by Trevor Hold. The celebrations will conclude with a Service of Thanksgiving, 'Rejoice', led by the Rector, the Rev Stephen Hollinghurst. The Dolau Mixtures will be giving the first performance of a motet by David Twigg, 'This is the House', which is dedicated to St. Michael's.