A special Songs of Praise to celebrate the 174thanniversary of St James Church in Dalby was a fitting closure to a very successful heritage exhibition, which coincided with the Tynwald Day celebrations and Manx National Week.
Entitled A Reflection of a Village Through Flowers and Photos, this unique exhibition attracted visitors Island wide who soon discovered that Dalby was not quite the sleepy backwater that they had imagined.
Wending their way from church to schoolroom, their curiosities were aroused by old photographs of the village, its people and a fantastic array of memorabilia which provided a glimpse into the daily life of its inhabitants.
The exhibition was a community based exercise, which, although focused on the village of Dalby reached out to Glen Maye and Eary Cushlin; featuring tales of local characters, history, legend and folklore. Particular attention was paid to some of the more notable stories of the area, such as the famous music hall artist Florrie Forde, eccentric Manx millionaire Colby Cubbin, the Christian heritage of Lag ny Keeilley and the shenanigans of the Dalby Spook.
A wide selection of refreshments was also available, tempting visitors to sample anything from simple lunches to afternoon tea.
The anniversary service was led by local Minister Cheryl Cousins, who thanked everyone involved in the exhibition for all of their hard work before introducing Michael Killey and Thomas Doyle to relate their individual, and sometimes revealing stories, about what it’s like to be born and bred in Dalby. In addition Margy Killey recounted the memories of Voirrey Curphey.
Meanwhile members of the Manx Gaelic choir, Cliogaree Twoaie, sang The Invocation to St Bridget, an evocative request for the popular saint to bless the house and Shee, a more reflective composition asking for peace.
The service was followed by refreshments in the schoolroom.
All proceeds from the exhibition will be divided between the Friends of Robert Owen House, the Malawi Mission Project and the restoration fund for St James Church.
Valerie Caine, © July 2013