CAPTION: Marystowe Church continued their Christmas tradition in a creative Covid-safe fashion

Marystowe Dedicates ‘Online with Oliver’ Show to The Children’s Society

Posted: 11th January, 2022

Christmas entertainment from the community in Marystowe donated over 40% of their funds to The Children’s Society in December as they offered free admission to the Zoom show ‘Online with Oliver’.

In 2020, Marystowe began what is fast becoming a tradition with a Zoom reading of A Christmas Carol.

Published in 1838, Oliver Twist was Charles Dickens’ second novel.

This winter they followed up on 11th December when a motley collection of friends (and their dogs) did a reading on Zoom of Oliver Twist with songs from the Oliver musical by The Lifton Singers.

There was no charge to join but viewers were encouraged to donate through a Just Giving page.

A total of just over £1,200 was raised through Just Giving, Hamper raffle and sale of sing along programmes and supper bags.

They donated £500 to The Children’s Society.

Jess Meale, is The Children’s Society Community Relationships Manager of the South-West and was “delighted to be able to attend”.

She said, “This is a perfect example of innovative fundraising during these difficult times. I was delighted to be able to attend and had a wonderful evening. So much time and effort went into it and it really showed. Thank you so much to all at Marystowe who made this possible.”

Formally named The Church of England’s Children’s Society, the charity has been fighting for the hope and happiness of young people when it’s threatened by abuse, exploitation and neglect since its founding in the  19th century.

“Although the story of Oliver Twist was set in the 1830’s, many of the issues facing children and young people at that time were still relevant when The Children’s Society was formed in 1881,” said Jess.

“In fact, in 1881, the workhouse was the only option for children who couldn’t be supported by their family and our founder, Edward Rudolf, knew they were not places where children could thrive.

“That’s why, with the backing of The Church of England, he set up the country’s first children’s homes. Whilst the way we work may have changed over our 140 year existence, to this day we still see some of the issues faced by Oliver at that time; children facing hunger, children in care and children being exploited and groomed into a life of crime.

“We [The Children’s Society] will continue to fight for the hope and happiness of children and young people and overturn the damaging decline in their mental health and well-being, setting a path for long-lasting growth.”


Top left: Jess Meale from The Children’s Society (as herself)

Top Middle: The Reverend Andy Atkins as Bill Sikes

Top Right: Amy Harrowell from Chillaton as Nancy

Middle Left: Andrew McSmythurs from Marystowe as the Policeman

Middle: Joy McSmythurs PCC member Marystowe Church as Mrs Bumble

Middle Right: Annie Jefferies Chair of the House of Laity Diocese of Exeter as Artful Dodger

Bottom Left: Guy Talbot PCC Secretary, Treasurer South Tamar Mission Community – the Narrator

Bottom middle; Mike Jefferies Church Warden Lamerton as Mr Bumble

Bottom left: Shona Dickinson from Lamerton Church as the Old Gentleman


Jess Meale is the Community Relationships Manager of The Children’s Society in the South-West

The Children’s Society will be present at the Christian Resources Exhibition at Westpoint Arena, Exeter, on 23 & 24 February 2022.  If you’ve yet to book your ticket, please do so using this link By using this link, The Children’s Society will receive a £1 re-imbursement on their costs for the event. Jess Meale said, “this is the first time in many years that the Christian Resources Exhibition will be taking place in Devon.  The Children’s Society will be there both days and look forward to seeing you there.  Please do come and chat to us and check out our resources.”