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COSMOS gala dinner a 'magical' evening

Saturday's gala dinner to raise money for the new Community Observatory on St Martin's was described as a "magical" evening.

The event, at Karma St Martin's Hotel, is thought to have made around £8,000, despite lower than hoped attendance due to boats from St Mary's and Tresco being cancelled because of the weather.

The evening involved a buffet curry meal, warm brownies, auction, raffle and an entertaining talk on time by Professor Ian Morison, astronomer at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

The biggest lots at the auction included an original painting by Richard Pearce and a two week stay at a luxury Karma resort in Goa.

Val Thomas is chair of COSMOS, the group behind the Observatory. She told This is Scilly earlier in the night: "This is the major fundraising event to celebrate three years of really serious fundraising. We decided we would end with a flourish with a grand gala dinner.

"If you walk up past the Island Hall, you will actually see that the Observatory is actually being built, which is very exciting."

Val stressed that the new facility is not just for St Martin's, saying: "It's an Observatory - I'm serious now - for all the islands. It won't work if not everybody uses it. Fair enough, the dry room can stream from the cameras on the telescopes to everybody but it's not the same as actually being there."

Click on photos to enlarge and view descriptions.

Compère Neil Wood surprised Val at the end of the evening by auctioning off her services as "slave for a day", to much hilarity.

She closed the night by thanking everyone for attending and enjoying what had been a “magical” evening.

COSMOS secretary Charlie Payne said afterwards: "The whole build and lead up to it has been such a lot of work, oftentimes feeling bottomless and thankless, so it was nice for us as a committee to take the time to celebrate what we’ve achieved so far, plus really heartening to see many St Martin's faces there."

Find out more about COSMOS at or contact them via social media or at

Meanwhile, the construction of the Observatory is on target to open next spring. (Photo taken October 7th 2018).


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