Salvation Army 130th anniversary event in Petersfield

A celebration marking the 130th anniversary of the Salvation Army will be held in Petersfield on Saturday, June 11.

The Petersfield Corps of the Salvation Army “opened fire” in Petersfield on June 24,  1886, being Corps 822 in the British Isles, when, according to a newspaper report of that time, “several Hallelujah lassies, a Commissioner and others in red guernseys opened the corps.”

The Corps began under the command of Captain Coad and Lieutenant Whittaker.

It was not long before the Corps was presented with a drum, though its enthusiastic beating was a cause of annoyance to nearby residents.  After just one year there were 200 soldiers, friends and converts who celebrated this first milestone.

The Salvation Army periodical The War Cry, dated August 14, 1886, wrote: “The Salvation Army entered Petersfield about a month ago.  War is raging, but victory is on our side. Hallelujah! Since the opening souls have turned from their sins to serve the true and living God, and although only young on the way they are going in heart and soul to get their companions saved. On Thursday, Major Rees and Staff-Captain Complin were with us; also Happy Thomas, from Salisbury. The power of God was felt.  One soul came to Jesus. On Sunday the lord filled us afresh with fire and zeal to seek and save the lost.  Praise God, six came to the Saviour.”

A Picnic and Proms of Praise 130th Anniversary Celebration will be taking place at The Petersfield School on Saturday, June 11 from 12-4.30pm. Everyone in the community is invited to join in, and the cost will be £5 per family (up to two adults and three children), and all are invited to bring a picnic and enjoy an afternoon of fun, food, music and praise.

Music will be provided throughout the afternoon by Solent Fellowship Brass Band, Herne Junior School, and solo performers, and there will be a children’s tent of activities, as well as many charity stalls with goods for sale, and other stalls and items of interest.

The Salvation Army, Swan Street, Petersfield 

01730 262820

Farnham marks centenary of silence with May day event

The world’s first two-minute silence took place on Castle Street in May 1916. The significance of this historical moment was unknown to many until research by the Museum of Farnham recently unearthed evidence of the original event.

On Sunday, May 1, there will be a full day of events to mark the centenary of this occasion. Whether it’s writing a poem or personal reflection of remembrance, enjoying the stalls on Gostrey Meadow or simply coming down to watch the proceedings, this will be a commemoration and celebration for all ages, say organisers.

Including a procession through Farnham to a May Day fair, this unique occasion will be a day of poignancy and reflection, as well as celebrating spring and Farnham’s valuable contribution to history. Just as it was reported in 1916, in a programme found at the National Archives, the ceremony and two-minute silence will be “a token of respect to the memory of those who have fallen in the war, to the wounded, to the prisoners and to those who are fighting for their country.”

The day will begin with a procession from Farnham Castle along Castle Street. Marching bands from The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR Band) and Farnham Sea Cadets will lead local community groups from throughout Farnham. After congregating at the bottom of Castle Street, there will be a short ceremony and two-minute silence. There will also be a performance of music, composed by army bandmaster Ben Mason for this event and performed by pupils from Weydon School, Full Circle Vocal Group and the PWRR Band. The whole crowd will then be invited to follow the band to the May Day fair on Gostrey Meadow.

Embracing May Day, Farnham Maltings will celebrate spring with performances, exhibitions and entertainment on Gostrey Meadow. There will also be more music with performances from the bandstand and a Maypole, just as there was in 1916. There will be re-enactment from the Great War Society, exhibitions from the Museum of Farnham and the Rural Life Centre and poems of remembrance on display. Children and big children alike will enjoy the steam rides including a  carousel, coconut shy and petting zoo. Take a picnic, bring the family and make the most of the day in the beautiful Gostrey Meadow.

Any community organisations wishing to take part in the procession should contact

Schedule of events

10.30am: A procession along Castle Street.

10.50am: A short ceremony, a specially-commissioned performance by The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment Band local musicians, followed by a two minute silence.

11.10am: Follow the band and process to Gostrey Meadow.

11.20am – 4pm: May Day fair on Gostrey Meadow featuring Horton’s steam fairground, exhibitions, more music and a May pole, all of which will be free. Light refreshments will be on sale and we encourage you to bring a picnic.

My view on Amy’s View? Excellent


Amy’s View (Winton Players)

Festival Hall, Petersfield

Saturday, April 16

David Hare’s play on the subject of the arts is quite a weighty one. Esme the stage actress is in her heyday at the start of the play, clashing with her journalist daughter Amy’s new boyfriend Dominic, who runs a magazine, wants to make films, and feels theatre is outdated. Amy is torn between the two, loving Dominic and supporting his career, while admiring and loving her mother, too. Amy is the watcher, the pacifier, the truth sayer – used to dealing with dramatic personalities, she allows the volatile people around her to have their say and their way, while unobtrusively attempting to make it all work and create some stability.

Later, Esme (Esme, me, me?) is working in a television hospital series, raging about authenticity, while Dominic is a successful critic with an arts show. Then, at the end, Esme, broke and owing millions due to bad investments, is back onstage but critically acclaimed, and Dominic is a famous film director. There is some sort of rapprochement as she and Dominic come to an understanding about theatre but also, more importantly, about Amy, who was always the onlooker, never as vociferous as Esme or Dominic.

The play moves from 1970 to the 1990s, with the backdrop of the Lloyds of London crash.

Yes, there is a lot of debate about the arts in the play, but there is also plenty of comedy and poignancy as each of the characters is battered by life and circumstances.

Eileen Riddeford as Esme was magnificent. She begins as national treasure, sweeping in from another packed house, spending a fortune on a taxi all the way from London, cutting down Dominic with his ideas about film, opining about the dreadfulness of other actors. Then we watch as she slips down the ladder, refusing to acknowledge the debts, increasingly brittle and edgy as she is forced to consider marriage for money and taking parts in second-rate television shows. And in the final act, world-weary, alone, but undefeated – her last scene a true actor’s moment – chin up, shoulders back and walking from real-life gloom into the light as her audience cheers. A great part for a great amateur actress.

Francesca Williams, at the start of her acting career (she’s off to drama school this year) tackled the role very well, capturing Amy’s pain in trying to make everyone happy while dealing stoically with her issues. Francesca has a very expressive face and a lovely clear voice. It was good to see her in this lead role, showing what she’s capable of.

Ryan Watts, who has only been acting for a year, demonstrated that he had worked hard on his performance as Dominic, as this is not an easy part or an easy play. He was measured in his speeches, and it can’t have been easy, saying lines while fixing a bicycle onstage in the opening scene!

Cindy Graves as Evelyn, Esme’s cantankerous mother-in-law, got many of the laughs with her sniffy comments about Dominic and pub food in the first act. But we felt sympathy for both Evelyn and Esme later as dementia has taken hold and Evelyn asks repeatedly where her son Bernard is, as Esme answers wearily, no doubt for the thousandth time: “He’s not here. He’s not here. He’s dead.”

John Edwards, who only moved to Petersfield last year, played Frank the neighbour who advises Esme financially. Just a hint of the native Welsh accent was evident as he shuffled on and off the stage, nonchalantly batting away criticisms about the way in which he has lost Esme’s money and pouring himself another whiskey.

Waiting until the final scene for his appearance was Ed Sheehan, who played the effusive young actor Toby, in awe of Esme; a very likeable young man.

The performances were excellent throughout, and much of this can be attributed to director John Mill, who obviously gets the best out of his actors.

Costumes were subtle and not too obviously 70s or 90s, and the set was elegant. Well done Winton Players – you deserved bigger audiences for this.

Kat Wootton