Petersfield branch of Alzheimer’s fundraising group needs sponsors

Petersfield man Mark Straffon, along with his childhood friend and fellow Liphook Football Club player Matthew Rothwell, have completed a charity bike ride from Petersfield to Lausanne in Switzerland in just 72 hours.

The pair raised more than £3,000 for the country’s Alzheimer’s Association from their efforts.

Matthew, who now lives in Switzerland and is a keen cyclist and runner, decided to create Team Horizon and invited Mark to complete the challenge. Team Horizon is a not-for-profit association and each year, all excess money it makes will be donated to a chosen charity.

Team Horizon is now coming to the UK. Mark and his wife Natalie are going to head it up, raising money for the Alzheimer’s UK charity.

Natalie said: “My husband and I work at Petersfield Infant School, where Mark is the caretaker, so we are both very involved in the local community.

“We will be running the UK team, offering weekly running sessions as well as planning some of our own amazing trips and challenges.

“We are now looking for sponsors from local businesses to sponsor our kit and we would like to invite anyone interested to join us.”

To get involved, e-mail

Trailwalker fundraiser in Haslemere means target is met already

Trailwalker team at The Apple Tree
Trailwalker team Andy Connor, Rob Bennett, Iain Mcarthur and Pete Swatton held a charity fun day at the Apple Tree in Haslemere last weekend, June 24 to raise funds for their forthcoming sponsored walk.
The event was well attended and everyone who came along enjoyed live music from UkeJam, Slack Maverick, Martin Harley, Phil McKenzie and many more – including one of the Trailwalkers, Pete Swatton, who debuted some new material with fellow musician Tom Groves on the cello.
The team sold raffle tickets with prizes on offer from Cowdray Park, the Devonshire Arms in London, JD Motors, Hands on Health, Robin Garden Machinery, OCTOPUS Ukeleles, Uppark House and Garden, Blackfarm Butchers and The General Wine Company.
The team will be aiming to walk 100km in less than 30 hours over July 29-30 and have set themselves a fundraising target of £1,400 for Oxfam GB and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Between their own fundraising and the incredible £920 raised on Saturday they have now exceeded their target.
“This took a lot of work to set up and we’d all like to thank everyone who came along; The Apple Tree for their helpful and generous support, everyone who donated prizes, and everyone who helped us sell raffle tickets on the day,” said Pete Swatton. “Knowing we’ve hit our fundraising target is a huge relief – now we’ve just got to walk the route and get to the end as a team”.
You can sponsor the team by visiting or you can text SUTI65 plus the amount (i.e SUTI65 £10) to 70070

Headley Theatre Club predicts a Riot!

Riot! cast outside the gates of Headley workhouse (now Headley Grange)


In November 1830 a mob of several hundred men stormed the dreaded workhouses at Selborne and Headley and laid them waste.

This year Jo Smith’s play called Riot!, performed by members of Headley Theatre Club, brings the action to life again as a team of actors visit local venues to tell the story with music, words and action.

The production runs over two weekends from July 14-22, visiting Alton Assembly Rooms (8pm Friday 14), Liphook Village Hall (2.30 and 8pm Saturday 15), The Rural Life Centre, Tilford (2.30pm Sunday 15), The Triangle Liss (8pm Friday 21) and Headley Village Hall (2.30 and 8pm Saturday 22).

Tickets can be obtained from the individual venues, or centrally by visiting the Headley Theatre Club website or by ringing 01428 717358.


Quiz nights and curry help Hounds for Heroes

The Holiday Inn Winchester recently hosted another special charity fund raising event for Hounds for Heroes, raising a total of £1,429 for the charity.  The funds will go towards helping to train assistance dogs for injured  and disabled men and women from the armed forces and civilian emergency services.
Allen Parton with his assistance dogs, receiving the cheque for Hounds for Heroes
The fund raising evening combined the winning combination of a home cooked curry, specially prepared by the hotel’s 2 AA Rosette Award winning team, with all the fun of a challenging quiz.
The hotel’s General Manager Marc Solarz is a very keen quizzer and was the quiz master for the fund raising events. He said: “We wanted to create a fun way of raising funds and awareness for this very special charity which our hotel sponsors, by providing free accommodation to the injured veterans, while they are in training with their Hounds for Heroes assistance dogs.  We were delighted with the great response from local quiz teams who attended the two events and who helped us to raise a total of £1429 for the charity.  It was such a success that we are planning another event in October.”
“The hotel has worked closely with the Petersfield-based charity Hounds for Heroes for the last three years.  We have eight fully-adapted, wheelchair-friendly rooms available and we felt that they could be utilised to help this worthwhile charity, that does so much to rebuild the lives of injured service personnel,” said Sarah Waddington, Sales Manager at the hotel. 
“All of our staff at the hotel look forward to hearing the patter of paws around the hotel while hosting the regular training sessions, and have become very attached to the beautiful highly intelligent dogs that bring positive changes to the lives of the veterans.”

Petersfield’s Edward Barnsley Workshop again at Masterpiece exhibition

Edward Barnsley Workshop in Froxfield is now a regular exhibitor at London’s Masterpiece, and will once again participate in this prestigious annual event at The Royal Hospital Chelsea from June 29 to July 5.

Masterpiece London launched in 2010 with a unique focus on cross-collecting. Over the past seven years it has established itself as the leading international event for viewing and buying the finest works of art, from antiquity to the present day in the heart of London.

The Edward Barnsley Workshop, makers of bespoke furniture, have attended the Masterpiece exhibition since the beginning. The unifying theme for their showcase this year will be monochrome with a white scrubbed oak rocking chair as its centrepiece. Last year the theme was also monochrome but featured black scorched oak furniture. This year the staging will be a dramatic black backdrop and the white rocking chair taking centre stage.

Edward Barnsley rocking chair

Creating the white bespoke handcrafted oak rocking chair involves skilled apprentices bleaching the wood and scrubbing it with an abrasive scouring powder to create the “blonde look.” The startling white rocking chair against the black background will have an ethereal quality as the chair appears to be organically moulded from a single piece of wood. This is largely due to the scrubbed oak finish which makes it hard to see where one piece of wood finishes and another begins.

Edward Barnsley’s Designer-Manager, James Ryan said: “As a designer, I love the feedback and interaction with the visitors coming to Masterpiece excited to see the exhibits. I also enjoy seeing the inspiring art work and pieces on the other stands and meeting the dealers who specialise in selling them.”

Customers visiting the exhibition can be reassured that every piece has met the Masterpiece stringent criteria as every piece has been individually vetted.

Also debuting at Masterpiece – a new white scrubbed oak sidetable will be unveiled. This follows the same design narrative as used on the Rocking chair and the black scorched dining table and develops it in a new format.

Masterpiece is located on the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea at the height of the capital’s summer arts season.

Evening of music and song in July for Farnham choirs

A grant of £1,500 from Farnham Town Council is enabling Voices Together Community Choir to organise an evening of music and song in July.

A Festival of Song is a collaboration of five local choirs which will see each choir sing individually and as a massed choir.

The Mayor of Farnham Councillor Mike Hodge, enjoyed an early musical treat when he visited rehearsals to present Voices Together with the cheque.

Voices Together

“Having listened to Voices Together rehearse, I know the audience will love watching A Festival of Song. The show finale will involve about 200 people from all five choirs coming onto the stage and singing together – it should be quite spectacular.

“It’s always a pleasure for Farnham Town Council to support worthwhile groups and activities like this with a grant. The net proceeds from the event will be donated to Melanoma UK so please do buy a ticket,” says the Mayor.

Catherine Johnson from Voices Together Community Choir says: “We couldn’t put on the show without this grant. The £1,500 has paid for the hire of the venue, lighting, sound and other costs so we very much appreciate the support from Farnham Town Council. We are also grateful to the Farnham Institute for giving us a grant which has gone towards the cost of buying music for all the choirs. Please support us and enjoy our show by coming to the performance in July.”

The event will take place on Saturday 2 July at Princes Hall, Aldershot. Tickets are available by contacting the Princes Hall box at

Farnham Town Council provides community grants ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand to local organisations. Visit its website to find out more and how to apply,

Visit to find out more about Voices Together.

Fancy some balsam bashing to save us from alien invaders?

July is Invasive Species Month and Surrey’s wildlife needs local people’s help to win the war against problem pests that are threatening the county’s environment.

Surrey Wildlife Trust is joining forces with environment organisations, local authorities and volunteer groups across the county for a month-long campaign to tackle the problem head on.

“Invasive Species Month is all about creating awareness in local communities about what the issues are and how best to eradicate these problem pests,” said Glen Skelton, Surrey Wildlife Trust’s RiverSearch Co-ordinator.

“One area’s invasive species soon become another’s by travelling along our rivers, roads and rail networks,” added Glen. “We want to create a network of community groups across the whole of Surrey which systematically tackle the ever increasing presence of some of these invasive species along our rivers and wetlands. We hope that by collaborating with groups on a county scale, we stand some chance of getting on top of this problem.”

Surrey has more than its fair share of invasive species and here are the Trust’s top five most wanted alien invaders:


Mink – American Mink escaped from UK fur farms in the 1950s and quickly became established in the wild. These active predators kill many of our native wild creatures, including the water vole, which is now extinct in Surrey.

Signal Crayfish – Introduced to the UK in 1976 and now present in many of Surrey’s waterways. This North American invader is a voracious predator, feeding on fish, frogs, invertebrates and plants. As a carrier of crayfish plague, the signal crayfish is a major threat to our smaller native white clawed species.

Glen with a Signal Crayfish


Himalayan Balsam – Tall pink flowering plant introduced to the UK in 1839 and now a familiar sight on Surrey’s waterways. It smothers smaller native plants and its roots can erode riverbanks. Each plant produces almost 1,000 seeds, which explode out into the water, spreading the problem downstream.

Himalayan Balsam bashing


Demon Shrimp – From south east Europe, this non-native shrimp is a voracious predator and has a varied diet, including our native freshwater shrimps, young fish, fish eggs and insect larvae. Highly invasive in freshwater and now present in the Wey navigation.

Quagga Mussel – This freshwater mollusc spreads rapidly and will smother and kill our native mussels, block water pipes and foul boat hulls. Originating from south east Europe, the mussels have been found in the River Wraysbury in Staines.

A series of work parties to mark Invasive Species Month are being run by the Trust and partner organisations in July. Volunteers can sign up to help target invasive plants such as Himalayan balsam, ragwort and bracken – events are being held across Surrey, from Woking to Wisley and Farnham to Leatherhead.

“Himalayan balsam might look pretty but it is actually pretty awful stuff – it shades out our native plants which are vital for bees and its roots can damage riverbanks,” added Glen.

“Our aim is to empower people across the whole county to get out and do their bit in the fight against these alien invaders and ‘balsam bashing’ is a great way to start!”

Find your nearest work party by visiting If you belong to a community group and would like to run a task with your group to eradicate an invasive species in your area, contact Glen by emailing:


Churcher’s student Libby shortlisted for Saatchi prize

A Churcher’s College student has been shortlisted for a prestigious art award.

Libby Gervais’s artwork ‘Untitled Self’ has been shortlisted for the 2017 Saatchi Gallery Art Prize for Schools.

The Prize received more than 24,000 entries from 66 different countries, where only 20 works are shortlisted.

An exhibition of the 20 shortlisted works will take place July 4-13 at the Saatchi Gallery, London. The winner and runner up prizes will be announced at 7pm on July 4 at an awards evening.

This year’s judging panel consisted of Alice Anderson, Artist; Alistair Hicks, Writer and Curator; Nigel Hurst, CEO of the Saatchi Gallery; Megan Piper, Gallerist and Founder of The Line; Dea Vanagan, Curator and Director, Hauser & Wirth Somerset.     The winning school has the opportunity to win £15,000 for their art department and the winning student getting £3,000 with a further £1,000 to another student to spend on computer equipment.

Libby Gervais was 17 at the time of completing the painting as part of her Art coursework at school. She is now is a Sixth Form student at Churcher’s in Petersfield.

Libby said: “This painting was produced as a part of a project at school on the theme of ‘Self’. It is the result of a culmination of smaller drawings, paintings and photographs which were produced as preparatory studies. I wanted the self portrait to show something of the person that I am at this stage in my life. The title ‘Untitled Self’ reflects the transitionary stage I feel I am in, where/as the development of my sense of self is not complete, but very much still in progress. Part of this is my creative journey, which is about to move to another stage as I leave school and embark on a course at London College Of Fashion.

“The title also works as an antithesis to the current trend of the ‘selfie’ which has become embedded in our recent culture. The pose is also carefully considered as I wanted to do something that engaged the viewer but also says something about my personality. I am very excited about being short – listed and feel it is a great honour.”

Al Saralis, Head of Art at Churcher’s College, said: “We are delighted that Libby has been recognised by the Saatchi Gallery and an expert judging panel.

“Beating off so many international competitors and being one of only 11 UK finalists, is testament to Libby’s talent and her phenomenal self-portrait.

“Libby is one of many talented Art students here at Churcher’s, and it is incredibly rewarding to see them grow beyond school.  Our A Level course is Fine Art based, which I believe gives the platform for students to flourish in any creative area they may wish to pursue.  Libby is, in fact, about to embark on a Degree in Fashion Marketing at London College of Fashion.”


Owl and Pussycat themed event for Churcher’s new Nursery

Honoured guests and nursery staff


Churcher’s College held a nursery celebration event recently, entitled ‘The Owl & The Pussycat Friends & Family Afternoon’.

The Nursery is themed around the nursery rhyme “The Owl and The Pussycat” connecting nicely with  Churcher’s College’s nautical history. The older children are the Owls and the very youngest are the Pussycats.

The event was a great success with a cake competition with more than 100 entries judged by BBC Bake Off finalist, Miranda Gore Browne.  There were winners and runners up in all age categories, plus a Star Baker prize for the best overall winner.

In addition, special guest Wisdom, a Barn Owl, attended with Kim Boog-Penman from the Barn Owl Project Hampshire & Bird Of Prey Hospital based in Ropley.  All proceeds from the day went to this wonderful local charity.

BOPH owl and bird of prey rescue charity

The notable dignitaries attending were: Cllr. Lynn Evans – Chair of East Hampshire District Council; Cllr. David Evans – Consort to Chair, East Hampshire District Council; and Hilary Ayer – Deputy Town Mayor.

In addition there were several Churcher’s College Governors, including the Chair, Michael Gallagher, plus many other special guests and local businessmen, parents and pupils. Everyone enjoyed the glorious weather picnicking in the grounds after the festivities.

Churcher’s College Nursery is in the grounds of the Junior School near Liphook.

The bright and airy building has been newly-designed and purpose-built to offer a wide range of exciting and stimulating learning areas; this includes a bespoke kitchen with a low bench for children’s cooking, a dedicated story and role-play corner, literacy and numeracy zones, areas for investigative and imaginative challenges, beautiful outdoor spaces and access to the Junior School facilities including the halls, library and ICT suite.  Home cooked food and healthy snacks are served daily to the children.

The Nursery is open during term time from 8.00am to 4.30pm (4pm on Friday), welcoming children from the age of two years nine months (during the term in which they turn three).

See to find out more.



Haslemere Comedy Festival is launched

The Haslemere Fringe is delighted to announce the launch of the first ever Haslemere Comedy Festival on Sunday, July 9, from midday until late, curated by local MC and stellar professional comedian, Andy Stedman.
This event is taking place at seven popular venues in Haslemere, with many of the venues offering drinks/bars on site and money off vouchers:
Haslewey Community Centre (12.30-6.30pm with a BBQ lunch – 120 max)
Haslemere Hall (7.30-10pm – 350 max)
Dylan’s Ice Cream Parlour – Family friendly and a wide range of free children’s entertainment (1-5pm – 30 max)
ST Engineering (St. Christopher’s Green, 2-7pm – 50 max)
The Station House Restaurant & Bar (2-7pm – 30 max)
Headcase Barbers, Haslemere High Street (1-6pm – 20 max)
Haslemere Museum ( – 70 max)
More than 35 professional comedians – the majority of them making a pitstop in Haslemere before appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe – will be appearing, including Mike Gunn, Andrew Ryan, Matt Richardson, Stephen Grant and Jonny Awsum (who recently appeared to great acclaim alongside Ant & Dec on Britain’s Got Talent).

Tickets are strictly for comedy fans over 14 years old – with the exception of the free children’s entertainment event at Dylan’s Ice Cream Parlour on Wey Hill – and are available from Haslemere Hall (01428 642161 or online at – or from the other six venues listed.

Tickets are £12 per person for the entire Festival.
Pick up your Comedy Festival wristbands, needed to gain entry to the venues, (but not the free session at Dylan’s), from the new Haslemere Hub next door to Haslemere Station on Saturday  July 8 or on the Festival day itself – Sunday, July 9. This will get you into all the venues and the accompanying Comedy Festival Flyer means you can plan and choose where, when and who you want to watch throughout the Festival event.
Comedy Festival flyers will also be available in advance from Haslemere Hall, the Haslemere Hub and the other six venues.
Tickets are limited to just 650 in total for the entire event – so plan your Comedy Festival journey around the venues in advance. Seats are on a first come, first served basis.
For more detailed information on the Festival comedians and venues go to

   Children’s entertainment at Dylan’s
Mike Gunn