Find friendship in Farnham with the Oddfellows society

The importance of friendship in helping us lead happier and healthier lives was celebrated at an event organised in Farnham by members of the Oddfellows Friendly Society, as part of the organisation’s nationwide Friendship Month.

People attending the event, which was held at the Mercure Farnham Bush Hotel, enjoyed a selection of finger sandwiches with a variety of teas, as well as a raffle which raised money for the Arthritis Matters and Fibromyalgia Support Group charities.

“It was a great success; our members were able to catch up over tea and cakes and we were joined by a couple of people who hadn’t been to one of our events before, so everyone made them very welcome,” said Jane Nicole, Branch Secretary of the local Concord Branch of the Oddfellows, which organised the event.

“We had a fantastic spread of ages, from nine months to 92 years old, and it was great to see people of all ages enjoying themselves together.”

The event, on September 24, was held as part of the Oddfellows’ Friendship Month campaign, which ran nationally throughout September as a way of bringing communities closer together by hosting a variety of fun events all over the UK.

More than nine million people of all ages in the UK say they are lonely either often or always, according to research by The Co-Op and the Red Cross. The Oddfellows believe that friendship is the answer, helping people lead happier and healthier lives with the support of friends around them.

Research published by Michigan State University in June found cultivating good-quality friendships is beneficial in raising self-esteem and buffering against stress. The study found that people with supportive friends reported lower rates of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Joining the Oddfellows is a great way to make new friends. The Concord branch holds an informal ‘Together for Tea’ event in the café at High Cross Church, Camberley, between 2-4pm on the fourth Friday of each month. The branch is also interested in organising regular meetings in the Farnham area, if you would be interested please contact either Branch Secretary Jane Nicole on 01276 66868 or Branch Development & Events Organiser, Kristen Reid at [email protected].

The branch will also be holding a pub quiz at the Ely Hotel in London Road, Blackwater, Camberley, at 7pm on Wednesday, November 1. Anyone interested in attending should contact Kristen Reid using the email address above.


Members of the Oddfellows Friendly Society celebrate friendship at an afternoon tea event at the Mercure Farnham Bush Hotel

Petersfield Round Table supports Oaks play scheme

The Oaks Playscheme, a small local charity providing a holiday playscheme for children with disabilities and special needs, is thrilled to have the support of Petersfield Round Table.

Chairman Paul Baker and colleagues came and visited The Oaks Playscheme during the summer holiday playscheme to present a cheque for a whopping £1,500.

Kim and her dedicated team accepted the cheque along with some of the children and together they will decide just how to spend this money.

The Oaks Playscheme has been running in Petersfield for 20 years and provides a safe, fun and caring place for children, aged three to 11 years, with disabilities and additional needs.

Angharad Snow said: “The charity relies on the support of local groups and businesses to help fund the activities that provide wonderful experiences for the children who come to The Oaks. Visits from a dedicated musical therapist, local farms, donkey rides and travelling theatre groups would just not be possible without the generosity of other charities like Petersfield Round Table and on behalf of all the children and staff we’d like to say THANK YOU!”

Call 01730 261866 or 07796 134724 or see the website to find out more.


Ladies charity style evening at Haslewey

Three local ladies are organising a Style Evening at Haslewey, Haslemere, to raise money and awareness of Walk the Walk, a breast cancer grant making charity, most well known for organising the MoonWalks in London.

The event on Friday, September 8 will include a presentation by a professional image consultant and stylist, and makeup tips, tricks and demonstrations by local experts. There will also be free make overs and consultations, reflexology tasters, and a number of local businesses will be supporting the event showcasing their products and services. The evening will be fun and informal, and ladies of all ages are welcome. Tickets are £10 which includes a glass of Prosecco and are available directly from Haslewey or by emailing [email protected]

If you are not able to attend the event but would like to sponsor the ladies for their Arctic Marathon, please visit

Would-be Wildings can head to Surrey Hills

A group of twelve young people aged 13-16 took part in an exciting wilderness expedition this summer, in  the Surrey Hills.

The group, brought together by the Leatherhead Youth Project, experienced two days of self-led navigation across 15km of Surrey Hills terrain, undertaking ‘wild’ camping and& cooking to complete the very first ‘Into the Wild’ expedition.

Oli Bell, Senior Youth Worker for the Leatherhead Youth Project said: “I’m so delighted with the success of this first ‘Into the Wild’ expedition. Watching this group of young people move away from their comfort zones, challenge themselves and come together as a team was inspirational. The aim of the exhibition was to provide each of them with a wilderness experience which would teach them lessons about themselves, each other and the world they live in.”

The group set off from Westcott, with a small amount of equipment to see them through the next few days. The 15km trek took them up into the heart of Winterfold Forest where youth workers led some reflective exercises with them including a 20-minute silent walk.

Oli said: “The silent walk proved a challenge to some of the group as many of them were used to constant noise and entertainment. Being silent for 20 minutes allowed them to experience nature in a new way, listening to noises and looking around them.”

The group successfully navigated their way through the woodlands of the Surrey Hills, eventually setting up camp at 7pm. Despite being exhausted from a full day of exercise and fresh air, the group set up survival hammocks, strung between the trees, and set about starting a campfire from flint in order to cook their evening meal.

The next morning the group packed up and set off on their trek again, taking in the views of the Surrey Hills landscape and bonded by their shared experience.

This ‘Into the Wild’ two day expedition was made possible by a grant from the Surrey Hills Trust Fund, Leatherhead Community Association and Community Foundation for Surrey.

As part of the expedition young people achieved the John Muir Award, an outdoor award based on the foundations of exploration, discovery, conservation and sharing experiences.

The Surrey Hills Trust Fund, established in partnership with the Community Foundation for Surrey, aims to help local communities enjoy the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and safeguard its future for generations to come.

Neil Maltby, Chairman of the Surrey Hills Trust Fund said: “Many of the young people had never been into the Surrey Hills before and this is exactly what the Surrey Hills Trust Fund is about – encouraging everyone to respect and enjoy the countryside on their doorstep and leave with a passion to protect it. We’re delighted to have played a part in the inaugural ‘Into the Wild’ expedition and hope to see many more like it. Offering young people an experience they don’t usually get is just wonderful.”

To donate to the Surrey Hills Trust Fund, apply for a grant or for further information visit


Into the Wild experience

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 [email protected]

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

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.”

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.



Trailwalker team holds family fun day in Haslemere, June 24

A group of adventurous and big-hearted locals, Robert Bennett, Andy Connor, Iain McArthur and Pete Swatton, have dusted off their hiking boots to take on Oxfam Trailwalker, a fundraising event on South Downs Way, where teams of four walk 100 kilometres in less than 30 hours to challenge themselves and challenge poverty.

Local team, Strolling Under the Influence, has already started training for the walk and raising funds to support Oxfam and The Gurkha Welfare Trust. The team has organised a family fun day on the June 24 at the Apple Tree in Haslemere to give fundraising a boost and would encourage everyone to come along and join us.

Trailwalker team

“We decided to enter Trailwalker in January,” said team member Andy. “None of us have done anything like this but somehow Robert managed to persuade us and now we’re really looking forward to it.”

“The family fun day at the Apple Tree will be a great day,” said Pete. “There will be a BBQ, a bouncy castle, face painting and some spectacular music from Martin Harley, Ukejam, Slack Maverick and more.”

Oxfam Trailwalker will take place on July 29 and 30, starting at Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield. While physically challenging, you don’t have to be ultra-fit to enter.

“Our training routine involves lots of walking but like many of the other participants we’re not athletes – we’re out to have fun, challenge ourselves and raise money for Oxfam’s work while we’re at it,” said Iain.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the four of us to do this together” agreed Robert. “We’ve all had to take time away from our families, work and commitments to train for this so we’ll be giving it our best shot.”

To support the team head along to the Apple Tree on June 24 from 1pm or visit their fundraising page on . You can also donate using your phone by texting SUTI65 £10 to 70070 to donate £10.


Brook Village Fete has traditional family fun

Monday, May 29 marks the 71st annual Brook Village Fete, (sponsored by local independent boarding and day school King Edward’s Witley); one of the most popular and longest-running village festivals in southern England.

This year, the event will be officially opened by Jane Vlach, Vicar of All Saints Church in Witley on Bank Holiday Monday, at 1pm, on the picturesque village green opposite the Dog and Pheasant Pub.  In keeping with the spirit of this time- honoured and renowned local tradition, the emphasis remains on good old-fashioned family entertainment with a broad choice of attractions, designed to provide something of interest for everyone.

This represents the third year that the event is sponsored by King Edward’s Witley, whose pupils and staff play an active role in publicising the fete, as well as providing some much-needed man power on the day itself. The 71st village fete looks set to deliver yet another fun-packed day out, offering a host of activities and games for children of all ages, in addition to a large number of stalls showcasing a variety of produce.  The legendary dog show which always attracts an eclectic assortment of entries is destined to be a crowd- puller, along with the various fairground rides, shooting gallery, hook-a-duck, bash-the-rat, face painting, lucky dip, plate smashing and coconut shy on offer.

The competitive spirit will no doubt be very much in evidence, from the closely-fought children’s races to the tug-of-war competition featuring teams from local firemen, local villagers and the Brook Cricket Club.

Vintage car enthusiasts will be in their element, admiring the display of super classy and ultra-stylish classic cars and Godalming’s very own dance troupe – the Fleur de Lys Morris Dancers – will be on hand to demonstrate some traditional folk dance moves.

Other attractions include the plant stall, jewellery stalls, crafts, ladies clothing, bags and scarves. Inside Pirrie Hall there will be the usual huge selection of bric-a-brac for the bargain hunter, as well as many hundreds of second-hand books, children’s toys and games.  Donations for these and for the tombola can be made beforehand and over the bank holiday weekend by phoning the Fete Organiser on 01428 288835 or emailing [email protected].

No-one attending the fete is likely to go hungry, as there is a tempting array of culinary treats to choose from, including the mouth-watering barbecue, tea tent, homemade cakes stall and Pimms Tent, together with stalls selling sweets, popcorn, ice-cream and candyfloss.  Visitors will also be encouraged to try their luck at the tombola, while the Grand Draw Raffle will see winners take home a fabulous range of prizes.

Fete organisers are appealing to local residents for their support, as all the money raised is vital to the maintenance of Pirrie Hall and its grounds, which host the well-known cricket club, tennis club, nursery school, children’s playground and other highly valued local community clubs and activities. Pirrie Hall is a registered charity that receives no outside funding.