Godalming’s spring festival is on April 7

Godalming Town Council’s annual Spring Festival will be celebrating the delights of the new season with an inspiring day out in Godalming. On Saturday, April 7 between 10am-5pm, visitors will be able to discover handmade items by creative craftspeople and enjoy a mouth-watering array of artisan street food, drink and produce from hand-picked local producers.

This year’s Spring Festival is set to be a real treat with live music and entertainment at Godalming’s iconic Pepperpot. Punch & Judy shows, children’s activities and a ride on the popular Dobby Horse Carousel will all be on offer in Church Street to keep the children amused.

A wide variety of stalls including gifts, jewellery, fashion accessories and crafts will be found throughout the town centre as well as the Cider festival at The Star in Church Street. Godalming’s shops, hostelries and the Godalming Museum will be open to visitors. Godalming’s own Fleur de Lys Morris Dancers will be performing for your delight during the day and of course, no spring festival would be complete without a traditional hog roast, which you will find on the High Street.

For more information go www.godalming-tc.gov.uk/spring-festival/

CHURCHER’S – YOU ROCK!

REVIEW – School of Rock

Churcher’s College, Petersfield

Wednesday, April 21

Churcher’s pupils proved they are Petersfield’s School of Rock, as they air-guitared and fist-pumped their way through this musical.

Based on the Linklater film starring Jack Black, the stage show of School of Rock was created by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Julian Fellowes (yes, of Downton Abbey fame – who’d have thought??)  Different music to the film but the plot is the same – eternal slacker Dewey, kicked out of his band and kipping at his friend Ned’s place, is a failed wannabe rock star. He’s broke, he can’t get into Battle of the Bands and he’s definitely not flavour of the month with Ned’s girlfriend as he hasn’t paid the rent yet again.

Oliver Fogelin as Dewey is engaging and talented; I suspect, not at all a slacker in real life. Great performance.
In the show, Dewey pretends to be Ned, a supply teacher, and takes a job at a smart prep school which prides itself on tradition, discipline and academic success. Dewey shocks the pupils with his don’t care attitude to grades and timetables and he’s on his way to being found out when he discovers the children are musically gifted. He teaches them rock history, swaps the cello for a bass and piano for some prog keyboards and hey presto – he has a band!

In the process of course, he gives them the freedom to express their feelings. The boy who likes Streisand, reads Vogue and is oppressed by his football-mad dad, gets to be the band’s stylist (Jackson Wilks – take a bow; you are superb). The girl who never speaks proves to have a golden singing voice (Milly Greenall – well done!). Zack whose dad wants him to be an academic success so he doesn’t get stuck in a poorly-paid job just wants to be a rock guitarist (Roscoe Davey – devil’s horns to you, sir).

There’s a very moving song from the children in the first act, where they explain the pressure they’re under from parents. If Only You Would Listen is a plea to be seen and heard, and I had a lump in my throat when these diminutive lower school pupils turned to the audience and showed their vulnerability in the song.

The big, catchy number is Stick It to the Man – the rock anthem in which Dewey teaches the kids to break out and rebel.  What do you do when “parents overwork ya” or they’re “all up in your Facebook” or make you eat “gluten-free vegan snack foods”? You “stick it to the man”, the man being your parents, your teacher, your boss… any figure of authority preventing you from being yourself. It was lovely watching the kids let go and leap around the stage. It left everyone smiling and humming the tune in the interval.

Of course, the children aren’t the only ones who are trapped in their lives, needing rock to free them. As the put-upon Ned, Harry Marden has the audience’s sympathy, waiting until his girlfriend Patty (played with confidence by Ruby Hall) is out of the house, before playing Guitar Hero and rocking out on the sofa.

Matilda Shapland plays the head teacher Miss Mullins, who needs to take off her specs and indulge her passion for Stevie Nicks (I loved the little scene as she hums along to Fleetwood Mac on her headphones in her office). Her Queen of the Night aria in the music class was incredible – Matilda has starred in West End musicals and it’s easy to see why from this performance.

There were so many fantastic performances in this show – from the band perched above the stage to the smallest of the performers rocking out front. It’s a big, warm-hearted show about freedom of expression – and Churcher’s totally nailed it.

Well done director and choreographer Stacey Carty, musical director Helen Purchase, production manager Chris Pellet and the many, many backstage crew and enthusiastic cast. You rock!

Kat Wootton

Vintage tea at Blenheim Court raised money for Liss Triangle

Blenheim Court Care Home welcomed visitors on Friday, March 9, when it hosted an afternoon vintage high tea. Money raised from the event has been donated to the Triangle Community Centre in Liss.

The staff team delighted in welcoming the guests, who were treated to delicious homemade pastries, cakes and refreshments in the sun filled bistro and bar, freshly made by the home’s head chef.

Guests attending the event had the opportunity to tour the home including the cinema, music room and beauty salon as well as individual rooms and facilities.

General Manager Lee Houston said: It’s wonderful to be able to host these events and give something back to the Triangle Centre, particularly as they have been so supportive to us throughout the last year.”

For more information about Blenheim Court Care Home and the upcoming events please contact Lee Houston General Manager on 01730 606530 or email manager@blenheim-court.com

Book now for Easter holiday fun from the RAPP van

A cracking Easter holiday is in store for youngsters across East Hampshire as the Rural Areas Play Project (RAPP) and Get Activ8d schemes are back to provide ‘egg-citing’ activities over the two-week break.

The Easter holidays are nearly here and children, parents and grandparents from around the district are set to have great fun at the two schemes organised by East Hampshire District Council.

The two-week Easter Holiday programme runs from Tuesday, April 2 to Friday, April 13, and the RAPP vans will be visiting towns and villages across East Hampshire, including Froyle, Whitehill and Bordon, Rake, Buriton, Clanfield, Selborne, Horndean, Liphook, Medstead, Lindford, Liss, Froxfield, Bentley, East Meon and Greatham.

RAPP was set up 12 years ago by East Hampshire District Council to give children up to the age of 11 (under eights must be accompanied by an adult) the opportunity to get involved in fun activities, games, adventures, workshops and meet new friends in the school holidays.

This Easter, RAPP will feature lots of Easter-themed arts and crafts sessions, as well as some samba drumming, bug hunting, balloon making, volcano ‘eggs-ploding’, plant growing, kite flying, raft building, unicorn making fun!

The full programme of activities and locations can be found here: https://www.easthants.gov.uk/rapp

Get Activ8d, which provides sporting activities to children aged seven to 14, is also back this Easter in Alton, Whitehill & Bordon, Kingsley, Blackmoor, Horndean and Petersfield.

The Get Activ8d Easter programme includes street dance, cheerleading, hula hooping, tennis, golf, gymnastics and climbing sessions.

The full programme of activities and locations can be found here: https://www.easthants.gov.uk/get-activ8d

You will be able to book online from 10am on Tuesday, March 20 through the My East Hampshire District Council portal: https://my.easthants.gov.uk/login/.

Thanks from local blogger for donations to refuge

Thanks from local blogger for donations to refuge

Blogger Jenny Bennett who writes for the online blog muminpractice.com says she has been overwhelmed by people’s generosity in response to a toy donation she posted on her Facebook page.

Jenny said: “I’d been wanting to do something special for Christmas this year, so I posted the appeal on my page asking people to buy an extra gift for the mums and children who would be spending Christmas in one of the refuges provided by the Southern Domestic Abuse Service. Some of these women have to leave life-threatening situations with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. We wanted them to know how brave we all think they are, and take the worry of presents for the children off their shoulders.”

Jenny with some of the gifts donated

She posted the appeal on Facebook and word quickly spread. Then the donations started to flood in. “I have to give a massive thank you to Sew Creative in Petersfield and the staff of Haslemere Town Council at the Town Hall who offered to be drop off points for the gifts. This wouldn’t have been possible without them,” said Jenny.

A friend’s garage was filled with treats and toys for the mums and children at the refuge and anything left over this year will be used as birthday presents for the families in 2018.

If you’d like to find out more about the appeal you can visit www.facebook.com/muminpractice for information.

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Liphook Golf Club elects first female Club Captain

On Sunday, November 5, Liphook Golf Club held its traditional ‘drive in’ by the new Ladies’ Captain and the new Club Captain, whereby they hit a ball off the first tee to mark the start of their year of office.  This year, however, it was a ‘drive in’ with a difference.

Kathryn Todd, this year’s Ladies’ Captain, drove off first, followed by the Club Captain, Jillian Howarth, the first female to be elected to the role in the club’s 95-year history. Both drives went straight down the middle which augurs well for their year in office. The Drive-In raised over £1,000 for the joint captains’ charity for 2018 – The Rosemary Foundation.

Jillian Howarth – new Liphook Golf Club Captain 2018

It’s worth noting that the Club Captain’s role at Liphook is not just a ceremonial one. During her year of office, Jillian, as Club Captain, will head up the General Committee which runs the club. She is, in effect, the Club ‘CEO’ for the year.

Jillian is Dublin born and bred. She spent over 15 years working for Aer Lingus before moving to Liphook 20 years ago with her husband Graham. Graham became a member of Liphook Golf Club in 2000 and Jillian finally decided to try her hand at golf and joined Liphook in 2003, becoming Ladies Captain in 2011. After a year off she joined the General Committee for three very successful years as Chair of Membership before being invited to become Club Vice Captain in November, 2016.

Jillian’s golf handicap has been as low as 14 but in the last few years this has been creeping up. She is hoping that a busy year of golf will help to lower it again.

After a total of five years on the General Committee, Jillian is well versed in the ways of the club and is looking forward to her Captaincy.

Historically, Liphook Golf Club had a reputation for being a bit ‘old fashioned’. Today, however, while it is proud of its traditions and values, it is a forward thinking, and a friendly, welcoming club. Jillian is the ideal Captain to continue the club’s progress as it approaches its Centenary, members agree.

Free entry for Surrey residents to Watts Gallery this Sunday

This Sunday, November 5, in partnership with Surrey County Council, Surrey residents can visit Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village for free.

The Surrey Open Day has been organised to enable residents of Surrey to discover the extraordinary Artists’ Village founded in Compton in 1890 by the great Victorian artist George Frederic Watts OM RA (1817 – 1904) and his wife, the designer Mary Watts (1849 – 1938), to provide Art for All.

On Sunday, visitors can experience Watts Gallery – currently showing an unparalleled exhibition of masterpieces by G F Watts brought together to celebrate the bicentenary of the artist’s birth; Watts Studios – in which G F Watts created many of his most important works and in which Mary Watts held terracotta modelling classes for the local community; Watts Chapel – the culmination of a visionary community art project, led by Mary Watts; Watts Contemporary – a gallery space selling affordable contemporary art with proceeds supporting Watts Gallery Trust’s Art for All learning programme; plus arts and crafts activities (also free for Surrey residents on Sunday, November 5) and refreshments and gifts on sale in the tea shop and shop.

Also this Sunday, visitors to Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village will be able to find out more about the Trust’s Physical Energy public sculpture project.  As a lasting legacy of Watts200 – a year-long programme of special exhibitions and events to mark the bicentenary of the birth of G F Watts – Watts Gallery Trust has authorised a new bronze cast of Watts’s great equestrian sculpture, Physical Energy, to stand in the public realm as a beacon of creativity in the region.   Visitors will see the original plaster model from which the new cast has been made – the model is on permanent display at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village – and will have an opportunity to hear the Trust’s plans for the project.

To enjoy free access to Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village this Sunday, Surrey residents must present a 2017 utility bill, library card or driving licence at the Visitor Centre.

Further information about the Physical Energy project can also be found by visiting Watts Gallery Trust’s website: www.wattsgallery.org.uk

 

Vote for East Hampshire’s finest sportspeople

Nominations are now open for the East Hampshire District Sports Awards 2018.

The awards recognise sportsmen and women at every level, as well as the coaches, officials and volunteers who help them succeed.

The deadline for nominations is Friday, January 5, 2018 with finalists invited to an awards evening, hosted by ITV’s Fred Dinenage, on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at Old Thorns Manor Hotel in Liphook.

The winners of the district awards will be put forward to compete for the 2018 Energise Me Hampshire and Isle of Wight Sports Awards.

Nominees are assessed by a judging panel and winners are required to meet criteria specific for each category.

Cllr Julie Butler, EHDC’s Portfolio Holder for Customer Service, said:  “If you know of anyone from East Hampshire that has excelled in their sporting environment over the last year then it is important to nominate them for an East Hampshire Sports Award.

“This is a fantastic evening of celebration that I look forward to every year.  It gives us the opportunity to give these athletes, coaches, volunteers and officials the recognition they deserve.

“We are lucky to have a vast array of talent across a variety of sports in East Hampshire and we look forward to rewarding those who give hours of dedication to be successful or support others to be successful.”

These annual prestigious awards are organised by East Hampshire District Council to publicly recognise sporting achievement in the following categories:

• Junior Sportsman & Junior Sportswoman
• Senior Sportsman & Senior Sportswoman
• Masters Sportsman & Sportswoman
• Junior Disability Sportsman & Sportswoman
• Senior Disability Sportsman & Sportswoman
• Coach of the Year (Male or Female)
• Volunteer of the Year (Junior & Senior)
• School Team of the Year
• Team of the Year (Junior & Senior)
• Service to Sport (Male or Female)
• Club of the Year
• Outstanding Personal Achievement

To download the guidance and nomination forms visit www.easthants.gov.uk/sportsawards2018

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 kristen.reid@oddfellows.co.uk.

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

Remember, remember hedgehogs in November

With fireworks night on the horizon, Surrey Wildlife Trust is appealing to all bonfire builders to think about hibernating hedgehogs when constructing and lighting their wood piles. Unfortunately bonfire night coincides with the season when small mammals are looking for cosy places to hide, which can be disastrous.

Picture by Jon Hawkins

“A stack of dry wood and leaves piled up for a bonfire might look to a hedgehog like the perfect place to overwinter and sadly we fear many animals do perish in fires every year,” said Dawn Fielding, the Trust’s Wildlife Gardening Officer.

“Gardeners love these adorable prickly creatures, as they eat bugs and slugs and are great for natural pest control. But hedgehogs are undergoing an unprecedented decline, with some experts recently warning of possible extinction within ten years! So it’s vitally important we all do what we can to protect them.”

The Trust wants bonfire night to be a safe night for all concerned – but especially hedgehogs. So it’s put together these top tips to help protect these prickly visitors:

  • Consider piling material near the site of your fire and building your bonfire just before lighting. This will give small creatures less chance to move in.
  • Check your bonfire carefully before setting it on fire and remove any small inhabitants – rehome in a safe area away from dogs or cats, such as under a hedge or large bush and well away from your bonfire.
  • If you do have to build your bonfire beforehand, consider constructing a fence around it made of chicken wire, to help deter any mammals looking for a cosy home.

Hedgehogs were voted as the UK’s national species in 2013 but since the 1950s their numbers have seen a startling 95% decline. They’re disappearing from our landscape as fast as tigers are worldwide and there are thought to be fewer than a million left in the UK.

The declining quality of hedgerows, over-management of parks and the loss of gardens to paving and decking have been partly to blame for the hedgehog’s decline. The increased use of chemicals in gardening and farming means there are fewer insects, slugs and snails for hedgehogs to eat.

Surrey Wildlife Trust is working to improve habitats for hedgehogs and trying to raise awareness of their plight. It’s launched a new ‘Adopt A Hedgehog’ pack to help support conservation work, which includes an adorable cuddly toy hedgehog, official adoption certificate and a fact sheet for £25.

The Trust has also set up a Hedgehog Hotspots campaign to survey numbers of hedgehogs in the county. Animal lovers are asked to keep an eye out for the prickly mammals and report their findings on the Trust’s website, which is hosting a map of recent sightings.

Adult hedgehogs travel up to two kilometres a night hunting for food and they need to be able to move between gardens and green spaces.  You can help them by cutting a hedgehog-sized hole in your garden fence.  Or why not build your own hedgehog house out of a wooden box or pile of logs or sticks with some warm dry straw or leaves inside?

Please don’t put bread and milk out for hedgehogs; you can make them very sick this way as they cannot digest lactose. Cat food is ideal if you want to treat them, and help little ones put on weight ready for hibernation.

The Trust is also working to conserve and create habitat for hedgehogs with its new ‘Hedgerow Heroes’ citizen science project. Volunteers are needed to help survey, monitor and conserve hedgerows and plant new ones. Why not help hedgehogs where you live by signing up as a volunteer?

For more information about all the Trust’s work to help hedgehogs, including Hedgehog AdoptionsHedgerow Heroes and Hedgehog Hotspots, visit www.surreywildlifetrust.org.