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: [email protected]


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.



Petersfield Youth Theatre summer workshops

Petersfield Youth Theatre is offering five-day summer workshops to both members and non-members in August.

Summer Fun for 5- to 10-year-olds involves three workshops each day led by professional theatre practitioners.

Summer Stage It for 11- to 14-year-olds involves musical theatre, working with a Director/Choreographer and a Musical Director. You will work towards a presentation for family and friends on the final day.

The summer school will be held at Bedales School, Steep, August 21-25, 10am-3pm. The cost for PYT members is £85, non-members £105.

See for more details and to book.

Official opening of Edward Thomas Study Centre in Petersfield

Saturday, June 10, 2017 may become known as the day the literary critic and poet Edward Thomas ‘came home’ to Steep and Petersfield.

Just over 100 years since, in a letter to his friend Gordon Bottomley, he wrote on  October 2, 1916: “I have just seen Steep for the last time” as he took the train from Petersfield to their new home at High Beech, near Loughton in Essex (just over six months later he was killed in action on April 9, 1917 at the start of the Battle of Arras).

This ended a 10-year association with Petersfield, but the literary connection has never been lost, and a wonderful Study Day, with a stellar line-up of speakers and readers, was crowned with a moving tribute to Tim Wilton-Steer and the official opening of the Edward Thomas Study Centre at Petersfield Museum.

Opening of Study Centre – Lucy Milner (Thomas’s great grandaughter); Jamie Matthes (Town Mayor); Hilary, Christopher, A J and Charlotte Wilton-Steer); Julia Maxted (Thomas’s great niece); Jeremy Mitchell. Photographs by Michel Focar

The Study Centre, a collaboration between Petersfield Museum and the Edward Thomas Fellowship, is based on a most important collection of 1800 books by and about Edward Thomas put together by the late Tim Wilton-Steer during his lifetime and donated to the Fellowship by his widow Hilary following his death in 2011.

Prior to the tribute and opening, the 170 attendees to the Study Day, which was held in St Peter’s Church owing to demand for places, were treated to a full programme of readings and presentations by Edward Thomas specialists, actors, poets and authors who have been inspired by Thomas’s work.

Hilary Wilton-Steer cutting the ribbon to open the Study Centre, with Lucy Milner

These included Michael Longley, considered to be amongst Ireland’s most prominent poets, his wife Edna, Professor Emerita of English at Queens University Belfast, Richard Emeny, Chairman of the Fellowship and widely respected ‘Thomas specialist’, Guy Cuthbertson, Professor of English at Liverpool Hope University, and Matthew Hollis who rounded off the ‘Study’ part of the day with an engaging and professionally delivered talk on Thomas’s ‘Path to Poetry, Path to War’.

Readings were provided by the actor Edward Petherbridge and by Petersfield’s local author Michelle Magorian. Amongst the most moving, however, were the readings delivered with full feeling and from memory by another actor, Tom Durham, who enraptured the audience.

The event culminated in a moving eulogy to Tim Wilton-Steer delivered by his son Christopher, followed by a few words from Tim’s widow, Hilary, before the family party moved over to Petersfield Museum for the formal opening of the Study Centre.

The day ended with a tour of the museum and tea and cakes in St Peter’s Hall.

For many attendees it was the first time they had visited Petersfield and for almost a third the first time they had been introduced to Edward Thomas.

In summing up the day, Jeremy Mitchell, on behalf of both Petersfield Museum and the Edward Thomas Fellowship, said: “It was a truly wonderful, and moving day enjoyed by all and I would also like to thank the South Downs National Park Authority, East Hampshire District Council and Petersfield Town Council for their financial support which helped make the day so successful.”

Michelle Magorian
Tom Durham 



Edward Thomas

Edward Thomas was a renowned poetry and literary critic who turned to writing poetry late in life. Over a 20-month period from December 1914 he wrote 144 poems, that we know of, including two of the Nation’s favourites – Adelstrop and As the teams head brass. He and his family lived in Steep from 1906 – 1916 and he wrote his first poem Up In The Wind at The Pub With No Name (The White Horse) at Priors Dean.

Petersfield Museum is open between March and the end of November on Tuesdays – Saturdays inclusive between 10am and 4pm. It is an independent, accredited Museum and receives no statutory funding. A small admission charge of £3 is payable (children free).

The Edward Thomas Study Centre is currently located in temporary space (pending completion of the Museum’s re-development in 2021) outside public areas. From mid-July it will be open to visitors, by appointment, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons between 2pm and 4pm. It is primarily a research and reference resource and will be open at other times to students and researchers by appointment.






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.


Surefire hit for Petersfield Theatre Group

Annie Get Your Gun (Petersfield Theatre Group)

Festival Hall, Petersfield

Friday, May 26

They certainly rolled up for PTG’s latest show, Annie Get Your Gun, by Irving Berlin, directed by Roger Wettone. The true story of gun totin’ Annie Oakley was a surefire winner for Petersfield audiences, who packed the Festival Hall.

The story follows rough and ready country gal Annie who uses her gun to shoot game, to support her little brother and sisters. Her skills bring her to the attention of Colonel Buffalo Bill, who invites her to join his travelling Wild West Show. There’s a romance, of course, this being a musical – enter rival sharp shooter Frank Butler. But of course, it ain’t easy being eclipsed by a woman, and tension ensues. But it all comes good in the end, in a final shootout.

It’s not quite feminism but bearing in mind the time it’s set and was written, it gives a strong woman the title role, as well as a bit of US folk history.

The two leads were excellent – Suzie Dove as Annie and Elliott Port as Frank. Suzie has a beautifully fluid voice, soaring to extraordinary heights without ever sounding strained or harsh. Her expressive face and irrepressible cheeriness won the audience over immediately – a lovely performance.

Elliott also gave a strong, likeable performance, commanding the stage. He has a warm, easy-to-listen-to singing voice and can dance, too – romantic lead material in spades.

The three youngsters playing Annie’s siblings – Georgie Gardner-Cliff, Bethany Hickey and little sprite Max Merricks were very engaging and obviously having the time of their lives, with broad cheeky smiles on their grubby little faces.

John Edwards as Buffalo Bill really looked the part, all white bewhiskered and fringed jacket. Jo Stephenson as Dolly looked incredibly glamorous in her costumes and brought a bit of her panto stepmother nastiness to the character. Emma Read was great as Dolly’s sister Winnie – I hope to see her in a lead role again in the future. And Joe Dove, straight from picking up a main part in Winton Players’ last production at the last minute, gave it his all as Winnie’s intended, Tommy.

Simon Stanley as Buffalo Bill’s right hand man, Charlie, gave an assured performance, keeping the pace up and pulling scenes together in a subtle yet essential way. Stage experience shows.

Tim Coyte as Sitting Bull worked really hard to maintain dignity without letting his performance become too comedic. I do feel uncomfortable about the portrayal of native Americans in this show. It’s very easy to veer into panto territory, making them caricatures. How would the audience have taken someone ‘blacking up’ to play an African American, I wonder? Sitting Bull has some sardonic lines, giving us a small window into attitudes towards ‘Red Indians’ at that time. But it’s a tricky thing to get right, and I think this element needed a bit more careful handling. But Tim did a good job, despite this.

The ensemble pieces were beautifully sung – as always for PTG. The group contains some great voices, and when combined, the sound could take the roof off!

Quieter moments, too, were delicately done –  Moonshine Lullaby was genuinely touching.

The big top set was good with its red and white drapes (looked familiar, somehow…!) and the moveable set pieces such as the boat and the train worked really well.

The band was very versatile, and being at the back of the stage meant it was part of the action but didn’t drown out the cast. I could hear every word onstage.

Standout moments for me definitely include Anything You Can Do – great fun. And There’s No Business like Showbusiness was being hummed by everyone as they left the theatre. Indeed there is not.

Kat Wootton

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.

First open gardens event for village of Liss

Liss Community Association is delighted to announce its first Open Gardens event which will take place on Sunday, June 25, from 11am – 5pm.

Nineteen gardens will be open across the village and visitors will be able to hop on and off a dedicated shuttle bus, which will be on hand all day, to ensure they get to visit all of the beautiful gardens.  The Triangle Centre will be open and serving  refreshments including sandwiches, homemade cakes, hot and cold drinks and Pimm’s.

You can stroll around in large formal gardens with wide sweeping lawns or enjoy smaller gardens bustling with ideas and inspiration for your own garden. Riverside locations, cottage gardens, ponds, formal vegetable and herb gardens, rose gardens and beautiful terraced lawns are open to discover.

The children of Liss are encouraged to get involved with this event and have been invited to design their own mini garden in a tub/container of their choice. The gardens should be brought down to the Triangle Centre by 11am on June 25, where they will be judged by members of the Horticultural Society.  The gardens will then be on display for all of the visitors to admire at The Triangle.  Local gardening celebrity Peter Catt will be conducting the official opening ceremony and be on hand to answer any gardening questions.

Programmes cost £5 and will be available from The Triangle Centre from the end of May, along with shuttle bus tickets which cost £2.