You shall go out with joy

What a joy to be at St Mark’s at the end of April as the congregation celebrated St Mark’s Day.

Usually I would be at St John’s in the choir on a Sunday morning, but on this occasion – not feeling my best, and needing a ‘lie in’ – I decided to go ‘up the hill’ to church.

How often would we be starting a service outside, planting Hellebores? And, appropriately, singing a couple of verses of All Things Bright and Beautiful. NOT one of my favourite hymns as it happens, but oh so appropriate to be singing ‘each little flower that opens, each little bird that sings’, accompanied by Bob on his fiddle.

Back inside, Lesley Shatwell took the service and we were reminded of the few things known about Mark the Evangelist. We also discovered that he is the Patron Saint of Venice and wondered how it would be if Hale were to be twinned with Venice!!

This lovely informal service finished with us ‘going out with joy, as the trees of the fields clap their hands’ and for those able to stay, there was a slice of cake to be had with coffee, to celebrate our church’s Patron Saint.

Gillian Geraghty

Saving ‘Emily’ the organ

As readers of this blog probably know, ‘Emily’ is a pipe organ who lives at St Mark’s and she is 103 years old and getting more than a bit doddery. However, the good news for organs is they can be overhauled and be as good as new. The organ has over 500 pipes that need attention, as well as the complex mechanisms that turn pressing keys into making the pipes play. It is very labour-intensive, but if we raise the money then Emily will back on her feet and sounding wonderful for another 50 years.

Which brings me to the money! The overall cost to restore Emily is £23,000, and we have had some generous donations, a wonderful concert and a very enjoyable evening when the Farnham Town Crier performed ‘A Christmas Carol’ single-handedly. This has raised £1,900. In addition, people have sponsored pipes and stops, raising £500.

Specsavers have been very generous, giving out leaflets about ‘Emily’ and we are one of their twenty chosen charities this year, which celebrates 20 years of opening. Sir Ray Tindle has also been generous, offering to promote all of our events in the Farnham Herald in order to raise the money.

So there is £21,600 left to go – feels like a big target, but these are the next steps.

We are applying to grant-making bodies to see if they might help. So far we have applied to eleven trusts, six currently have no money, one has suggested another fund, one has been quite warm about us taking the application further and three are yet to respond. There are another three trusts we can apply to, although one of them requires us to have half the money committed before we do.

We have two events planned in the near future, they are:

  • Daytime organ recital on Thursday 2nd June at 2pm at St Mark’s Church, where our organist, Frances Whewell will play.
  • Kipling Evening, where the Farnham Town Crier will dress as the poet and recite his well-loved works – date TBA but likely to be Friday 8th July

Please support these events if you can – so far the events have had a fabulous, warm community feeling and I was pleased that we put them on whether we raised money or not!

If you would like to sponsor a pipe or a stop please let me know – or 01252 820537