C’etait Fantastique – A French Holiday at St Mark’s

Wendy Edwards reports on the parish’s first Holiday-at-Home.

With restrictions eased, the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale believed that a French Song Cure in a Covid-safe environment was needed!

At St. Mark’s Church on Saturday, 7th August, 70 people braved the English weather, sporting their berets and strings of onions, to revel in a French Holiday-at-Home with company, croissants, coffee, lunch, holiday slideshow and raffle.

‘Fantastique! and ‘Incroyable!’ (incredible) were comments received afterwards. There was also musical entertainment, with many talented performers giving their skills for free, Fleet U3A Ukulele band, Cajun Boogaloo, Wendy Edwards, Olivia Jasper, Roger Sanders and Lesley Shatwell, Mary Klymenko, and the Parish Choir, all performing French songs from several eras, some in French.

A total of £553 was raised for the St. John’s Tower and Youth/Community Hub. Thanks everyone for donations of money, raffle prizes, time, skills, and energy.

One classic World War 1 song was Roses of Picardy by Haydn Wood (1882-1959). Wendy Edwards, organiser, contacted Marjorie Cullerne, Haydn Wood’s great-niece, in Toronto. Marjorie sent Wendy a 100-year-old newspaper extract about Haydn Wood performing his song to cure speech-impaired, shell-shocked soldiers after World War 1.

As we start emerging from a worldwide pandemic, singing Roses of Picardy again as a Song Cure, for our Covid 19 separation, seems most appropriate.

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