Category Archives: Children and Youth

The Farnham Poetry Competition is back and full of hope

The Farnham Poetry Competition 2023 has now opened and this year the theme is hope.

There is a children’s competition, open to under-16s, and an adult one, and entrants are asked to write a poem on the theme of hope – what gives them hope, what hope is, where we might find it, anything about hope. 

Poems should be sent by email to poetry@badshotleaandhale.org or by post to Farnham Poetry Competition, St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, Farnham, GU9 0LT, to arrive by 5pm on Friday, February 24.

 The competition is being run by the parish and is part of the Farnham Literary Festival which is being held across Farnham between March 3 and 12.

The children’s poetry competition is being judged by poet Coral Rumble and the adult one by poet Ellora Sutton.  The competition is free to enter and there will be prizes for the first prize-winners and runners-up in both categories. The winners will be announced at the poetry final evening on Saturday, March 11, at St Mark’s Church at 5pm, when there will also be an open mic for anyone to share their poetry, and the two judges will also perform their work.

Stella Wiseman, who is organising the competition on behalf of the Literary Festival, said: “We are living through extraordinarily difficult times at the moment and sometimes we can feel pretty hopeless. But there is hope around us and within us and this competition is an opportunity to explore where we might find it, what gives us hope, how we share that hope, really anything about hope.

“Last year, the poetry competition really showed the breadth of talent, ideas and sheer joy to be found in people and their writing and we really hope that this year will be the same. Please do have a go, and just enjoy yourselves writing.

“And once again we are delighted to have Coral Rumble and Ellora Sutton on board to judge the competition. They are both inspiring poets and we are honoured that they are taking part.”

Coral Rumble (left) and Ellora Sutton

Ellora Sutton is a Hampshire-based poet and museum person. She is the Creative Engagement Officer at Jane Austen’s House, and has been the Poet-in-Residence at both Jane Austen’s House and Petersfield Museum. Her work has been published in The Poetry Review, The North, bath magg, and Popshot, among others, and she reviews poetry for Mslexia. Her latest pamphlet, Antonyms for Burial, was published in 2022 by Fourteen Poems and is the Poetry Book Society‘s Spring 2023 Pamphlet Choice. She tweets @ellora_sutton, or you can find her at ellorasutton.com

Coral Rumble is a popular, award-winning poet, with five poetry collections, plus 170+ anthology contributions. The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat (picture book) was longlisted for Oscar’s Book Prize Award.

Coral won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize, 2018. Her collections have been promoted by education magazines and shortlisted for awards. Her verse novel, Little Light (2021) was a recommendation for National Poetry Day 2021, and was a chosen text for Empathy Day 2022. It has also been longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2023. Her debut novel, Jakub’s Otter will be published in 2023.

Entrants should state whether they are entering the adult or under-16 category. Adults with particular educational needs may enter the under-16s category (call 07842761919 or email for further information). 

The judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Create an Advent Wreath

Family service, with carols, for all ages – December 4th, 4pm

Come to our family service on Sunday, December 4th at 4pm at St John’s, and help us create an Advent wreath, and sing Christmas carols.

All ages are welcome at the service – not just families with children – and we need your help to create the wreath. There will be carols and prayers and it will be followed by sandwiches and cakes (see the picture below…)

Free Family Fun Day

Come and have some free fun this half-term!

Everyone is welcome at our free Family Fun Day with a free lunch which will take place on October 27, 10.30am-1pm at St Mark’s Church.

There will be crafts, music, games, table tennis and a lunch with vegetarian and meat options. There will also be a quiet area for those who prefer this and an adviser to talk to families about special needs if required.  Free of charge, donations welcome. For more information email Michelle.

Apple Day is back!

Apple Day returns to St Mark’s, Upper Hale, this Sunday (October 9) starting at 10am.

After a lull courtesy of Covid, the annual celebration of all things apple-y is returning and everyone is encouraged to bring their apples and put them in the apple press for freshly pressed apple juice. There will be apple songs and apple pie, all followed by a celebratory harvest festival service in the church with a collection for the Foodbank.

Lesley Crawley explains how the day came about: “In December 2014 we planted 11 fruit trees to create a community orchard at St Mark’s. Each tree was adopted by a different community group and all except one have thrived since they were planted.

“Our first Apple Day was in 2015 because we were so delighted that our trees were bearing fruit and so we decided to celebrate! Since then, we have celebrated every year apart from during the Covid pandemic by having apple snacks – pie this year – apple-y music and apple pressing. It is a great atmosphere with children and adults pressing the apples, drinking the juice, eating, listening to the music and chatting. Then we move on to harvest festival in the church and a collection of food for Farnham Foodbank.

“And while you are in the church, have a look at the apple trees in Kitty Milroy’s murals near the altar.”

One of Kitty Milroy’s apple trees.

Anyone who wants their apples turned into juice is asked to bring apples that are in good condition, picked from the tree and washed, along with clean two-litre plastic milk cartons, including the lid, to put the juice in.

The Foodbank is currently in need of tinned ham or minced beef; tinned carrots or peas; tinned or packet custard; UHT milk and UHT fruit juice.