Our May magazine is out now, a bumper edition this month with information about the elections for Surrey County Council members and the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner. Please read their statements and please vote; if we don’t bother to have a say we can hardly complain about the people who are elected.
There is information too about events going on this month including our Farnham Flower Festival (online again, of course) which is being sponsored by our favourite florist Florescence, and plans for the fete in July. Please get involved in both. There is news about new rooms to hire, an article on grief, information about taking part in Christian Aid Week and much more, plus, of course, lots of great adverts with services, offers and classes.
Thank you to everyone who entered the Farnham Lockdown Poetry Festival. We had 56 entries from adults and children alike, with ages ranging from eight to 80+ and lots of strong feelings about the struggles of lockdown, but also the togetherness and the hope that people have found, despite all the difficulties.
and a video of some of the poems being read is available below. Also, though it was almost impossible to choose between the poems, a decision was finally made and the Mayor of Farnham announced the winners in the video.
The winning poems are:
Two Lockdowns A Lifetime Apart
The Second World War began when I was just four The Coventry Blitz was like a firestorm from hell Later that week I burst into tears when I saw My toy shop Owen Owen was a burnt out shell
Rationing, conscription and lights blackened at night This was a long lockdown lasting almost six years Countless houses and buildings laid waste was our plight Near half a million deaths left many in tears
Seventy-five years later in twenty-twenty Few people can claim they saw what was now coming A virus takes hold to disrupt years of plenty As it spreads round the world the I-phones are humming
This invisible virus now needed a plan The instinct in shock is to gather together But to widespread dismay a new lockdown began Keep two metres apart at all times wherever
With deaths quickly rising and restrictions imposed Stay at home, avoid friends and even relations All but food shops were shuttered and schools were all closed Wedding parties were banned and all celebrations
I worry my age group holds the country in thrall We are lucky to have lived so long to this age It is we who must be careful and should now call For the economy to be let out of its cage
Being twice locked down it is all but in tatters The outlook for young people is truly blighted Surely for their sakes alone all that now matters Is that their futures be quickly reignited
Love Your Neighbour As Yourself
Love Your Neighbour as Yourself, through screen or window, darkly. Muffled, crackled, frozen. ’Help!’ ‘Can you hear me?’ Hardly.
Love Your Neighbour as Yourself, through greying hair and slowing hours. Dull repetition, same old heft, grace of God in breeze or showers.
Love Your Neighbour as Yourself, but what means as and how fares Self? We are God’s hands but when My Self, when love poured out soon threatens Self?
Love Your Neighbour as Yourself, when sacrifice is hellish hard. Exhaustion beckons, ‘Pain! Now quell!’ and chaos reigns in your backyard.
Love Your Neighbour as Yourself, wash the bodies, dig the graves. Tender care the greatest wealth, tears of love for all they gave.
Love Your Neighbour as Yourself, desist from posting online hate. Don’t bully, scam or hurt by stealth, or suicide might be their fate.
Love Your Neighbour as Yourself, when home-penned folk cry out in pain. When tempers flare, without behest, ‘When will we see our friends again?’
Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed, when out of work graph rises steep. Everyone needs better, best, for damaged mental health wounds, deep.
Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed, vaccines roll out to the people. Schools return and wedding guests, bells will ring from tower or steeple.
Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed, pubs reopen, shops restock. Meet with friends and family,’ Yes!!’, hugs, kisses, treats, as doors unlock.
Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed, when loved ones’ deaths have maimed you. Remember humour, chuckling chest, tearful teas and talk refold you.
Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed, Please keep the distance, wear the mask. Do take the vaccine, take the test, washing hands not much to ask.
Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed, make time to think and time to rest. Properly to think ‘No stress!’ how love of Self confers the best.
Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed, clamouring calls you can resist. Your self-care struggle now confessed, put Your needs first in To Do list.
A Lockdown Poem
Schools have closed Working from home Missing family and friends Will this ever end? Doing lots of calls Kitchens into school Whether it’s computer or phone Everything happened at home Clapping for heroes Rainbows on the windows Watching the news Feeling confused People staying in Why is that a thing? Having lots of bubbles Missing lots of cuddles Staying with your household If it’s hot or cold Lots of things have stopped Many bubbles have popped But we’re staying safe at home And are never really alone.
Matilda Bowden (9)
Coronavirus has wrecked all of our lives Oh how I wish I could punch it Rage takes over me and I cannot control it| On the inside I have pain Now is the time we fight Anger is the only feeling I can feel Vans with deliveries come by, wishing us luck I had covid and I don’t want it to come back Run, for covid is here Understand me please I can’t take this pain anymore Stand with me, we will defeat it together
The night sky will be lit up across Farnham this Saturday by beacons which will shine out from 5-8.30pm from eight places across the town, including St John’s and St Mark’s Churches.
The lights will sweep across the sky from Badshot Lea, Weybourne, Upper Hale, Rowledge, Wrecclesham, The Bourne, Farnham Castle and Central Farnham and will mark the beginning of the Christmas season in Farnham.
During the shining of the beacons, the switching on of the Christmas lights in the town centre and surrounding neighbourhoods, will also take place.
The beacons are being staged by Farnham Town Council to represent the coming together of the Farnham community during 2020 and hopes for a brighter 2021.
Councillor Alan Earwaker, the council’s lead member for tourism and events, said: “COVID may stop us inviting residents to the town centre to see an official Christmas lights switch-on this year but let us bring the lights to you. Wherever you live in Farnham or nearby villages, we hope you will be able to see at least one of our searchlights in the sky. Come out to your doorsteps to see them – and give your neighbours a wave too if you can.”
Here is A Song for Farnham! This parish and other churches across Farnham have joined forces and voices to sing Amazing Grace.
As well as this parish, St Andrew’s Church; St James’, Rowledge; St Joan of Arc; The Spire Church; and Farnham Vineyard have sung a verse each.
The hymn is a favourite of many and was written by a former slave trader, John Newton, who eventually became an advocate for the abolition of slavery.
Lesley Crawley explains why the churches have decided to sing it: “The churches in Farnham wanted to make a song to lift spirits now that some people have been locked in for three months and many face uncertainty as to when it will end for them. We chose Amazing Grace – written by a slave owner who saw the error of his ways and found God even though he considered himself beyond the pale given his previous life. It speaks of God’s unconditional love and grace in our lives, no matter how we feel about ourselves.”
Listen to A Song for Farnham on social media and at www.badshotleaandhale.org and other church websites from Sunday, June 21.
St George’s Church Hall will be open from Monday to Thursday this week, from 10am-noon, to receive donations for Share Farnham.
Share Farnham is a community store of free activities and equipment to help keep you busy and active and it will open this month, but first donations are needed.
The store needs clean, quality objects in good condition and working order and suggested items to donate include puzzles and board games (complete sets), books (less than three years old), musical instruments (playable condition), garden games, sheet music, craft items (eg knitting patterns, cross stitch), DVDs, toys (no soft toys), exercise equipment and cookery equipment (eg pasta makers). No electrical or petrol-powered equipment please.
Please bring your donations and place them on the table provided. Please observe all social distancing requirements.
Once there are enough donations the store will be open in two places – Farnham Maltings and Hale Community Centre. It will be open to all, and you will be able to borrow items, free of charge, for a period of three weeks.
As well as St George’s, items can be dropped this Monday to Thursday at Farnham Maltings and Hale Community Centre between 10am and noon, and at The Bear and Ragged Staff pub (48 The Street, Wrecclesham) between 2pm and 4pm.
We will be holding an online church service to say thanks for and pray for the NHS, carers and other frontline workers, on Thursday, April 30, from 7pm.
The service will include readings, music and prayers, including one read by local MP and former Cabinet minister Jeremy Hunt, and another read by Cllr Pat Evans, Mayor of Farnham, along with pictures of artwork, videos and pictures of key workers.
Lesley Crawley explained the thinking behind the service: “We are living in extraordinary times, like nothing any of us have experienced before. As we navigate our way through them we want to seek God’s guidance and strength, particularly for those who are suffering and those who are working on the frontline in hospitals and care settings, and other key workers who are keeping the country going. And we want to give thanks for everyone who is working so hard across the world and in our own community.
“If anyone would like to offer us some art – especially rainbows – or photos of keyworkers, or if there are children who would like to be videoed saying a prayer, please do get in touch. Send contributions to Alan as soon as you can and certainly by the end of Sunday, April 26th.
“And do join us here on the website on Thursday 30th, from 7pm, to pray and give thanks.” The service will be available on the website from that time here.
If you need guidance for sending in your contributions, click here.
Each November we remember those who have suffered and died in armed conflicts around the world, and this year we mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a turning point in World War Two, but one which, as in any war, cost many lives.
This year St John’s Church takes centre stage in Farnham’s Remembrance commemorations, when on the evening of Saturday, November 9, from 7.30pm, it becomes the venue for the Farnham Festival of Remembrance, a military and musical spectacular which will pay tribute to the service men and women of the country’s armed forces.
All three of the armed forces will be represented by the Princess of Wales Army Reserve Regiment, Sea Cadets, Army Cadets and Air Cadets, along with the civilian services including the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Scouts and Girl Guides as well as some of the local schools.
There will be a parade, a concert and a short service in honour of those who have been injured or lost their lives in the defence of the freedom and liberty of the nation.
Please join us for this spectacular event. Entry is free and donations will be shared between local causes including the parish and the Royal British Legion.
With winter approaching. the plight of those forced to leave their homes and find refuge in other countries becomes even more serious than it has been. Many arrive in foreign lands with few clothes and possessions and must rely on other people for basics which most of us take for granted – shelter, food, clothes, medicine, toiletries and so on.
Farnham Help for Refugees was set up by a small group of people in response to the dire needs of refugees, both those arriving to this country and those elsewhere in Europe and in the Middle East, and holds regular collections. They work with agencies supporting refugees directly so that they can ensure that they are asking for exactly what is needed.
Here is a list of what is needed at the moment:
Warm coats for men, women and children
Adult jumpers, fleeces and hoodies (s,m,l)
Adult jeans, joggers, leggings (s,m,l)
Adult t-shirts (s,m,l)
Children’s winter clothes
Adult and children’s underwear (new only)
Thermal socks (new only)
Hats, scarves and gloves
Bras (new or as new)
(Please note, all items should be new or as-new and clean please. No dirty or damaged items. No XL or XXL items. No shoes, trainers or boots. No duvets).
Baby items (all items must be unopened)
Nappies (disposable only)
Wipes and nappy cream
Vaseline and Sudocrem
Toiletries (all items must be unopened)
Razors (disposable only)
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Soap and body wash
Sanitary towels (not tampons)
Washing powder and cleaning products
As it costs £6 per box to send the items, Farnham Help for Refugees welcomes cash donations on the day to help with shipping costs.
Please do not donate items not on the list as they will have to be recycled locally and cannot be sent to refugees.
The 175th anniversary celebrations at St John’s Church, Hale, kick off on May 18 and 19 with a flower festival.
Local organisations, artists, schools, churches, charities and other faith groups are all planning their entries to the festival that weekend. Among those preparing displays are the three churches which make up the parish; the Hale Gardening Club; the local Mothers’ Union; the Opportunities Project; the Hale Women’s Institute; the Darby and Joan Club, Farnham Baha’is, Petal & Stem florists, Crown Chain nursery and Rainbow Church (welcoming all who are LGBTI+).
There will be art and craft too and All Hallows School art club are presenting a collage, Badshot Lea Infant School will be displaying floral photography, and there will be contributions from local artists Susie Lidstone, Judith Needham, Penny Fleet and former Surrey Artist of the year Denise Jaques who will bring garden mosaics. Local milliners Mind your Bonce will be providing an elegant touch with hats and flowers.
Among the charities taking part will be Farnham Assist and Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care who will be bringing samples of planting done in the hospice’s Social and Therapeutic Horticulture sessions. Amnesty International will be bringing a display reminding visitors of the plight of political prisoners across the world.
Lesley Crawley said: “St John’s was consecrated in November 1844 and since then has been a much-loved focal point in the village of Hale. We would like everyone to celebrate with us this year, so we are holding a series of events to which all are welcome. One of the first of these is the flower festival in May where, for two days, the church will be overflowing with colourful floral displays and art, and there will be live music and refreshments, including Pimm’s.
“St John’s is everyone’s church and as well as celebrating our anniversary, we are looking forward to the future. We know that our church could be used to serve the community better and we want to know what people would like from us as we look forward to the next stage and discover what God has in store for us all. We have therefore launched a survey for residents and local organisations to complete. You can find it on our website (www.badshotleaandhale.org) or in the church.”