Archive for November, 2012

Leigh Park Grotto Nov 30th

November 30, 2012

Straight from the Home-Start AGM we went to the Greywell Shopping Grotto.

With organiser Cllr. Yvonne Weeks

With organiser Cllr. Yvonne Weeks

A lot of people were there and we were treated to the singing of festive carols and songs by children from three local schools, Front Lawn, St. Thomas More’s and Trosnant. Each school sang 3 or 4 songs individually before joining up to sing a final song.

Run by a team of volunteers, the Grotto has been an annual event for about 15 years, and is a non-profit organisation which has been generously supported by the landlords of the Greywell Shopping Centre, Social housing providers and local businesses such as Pfizer and ASDA.

The Grotto is beautifully decked out, and makes for a magical experience for local children.

Home Start AGM Nov 30th

November 30, 2012

This morning we went to Sharpe’s Copse Children & Families Centre in West Leigh for the Annual General Meeting of Home-Start Havant.

We were met by Maggie Short, the Chair of Home-Start Havantand given an insight into the years happenings.

After the normal AGM agenda, with Maggie Short giving her report and the Treasurer going over the year’s accounts, we were invited to stay for a light buffet lunch and to talk to some of the people there.

As Elaine was a Home-Start volunteer, there were several members of the organisation that we both new, and also others new to us who we were introduced to.

Havant Light Opera Nov 29th

November 30, 2012

Havant Light Opera’s “Edwardian Christmas Party”, at the Spring in East Street, is an enjoyable evening of songs, mainly from the later part of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th.

With over 30 performers on stage all of the time, this was a very musical affair, with several of the numbers featuring some excellent solo and duet singing.

The first half of the evening’s entertainment featured 15 numbers, ranging from Johan Strauss II to Gilbert & Sulivan, while the second half comprised ensemble singing from the performers interspersed with the packed audience singing along with traditional carols, selected by members of the audience from a supplied song book.

A very pleasant evening’s entertainment.

PETA Nov 29th

November 29, 2012

This afternoon Elaine & I were invited to tour the facilities at PETA.

Situated at the Kenwood Business Park in New Lane, Havant, this is an excellent engineering training centre.

On arrival we were taken around the engineering workshops, where we saw some of the extensive range of modern machines being used for training, many of them computer controlled.

We were then taken upstairs to the electrical training area, where students were being instructed in wiring, soldering and the repair of electrical components.

The training can be full-time, day release or block release and be for both employed and unemployed, and for both male & female students.

Students are able to gain certification from vocational certificates through to BTEC Diplomas in Engineering, Electrical / Electronic Engineering or Engineering Technology over a time period of 1 to 3 years.

A very high percentage of those starting as unemployed find employment at the end of their course, and often employers will send their employees back to gain further knowledge.

Light up a Life Nov 28th

November 28, 2012

This evening we went to a carol service at St. George’s Church in Waterlooville that was held on behalf of Naomi House & jacksplace hospices.

After the welcome from Father Mike Sheffield, there was an introduction by Trecia Aspey and then, during the lighting of a large candle, I read a candle prayer that had been written by a past vicar of St. John’s Church in Purbrook.

The congregation then sang O Little Town of Bethlehem, before the choir from Purbrook Infant School sang three carols.

A poem, “When Tomorrow Starts Without Me”, by Tamara Moir was then read, following which the Downland Singers performed three festive songs.

Father mike’s Address was followed by the congregation singing Lord of the Dance, before “My First Christmas in Heaven” was read by Mary Ramsay from the Solent Community Group.

Julie Bolton then sang “You Raise Me Up”, after which candles were lit and the Downland Singers combined with Purbrook Infant School to sing “Away in a Manger”.

The evening concluded with “O Come All Ye Faithful” and a final blessing by Father Mike.

Oaklands School Nov 28th

November 28, 2012

This afternoon Elaine & I, together with Councillor Leah Turner, visited the Religious Education department at Oaklands RC School in Waterlooville.

We were met by Mugeni Sumba, one of the teachers, and introduced to some of his students.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss some aspects of the projected Memorial Against Hatred and Intolerance that will be created at the school now that the target of collecting a million buttons has been achieved and, indeed, surpassed.

The Memorial is intended to focus attention on the various genocides that have taken place, and are still taking place, across the world.

Having visited Auschwitz in 2009, I was able to take along a disc of photographs which I took at the time. Councillor Turner spoke of her visit to the Yad Vashem holocaust research centre in Israel.

We had a very interesting discussion with the students, featuring not just the Holocaust of the Second World War, but also more recent events such as the atrocities in various parts of the African continent and the conflict in areas of Eastern Europe, such as Bosnia and Yugoslavia.

Thanksgiving Service Nov 25th

November 26, 2012

This Thanksgiving Service, which was held at Winchester Cathedral, was organised by the Province of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Freemasons.

Before the Service began there was a reception in the 14th century Priors Hall, where we were greeted by Michael Wilks, the Provincial Grand Master and we were then able to meet and chat to both Freemasons and other Mayors and Mayoresses from across Hampshire.

During the Service there were three readings. The first was taken from the Book of Kings, while the second reading was from the Revelation of St. John the Divine. The third reading, unusually, was taken from Radio 2’s “Pause for Thought” and was entitled “Busy Doing Nothing”.

The Service ended with the National Anthem.

100 Not Out Nov 25th

November 26, 2012

Mildred Pink celebrated her 100th birthday with a gathering of friends and family at the Cowplain Social Club.

Among those there to help her to celebrate were her son, David, grandsons Chris and Nick, daughter-in-law, Laura, and her three great-grandsons, Joshua, Harrison and Zachary.

Born and educated in Petersfield, Mildred and her husband, Bill, moved to Cowplain in 1962 and purchased the local SPAR shop in London Road before selling it to Campion’s bakery a few years later. She joined the local WI and, after Bill passed away in 1981, became very involved in Age Concern at the Borrow Day Centre, where she was active until early in 2011.

Now living in a local care home, Mildred is a very youthful looking centenarian.

Spinnaker Chorus Nov 24th

November 25, 2012

The Spinnaker Sizzling Spectacular was held in the theatre at Oaklands RC School in Waterlooville.

The evening began with a topical selection from the Spinnaker Chorus as they sang such songs as “Singing in the Rain ” and “It’s Raining Men”. How very appropriate!

They were followed by the men’s Barbershop  group, the Royal Harmonics from Windsor.

Next came an excellent ladies quartet, Affinity, with their harmony numbers, and then, to end the first half, we were entertained by the Spinnaker Brass band.

The second half once again featured the Spinnaker Chorus and the Royal Harmonics plus the ‘Ampshire ‘Oppers lindy hop dance troupe and the European Champion ladies Sweet Adeline quartet Echo.

Comedy was included via the compere, John Smith, and the evening was rounded out with the band and all of the vocalists performing, with some help from the audience, Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Brittania.

All in all, a highly entertaining evening.

St. George’s Mens Group Nov 20th

November 21, 2012

For the first time in several years, 8 members of the St. George’s Church Mens Group visited the Public Service Plaza.

In the parlour.

In the parlour.

I met the group, led by this year’s Chaplain, Father Mike Sheffield, in the atrium and we then went to the Mayor’s Parlour for a chat and a hot drink.

They were then shown around the first floor of the offices and given an explanation of the changes that have taken place since their last visit.

It was then back to the parlour for another chat and the opportunity for photographs.

Then it was off to the Denmead Queen in Waterlooville for yet another chat but this time with a cold drink!

Junior Citizen Nov 20th

November 20, 2012

This morning we were at Fort Purbrook to see one of the sessions of this year’s Junior Citizen programme.

Red Cross

Red Cross

This involves Year 6 pupils from the schools across the Borough attending either a morning or afternoon session, over the course of 10 days, being given a short talk by proffesionals from 6 different areas of community life.

Trading Standards

Trading Standards

Today we saw children from St. Thomas More’s and Waterloo Schools having 15 minute periods with the Red Cross, Royal National Lifeboat Institution, HCC Trading Standards, Southern Domestic Abuse Service, Hampshire Fire & Rescue and HBC Environmental Rangers.

They were given demonstrations of what to do in case of an accident, how to react in case of a fire and the importance of properly maintained smoke detectors and the perils of open water. They were also told about things to look for in shops and car boot sales, how to recognise domestic abuse and how to look after the environment.

All of the pupils were very enthusiastic, and will probably go home and teach their parents how to do things!

Highbury Area Band Nov 18th

November 18, 2012

Yet another excellent concert in the Hurstwood Room at the Public Service Plaza.

This time it was the Highbury Aera Band who entertained a packed audience with some wonderful music.

Sally Smith's introduction.

Sally Smith’s introduction.

The band is mostly made up of young musicians from 11 to 21, with a very few older players amongst them.

The afternoon’s entertainment was introduced by the new Chairman, Sally Smith, who welcomed the Musical Director, Richard Horn, whereupon the band played the National Anthems of both the United Kingdom and, as the guest conductor was a member of the Singaporean Armed Forces, Singapore.

With the Conductors.

With the Conductors.

There was a host of stirring music ranging from marches through musicals and a selection from the James bond films to a suite of Singaporean Folk Songs and a piece especially written for last year’s Goodwood Revival.

The guest conductor, Ignatius Wang, took the baton for the Overture from ‘Orpheus in the Underworld’ and Percy Grainger’s ‘Irish Tune from County Derry’.

Crafty Turners Nov 17th

November 17, 2012

This morning Elaine & I were invited to the St. John Ambulance hall in Bedhampton to visit the monthly meeting of the Crafty Turners.

With Kieran

With Kieran

When we arrived we were met by the Vice-Chairman, 15 year old Kieran Parkes, who introduced us to the adult volunteers and the young people who were there practising various crafts.

Having started as the Forest of Bere Junior Woodturners they became the Crafty Turners in July 2010 and have now been meeting for 5 years.

Elaine at the lathe!

Elaine at the lathe!

Activities that take place include wood turning, making bowls, cord pulls etc., metalwork, making Christmas decorations and various other skills under supervision by the adult helpers, with youngsters with learning difficulties among those taking part.

There is a very good and informative website at

Doris’s 100th Nov 15th

November 15, 2012

Later this afternoon we went to Elsie Fudge House in Crookhorn to attend the 100th Birthday celebrations for Doris Awcock.

With a young looking Doris

With a young looking Doris

Doris has lived in the sheltered block for about 20 years, and still makes herself a cooked breakfast every day!

Surrounded by family and friends, and with an excellent spread to savour, Doris is a very alert and active centenarian and certainly does not look her age.

The communal room, where the gathering took place, had been decorated earlier in the day by her daughter, and her family had come from as far as Norwich to help her celebrate the occasion.

Corporal David O’Connor Nov 15th

November 15, 2012

This afternoon Elaine & I, together with the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan, attended the funeral of Corporal David O’Connor, RM.

Corporal O’Connor was killed in Afghanistan and was given a full Military funeral.

This was one of the most moving funerals that I have been to.

May he rest in peace.