Archive for December, 2012

Macular Disease Society Dec 13th

December 13, 2012

This afternoon Elaine & I went to Age Concern at the Borrow Day Centre for an early Christmas party for members of the local branch of the Macular Disease Society.

The event was well attended with live entertainment provided by 12 children from Year 6 of Padnell Junior School, who sang several festive songs and carols.

Musical entertainment was also provided by Tony Humphrys playing both guitar and ukulele and singing a variety of songs from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s.

Flowers and cake

Flowers and cake

Tom McInulty, the Group Support and Development Manager for the Southern region of the United Kingdom, was there with his guide dog, Brunel.

Most of those there were suffering from various degrees of sight loss, but all of them joined in with the singing, and had a really good time.

Elaine was presented with a lovely flower arrangement and I had a nice cake.

Coffee Morning Dec 12th

December 13, 2012

Another fund raising coffee morning was held in the Council Chamber at the Public Service Plaza, with various stalls and representatives from three of my charities also coming along.

Bosmere pupils

Bosmere pupils

There were the usual coffee and biscuit and the opportunity to purchase freshly made cakes. The raffle was very well supported and the Royal Air Force Association were there with their stand and their “name the Teddy Bear” which raised £50 for their funds.

The highlight of the morning, however, was the class of pupils from Bosmere Junior School who entertained us with some excellent singing of festive songs, accompanied on the guitar by music teacher John Gleadall.

Sharps Copse Dec 10th.

December 10, 2012

This afternoon Elaine & I went to Sharps Copse Primary School in West Leigh to meet some of the pupils and staff.

We were met by the acting assistant headteacher, Mrs. Amy Fairall and by the Chairman and Secretary of the school Council.

After the introductions, we were taken on a tour of the school and were able to see the pupils at work and to talk to some of  the children and staff.

There was a good feeling around the school, with a lot of smiling faces and busily working children.

After the tour, we went to the family room where we had a hot drink and biscuit with most of the members of the school Council. They had been asked to think of questions for both of us, and we had an entertaining time giving them answers and asking questions of our own.

As usual, when we visit Primary schools, I wore the Mayoral robes, and this created a lot of interest amogst the children.

Emsworth Concert Dec 9th

December 10, 2012

The annual concert given by the Emsworth Concert Band, under the baton of Royal Marine Bandmaster Dean Waller, was, as usual, an evening of enjoyment and pleasure for the large audience.

The Band

The Band

Having been playing since 1986, the band has a mixture of young and nearly young players and, for this concert, Dean Waller asked for volunteers from the Royal Marines School of Music to take part. This resulted in about ten extra musicians coming along for the evening. Not having had any rehearsal, they all sight-read the music! Quite an achievement, and one of which they should be proud.

There were some very good solo pieces, with one of the band members playing Rachmaninov’s Variation no 18 on a theme by Paganini on the Grand piano, and another playing a solo piece on Piccolo, before moving on to the Xylophone!

The programme was, as usual, a varied one, with marches, show music and, of course, carols. There was a lot of banter between conductor and audience, with the evening passing by very quickly.

The band’s next concert will be on February 24th and will be at the Public Service Plaza (Civic Offices) in Havant as a fund-raiser for my charities.

HSO Concert Dec 8th

December 9, 2012

Our fourth and final event of the day was the Havant Symphony Orchestra’s Concert at Oaklands RC School in Waterlooville.

The 50th Season

The 50th Season

This special concert marked the final conducting performance of this orchestra by its founder, Peter Craddock.

Peter founded the orchestra in 1962, and since then it has become one of the most highly regarded amateur orchestras in  the country.

Unfortunately, ill health has meant that Peter has had to take things a bit easier than he would like, but he was still able to conduct the player’s through Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor, a piece which lasted for about an hour!

The first half of the concert was conducted by Robert Hodge, with one of the pieces, Brahms Double Concerto in A minor, featuring excellent solo performances by Alexander Sitkovetsky on violin and Richard Harwood, who comes from Waterlooville, on cello.

After the concert

After the concert

This was an excellent evening’s entertainment, which concluded with some short speeches of thanks for the work that peter has done to make music accessible for local people and for the opportunity he has given for younger players to progress through playing with the orchestra.

Hopefully Peter will still be able to continue to conduct the Havant Chamber Orchestra.

Acorn Centre Dec 8th

December 9, 2012

Our third event of the day was the children’s Christmas party at the Acorn Centre in Wecock.

Didn't they do well!

Didn’t they do well!

When we arrived there were several groups of children, assisted by one or two adults, busily finishing off the sledges that they were making, and which Elaine & i were asked to judge. There were some very interesting constructions, but I am not sure what Santa would have thought!

Other things had been happening before we got there, and there was some very artistic face painting.

As we had to get to our next event, we could not stay very long, but all of the children were having a great time.


Xcel Gymnastics Dec 8th

December 8, 2012

Our second call of the day was at the new gymnastics centre being officially opened in Horndean by Xcel Gymnastics.

Located on the industrial estate near Morrison’s, this is a very well equiped training centre for all those interested in taking part in gymnastics.

Part of an award winning routine

Part of an award winning routine

On arriving at 2 o’clock we met some of the coaches and representatives of the Hampshire Playing Fields Association, who have helped to fund the centre. Also there was Meon Valley MP, George Hollingbery, together with local councillors.

Cutting the ribbon

Cutting the ribbon

With around 250 members, some from as far afield as the Isle of Wight, the training is to a very high standard. This was shown during a demonstration by gymnasts from the age of 4 upwards, with many of them having awards won at both Regional and National level.

Training starts from as young as 2 years of age, and disabilities are catered for, together with classes for adults.


Christmas Fayre Dec 8th

December 8, 2012

At 9.30 this morning, Elaine & I were at the Sacred Heart Roman catholic Church in Waterlooville to open this year’s Christmas Fayre.

A lovely bouquet

A lovely bouquet

When we arrived there were already a lot of people looking at the many stalls that were around, and waiting until I had officially opened the fayre before they started buying from the varied range of items on sale.

Traditional Maasai crafts

Traditional Maasai crafts

There were the usual money-spinners like tombolas, bric-a-brac stalls, books and cakes. There were also some more unusual things such as home-made childrens bibs and there was also a stand run by a Maasai from Kenya selling items of traditional crafts, with different types of necklaces, etc.

A choir from Oaklands School were there to sing Carols.

With the sun shining brightly, the hall was filled with the sound of people having a great time, both buying and selling.

Staff Xmas Party Dec 7th

December 7, 2012

From Hayling we went straight to the HBC Staff Christmas Party, this year held at the home of Havant & Waterlooville Football Club. The event was sponsored by Unison, with the disco, Hit Squad, sponsored by the Mayor.

We arrived there shortly after the starting time and, therefore, many of the staff were still to arrive.

With things to do to get ready for an early start in the morning, we only stayed for about an hour, but both Elaine & myself were able to talk to quite a number of those there, many of whom were very interested to learn more about the role of the Mayor, and what we had done so far in the Mayoral year.

Mengham Dec 7th

December 7, 2012

The first event that Elaine & I went to this evening was the annual children’s Carol singing in the shopping area in Mengham on Hayling Island.

The children, from Mengham Infants School, were in fine voice and preceede the singing with a circuit of the area.

Awarding the prize

Awarding the prize

We had earlier been asked to judge a contest to name the new Police patrol car on the Island. We thought that the most appropriate name was Billy, as this linked with both the Hayling Billy line, and the police television series, The Bill. The winner was there tonight to be presented with a Stoplocc anti-theft device.

Many of the shops opened late, with children’s author, Sara Starbuck, at the Hayling Book Shop.

There was a crowded Santa’s Grotto, a small fun-fair, plenty of mulled wine, mince pies, hot dogs and artificial snow!

To round off the event for us, there was a bell-ringing concert in the United Reformed Church.

Safer Places Dec 6th

December 6, 2012

This morning we were at the Beacon Church in the Meridian Centre, Havant, for the launch of the Havant Safer Places Scheme.

Originally piloted in Devon and Cornwall, the scheme is aimed at helping those vulnerable people who find themselves distressed or afraid when out and about.

The idea is that shops, libraries, banks, community centres, etc., should offer a safe haven in the event of bullying or harrasment in what may be an unfamiliar area.

Showing the logo

Showing the logo

Any premises which display the logo, as in the photograph, will have staff available who are able to calm a vulnerable person and, using information on a card carried by that person, are able to call a named carer or other responsible adult.

The scheme is supported by Havant Borough Council’s Community Safety Scheme and the Police, and already there are a number of shops, banks, etc., signed up and displaying the logo.

We Will Rock You Dec 5th

December 6, 2012

Park Community School’s production of the musical “We Will Rock You”, based on the music of Freddie Mercury’s group Queen, was very well performed, with some excellent performances from all of the cast.

A very minimal set was used, with imaginative use of a screen at the back of the stage.

Several of the Queen songs are featured throughout the show, and all were well sung, although there was a problem with some of the microphones, which was a great shame, but I am sure it will be sorted for the final two performances which are Thursday 6th and Friday 7th starting at 7pm.

There was some excellent choreography, and the dancers were very well rehearsed.

This is a show well worth seeing, and the drama department at the school have done a very good job.

Off The Record 5th Dec

December 5, 2012

This morning Elaine & I went to the Off The Record office in Purbrook Way, Leigh Park, where we met some of the people responsible for running this very important service. While this is the main administrative office, there is also another branch of the organisation in Fratton Road, Portsmouth.

Off The Record provide free, confidential, counselling and support for 11 – 25 year olds who may not have anyone who is able or willing to listen to their problems, and is able to give advice and support.

Having been established in 1977, OTR is now in its 35th year and, in 2011, was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, with their work having been judged to be of the highest standard.

All of the counsellors are fully trained volunteers who, over the course of a year, give more than 6,000 hours of their time to meet, face-to-face, those in need of a helping hand.

While we were there we looked around and were shown the counselling rooms and offices.

Their website can be found at

TS Unity Dec 4th

December 5, 2012

The presentation evening for TS Unity, Nautical Cadet Corps, was held at St. James’s Church Hall in Emsworth. In the audience were several senior officers from the NTC, including the Commodore, Dave Wright.

Also there for the evening were many parents and also representatives from two other local NTC units, TS Explorer and TS Tenacity.

Awards were presented to both male and female cadets, and this was further broken down to seniors and juniors. There were various categories, including best cadet, attendance, tidiest uniform, etc.

Following the awards there was a chance to talk to people while enjoying a hot drink and a mince pie or some cake.

The cadets and officers then put on some entertainment in the form of a trip through the decades of the Queen’s reign.

An evening with both a serious side and a fun side.

Talking Newspaper Dec 4th

December 4, 2012

This morning Elaine & I went to the offices of the Havant Borough Talking Newspaper, in East Street, in order to get an insight into the way in which they record news for those with impaired vision.

With Keith and Alan

With Keith and Alan

Recording our message

Recording our message

On arrival we were greeted by the Chairman, Keith Stoneman, and Alan, the sound engineer. They explained the way in which recordings are made by a team of readers direct onto computer, after which the recording, once cleaned up, is transferred onto a memory stick prior to being sent to those people who are unable to read a newspaper.

There are currently about 185 people on their register, and they receive a fortnightly edition of the news readings, plus a quarterly magazine, distributed in special envelopes free of charge by Royal Mail.

The memory sticks are played on a special piece of equipment which can also be used as a radio, with the stick plugged in on the top.

Elaine & I were asked to record a short message for the Christmas season, which was then played back to us and will be included on the next news recording.

Havant Borough Talking Newspaper would welcome more clients and may be contacted on 023 9248 0101.