Editorial from August Edition of The Magazine
Hello and welcome,
August can be a quiet month with so many people enjoying their summer holidays. Some of the church activities and clubs at St. John’s are taking a well deserved break but there is still a small selection of activities and events sprinkled throughout the magazine. Do check before heading out to make sure your favourite or soon-to-be favourite (!) activity is on in August.
It looks like the Benefice villages have taken the lead in advertising their September activities. Bighton village and St. Peter’s church in Ovington proudly have much to shout about!
Although, it has been said that one should be careful about working with animals and children, well it looks like Bob Ellis in Bighton has thrown caution to the wind! Bighton Village is hosting its annual Village Fete and Fun Dog Show (Page 5) on Sunday, September 1st!
Billed as the ‘Biggest Little Fete in Hampshire’, it is chock full of interesting attractions, including farm animals, vintage cars, traditional stalls and games, a craft village, The Bighton Bake Off and so much more. Please do make some time to travel a little bit further afield (just 3 miles from Alresford Town Centre) to experience a traditional warm village welcome and an afternoon of fun!
The following weekend is one tailor made for enjoying a relaxing, warm summer evening. St. Peter’s Church in Ovington is hosting an Organ Recital by Kate Jones on Saturday, September 7th. In addition to working with the Alresford Community Choir and her teaching practice, Kate is accompanist to the Winchester Cathedral Junior Choir. As well as an interest in piano duet and two-piano works, Kate arranges repertoire for the Alresford Community Choir and is currently composing a new work for them, based on Hampshire folk songs. Please see Page 5 for more recital details.
All the best for a wonderful month of August.
Penny Forbes (Editor)
Leading Article from August Edition of The Magazine
Leader: Ordinary Time
In this season of the Anglican Church year, we find ourselves in what is called ‘Ordinary Time’. It sounds…….well, a bit ordinary, dull, maybe even boring!! Yet outside and all around us it’s Summer time! The sky is clear blue, the sun is gold (Well I hope so!!). It’s the season where everything slooooows down and we take time to rest and ‘chill out’. In the church it can feel like a bit of an in-between time. Easter and Pentecost are a distant memory, Harvest seems far off and Advent and Christmas seem a life time away.
So what do we do in this long ordinary time? Well, firstly it isn’t really ordinary in the way we would usually understand that word. In the Church calendar ‘ordinary’ comes from the word ‘ordinal’, and the mathematicians amongst us will know that an ‘ordinal number’ denotes rank or priority, i.e. first, second, third, etc. Ordinal time is a period where we recognise and mark time for moving on. In Psalms 90 v12 it tells us to ‘number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” The psalmist is not merely suggesting we count our days, but that we take time to prepare, to plan, to get ready, to refresh ourselves for what is to come. And part of doing that is taking time to rest and restore our body, souls and minds for all that lays ahead, for the times where our diary is fuller and the pace of life quicker.
The summer season of holiday and recreation can be a time to slow down, recuperate, be renewed, refreshed and invigorated. Many will go on holiday, home groups and social clubs may take a Summer break. These rest times give us space to relax, see family, and have physical rest. But during this time, let’s not forget the importance of restoring our ‘inner-being’, our spirit and soul. The frantic activity of the year needs to be rebalanced with time in God’s presence. How that looks may be different for each one of us – for me, it’s often walking along the beautiful riverside we are blessed with and feeding the ducks and swans with food from Amy’s duck table. It’s in those moments, that not just my physical body is refreshed, but also my mind and spirit reconnects to God as I soak in his glorious creation all around me. Whatever your Summer holds, I pray you find rest and restoration not just from work or the usual rhythms of life, but in reconnecting with God in your soul and spirit.
People Matter from August Edition of The Magazine
Pat Coleman was born on 6th May 1932 in Bromley, Kent – now part of south-east London. Her father was an independent doctor, a general practitioner, who earlier in this life had worked for the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in charge of the Old Hospital in Cairo, Egypt. Pat’s mother was born and grew up in Dublin where her father had also been a doctor practising from premises in Grafton Street. Both families were convinced and active Christians, and Pat’s own faith grew from this strong foundation.
She was not herself drawn towards a career in medicine or missionary work, preferring to become a teacher of physical education. After boarding school at Wadhurst College, she progressed to Homerton College, Cambridge for the specialist three year course. And it was there that she met David Vellacott, an undergraduate at St. John’s College, studying Estate Management.
Pat and David soon fell in love and their wedding took place in Bromley in September 1955. Their first house was part of the outbuildings of Orsett Hall in Essex; it was cold and had no modern amenities, but it was home. Pat had to learn to cook (her parents had employed a resident cook and maid, and as a child she was not allowed beyond the green baize door!), but her first two Sunday lunches were disasters! Then in 1956, David became Agent for the Orsett Estate which meant a move into the impressive 5 bedroomed Manor House. Jacquie was born in September 1956 and Iain in February 1960, and life was quiet, countrified and good.
In January 1961, David was appointed to manage the Winchester College Estates which involved moving to Hampshire, and entering a very different environment. However, Pat soon found that she greatly enjoyed living, working and bringing up a family in a College environment, and she entered fully into this new world. To complete the family, Nick was born in 1968.
Time passed, the children stated and thrived at their schools and apart from one scare when Iain became severely ill with Salmonella food poisoning, the family kept healthy. When mothering duties became less onerous, Pat started teaching gain, specialising in helping children learn to swim, but also coaching tennis and netball. Later she became part-time Librarian at West Downs School and found great satisfaction (and success) in helping children to enjoy reading.
In 1982, when David was appointed Bursar of Winchester college, Pat saw the need to welcome newcomers to the College staff community, and arranged frequent supper parties and children’s parties to bring people together socially. She also worked part-time in Winchester Churches Nightshelter, as a Cathedral guide, and was elected to Committees for Cancer Research and NADFAS. She played tennis, and took up golf, and was soon winning prizes at Hockley Gold Club.
Life took another delightful dimension when, over the ensuing years, Jacquie, Iain and Nick all married and started their own families. Pat and David took great pride in their children, their in-laws, and their ten grandchildren – born between 1985 and 2004! They travelled extensively to see them in the USA, France and England, and when Pat learnt to use her iPad, she delighted in keeping in touch by email. After David’s retirement, they were able to enjoy cruises together, including trips to Chile and Peru, the Caribbean, India, Thailand and Singapore, the Holy Lands, the Baltic and Morocco.
Pat and David moved to Alresford in 1991, and soon found that they were among a remarkable community of friends from a variety of backgrounds. St. John’s Church became an important part of their life, and they particularly enjoyed the inclusiveness of the Christian Churches in town.
Sadly, over these later years, Pat had suffered from bouts of depression, but gradually, with expert professional help and prescribed medication, this awful disease was kept more or less in check. Her eyesight also deteriorated badly through Macular Degeneration, and she bravely went through more than 50 eye injections and another operation to install a telescopic lens in one eye. But to her great regret, she still could not read and had to give up driving. Somehow, throughout these severe difficulties, Pat maintained her faith and her joy of living, and was constantly grateful to those who helped her in any way.
Pat died in April 2019 aged 86, and will long be remembered for her own courage, her love of family and concern for others.
Donald Sydney Forcey
Born 19th July 1931 – Died 8 April 2019
Words about Donald from his funeral service – Tuesday, 4 June 2019:
“Donald was born in Droxford and then moved with the family to Ropley in 1949. He joined the Navy for 7 1/2 years which began on the Royal Arthur on 1 February 1949. It included training for radar operator on the HMS Excellent and the HMS Liverpool, including service in the Suez zone when the trouble started. He also spent time in Scotland and Scandinavia and then the Mediterranean fleet based in Malta on the HMS Duchess. He was finally in ship’s company back on the HMS Excellent in 1956.
Don was part of the Royal Naval Association in Winchester from 1990 to 1997 and in Alresford
from 1997 until his death.
He married Ellen and had son Andrew and daughter Elizabeth before emigrating to Australia.
There Ellen and Don had baby Alison who tragically died from meningitis aged one year. The
family returned to England and settled in Alresford.
Don worked hard, crane driving, steel working and long-distance lorry driving to put Elizabeth
through Sandhurst military academy. Ellen passed away and Don remarried to Dorothy. When
Dorothy later became ill he gave up his work to care for her until her death three years ago.
Donald was a private person. He was a solid, kind, caring and decent man. He was hard-working
for all the family as well as showing respect for all people.
He was a great Father.”
People Matter from July edition of The Magazine
Nancy was born on 18th September 1920 in the village of Langford in Bedfordshire. Her father, Ernest, was a bricklayer, her mother Alice a dressmaker. She had a sister, Rosalie who was born in 1928.
Nancy attended the local primary school, then the secondary school in Biggleswade, the nearby town. Donald King attended the same schools. She left school at the age of 14 and became apprentice to a hairdresser in Biggleswade. Donald also left school at 14 and trained as a grocer in the same town. Eventually romance blossomed.
When the war came Don went into the army and Nancy had to leave hairdressing, as it was a luxury occupation. She went to work in Bedford on the switchboard of the Fire Service and enjoyed her time there despite the war.
Don and Nancy were married in 1943 and Don returned to the army.
In 1947 Peter was born and they were housed in a Post War “Prefab”. Nancy’s friends were very envious of her two bedrooms, bathroom, fridge and washing machine. In 1953 Valerie was born. Nancy was a housewife and Don was manager of the local Co-op. She began hairdressing for local ladies, travelling round the village on her bicycle, probably one of the first mobile hairdressers.
In 1958 they were re-housed to a house in the same street as Nancy’s sister and Don’s brother. The three families were very close and the cousins all grew up together.
In 1982 their first Grandchild, Christopher was born. Val and Ian were living in Hitchin at this time, about ten miles away, so they spent a lot of time with Chris.
In 1984 Don died suddenly of a heart attack. Nancy was bereft, but with the support of her family and many friends in the village she remained positive and coped well. In 1985 Nancy’s second grandchild, Sarah, was born.
Nancy continued to live happily in Langford. She continued to cycle round the village hairdressing. She was a member of the Mother’s Union, the Sisterhood, and on the Church flower rota.
In 1989 Val and Ian moved to Alresford. Nancy visited regularly for holidays and Christmases and really enjoyed her visits. Val had always told her that if the time came that she needed some help and wanted to live close to them they would find a suitable property for her.
Eventually, in 2006 at the age of 86 she felt that it was the right time to move to Alresford to be closer to Val.
She bought a flat at Alders Court and settled in quickly. She attended St John’s Church and made lots of friends. She joined the Mother’s Union, which had closed many years earlier in Langford. It was very special to belong to the Mother’s Union in Old Alresford – the home of it’s founder Mary Sumner. She also joined the Giles Group, enjoying both the meetings and the outings on the minibus.
Having been Practice Nurse at Alresford Surgery since 1990 Val told her patients that her Mum had moved to the town. Initially patients were asking Nancy “Are you Val’s Mum?” That soon changed to patients asking Val “Are you Nancy’s daughter?”
Nancy met Margaret Stewart at Church one Sunday and they became close friends. Margaret played a big part in her life. She took her shopping; picked her up to go to various meetings and organised Sunday lunch at The Swan most Sundays with other ladies. Margaret became known by the family as “Nancy’s second daughter”.
Nancy loved being part of the family Get Togethers. She enjoyed both grandchildren’s weddings and was very grateful to have met three great grandchildren.
Recently, Nancy had become very frail. After a fall in her flat she was admitted to hospital but developed pneumonia. She died peacefully on 11th April.
Val and Pete have received many lovely cards and letters. Nancy had a smile for everyone. She never complained, even latterly when life was difficult.
Her funeral took place in Langford. She was buried with Don in the Churchyard.
She will be sadly missed by her family and friends.
A Service of Thanksgiving for Nancy’s life was held at St. John’s Church on June 8th.
Living with Cancer for the third time.
By the time you read this I will have had a second mastectomy for a third primary cancer. I’m feeling really well, angry more than anxious as I will be going through treatment again which will leave me feeling tired, even generally unwell. I can remember feeling so weak that getting out of a chair to go to the bathroom was a major challenge. I didn’t enjoy eating or drinking as everything tasted wrong, I felt sick, my mouth was sore etc, not every day, but the few days after chemo.
At the same time we had weekends away, days out, spontaneous trips to Hinton Ampner with friends, a daughter’s wedding in Barbados. I recovered and I’ve had seven healthy years. I’m annoyed because it all puts pressure on my family and friends who are wonderfully supportive but have busy lives of their own. The fact that I’m holding onto is that thanks to the skill of Winchester Hospital Breast Cancer unit, this cancer has been found early, before it can do too much damage. I’m alarmed at how many people ignore an invitation to have a mammogram, take the test for bowel cancer or have a smear test. It’s not a comfortable experience but for the second time it has saved my life.
Fear can stop us going to the doctor if we dread a bad diagnosis, but the earlier that diagnosis is made the better the chance of recovery. Any test for cancer must be better than the alternative. Having cancer, especially the first time, is terrifying. However, treatment is improving all the time and I expect to make a full recovery, by the end of the summer if I avoid chemotherapy, otherwise by Christmas.
Living with cancer is possible. I’m not fighting it, there’s no point, it is what it is, but I expect to have many enjoyable times, before, during and after treatment. There will be bad days of course and I’ll need to deal with them when they come; to quote the Beatles I’ll get by with a little help from my friends. The big C is what we all fear, and with good reason, but people are living longer after diagnosis than ever before. I’m hopeful that I will continue to live, with or without cancer, for some time to come.