Richard Holmes, Beauchamps

The Friends of St Mary’s tea party in the Hall last Saturday attracted a good number of supporters. Like the Overseas Group’s party the previous Sunday, it was a most enjoyable and convivial occasion. Before being served with a cup of tea and sampling the appetising spread of delicious cakes which committee members had produced, we were treated to a fascinating talk by Dickie Dengate, reminiscing about his varied and interesting career.

After a youthful start in the family wholesale fruit business, he made a series of important decisions, first to train at agricultural college, then (on graduating) to get married, and then to take a job as an agricultural adviser in Uganda, where he and his wife spent a very happy and rewarding first three years of their life together. Returning to England, he went in for mixed farming, but with a steadily increasing interest in apple and pear growing. Naturally he has strong views about the present state of English fruit growing. Despite having a better flavour than many of its imported rivals, English fruit does not win as large a share of the market as it should, he told us, largely because English growers cannot offer supermarkets the sustained volume of supplies all through the year that they insist on. He also blames many shoppers for being prepared to pay more for imported fruit in the mistaken belief that it must be better than our own. Another exception to the rule that “The customer doesn’t always know best!”.

We are most grateful to Mr Dengate for his informative and entertaining talk, in payment for which he generously asked that the Friends should send a donation to the charity, Farm Africa. The event also raised £200 for the Friends’ work in maintaining the fabric of the church.

This Sunday the one service in St Mary’s Church is the increasingly popular monthly 9.30am Sung Family Eucharist. At 10.45am next Sunday (November 10) Fr John Lee has also kindly agreed to conduct a Remembrance Day Service in St Mary’s, the first time for several years that we shall be having our own service, instead of sharing with Brede.

The monthly session of Messy Church takes place in the Hall at 4pm this Tuesday, November 5.

From 10.30am till 12.30pm in the Hall next Tuesday (November 12) there will be a cookery demonstration by the Mermaid Inn Cookery School, with its Head Chef, Kyle Tatner. Tickets for this event, entitled “Tricks of the Trade”, cost £15 and include tasters, recipes and a glass of wine. They may be purchased by sending a cheque (payable to Udimore Church Hall Trust) to Mrs Nan Hacking, Billingham Farm, Udimore TN31 6BD. The event has been arranged to raise money for Hall funds.