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Valerie Bennett writes: The village bi-annual Barn Dance/Hog Roast went ahead last Saturday on a lovely summer evening. It would have been nice to see more of our villagers at the event, however, over 120 people had, from the comments made, a thoroughly enjoyable evening with the Hog Roast and buffet up to its usual high standard and the ‘Spinning Jenny Band’ as popular as ever. Many newcomers to the village commented on the evening being a friendly family affair which is how the council intended it to be.

The council are very grateful to the volunteers who turned up on both the Saturday and Sunday, their help was much appreciated. Also thanks to Eileen and John Kidby for the loan of their van and for their time, it made transporting all the tables and chairs much easier.

Last week was a sad occasion for all those who have been involved with our village school, Mountfield and Whatlington. I attended two farewell gatherings; firstly I was invited along with our vicar Rev. Kevin Mepham by the children and staff to afternoon tea and cakes. In spite of the occasion this was very enjoyable especially the cakes. Kevin and I were both, as a thank you, given rose bushes; mine was even called ‘Thank You’. A lovely gesture which will be a fond memory, along with the cards from the staff and children.

The second was on the end of term day organized by the Interim Executive Board. Unfortunately they chose to invite people, parents and children who had an association with the school but only going back to September 2013, when there are many, many others who have supported and helped over the years or been part of the school and they should certainly have been invited. However, the afternoon went well including speeches from Penny Gault, Chairman of the Interim Executive Board and the current head teacher Alison Baines who along with the children presented thank you gifts for all they have done, especially in the last 6 months, to Jenny Banford, Jill Davis and Mrs Jones. Bob Macklin had been thanked earlier in the day. The refreshments for the afternoon were funded by the P.T.A. who also funded a bouncy castle and games for the children, which of course were very popular.

Our 165-year-old school, that has been 149 years on the present site will close officially on the 31st August when the clergy and church wardens of Whatlington and Mountfield will take over as trustees and decide the future use of the building and land in accordance with the deeds.

Jeffrey Bridges writes:

We are almost upon the much publicised centenary of the declaration of war in 1914 and it is hard to look back to those days when it was confidently expected that it would be over by the Christmas of that year......

With many events planned for the actual anniversary day of August 4th, Whatlington church are instead holding special events on Sunday 3rd August, the eve of the centenary. The Whatlington War Memorial is of course located inside the church and has been beautifully restored following fire damage in 2010.

There will NOT be a morning service at Whatlington, however at 4pm, local author Charlotte Moore will be giving a talk in the church about the men of Whatlington who died during the war, one of whom was an ancestor of hers. The talk will be followed by a Service of Evensong at 5pm to remember the events of 1914, after which light refreshments will be served in the church.

As usual, car parking will be available just a couple of hundred yards away at the village hall, with disabled parking available at the small private church car park.

Details are also on the Whatlington page of the C of E website ‘A Church near You’: just Google ‘a church near you - Whatlington’ and it should come up!

As always everyone will be very welcome to come along, especially villagers from Whatlington who may like to come and remember those local lads who fought for, and gave their lives for our freedom.

New from the Village Hall: On Thursday, July 24th, Helena “La Leyenda” and her colleagues Tomas de Cordoba and Fernando Reyes from the international Flamenco company, Cancion Gitana, put on an impressive evening’s entertainment, featuring Spanish traditional songs and music and several Flamenco dances, each one portraying a different element of this style and also presented in a different and very beautiful costume, which Helena also makes herself. This was much enjoyed by both children and adults who attended. A further workshop is planned and possibly a series of classes. For further information, please contact Helena on 07963 959262 or helenadot@aol.com.

The Village Hall Committee would like to thank the Parish Council for allowing them to hold a raffle at the Barn Dance last Saturday, in aid of the Hall’s repair and refurbishment fund. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of, firstly, all those who donated prizes, including several local businesses, and secondly all those who bought tickets, the raffle was a great success and raised £365.

Finally, a reminder that in addition to the events in the Church on August 3rd, there will also be a further commemorative WWI event in the Hall on Saturday, August 9th, starting at 3.00pm. The prize-winning local author and former soldier Alan Judd will give a talk on how the war both affected and was regarded by local residents at the time. This will be followed by a lavish tea! There will also be an exhibition of photos, letters, documents and artefacts relating both to those who fought in the conflict and those on the home front here in Whatlington.

Patricia Begg

Riccards Spring