Cooksbridge, Offham & Hamsey

CHURCH SERVICES: Sunday, at St Peter’s Church, 8am Holy Communion, 10.30am Sunday School in the church hall, 10.30am Parish Communion followed by coffee in the hall.

AFTERNOON CLUB: The Monday Afternoon Club will meet on April 11 in Offham Church Hall at 2pm. This month will be a Tea and Chat meeting with a chance to catch up with friends and neighbours while enjoying delicious homemade cakes. The club is for all retired members of the community to drop-in. there is no need to commit to every meeting. Lifts available by calling Judith on 01273 474356 or Caroline on 01273 477151.

HAMSEY CHURCH: The Friends of Hamsey Church has now been formed and they are planning a public launch on Saturday, June 28, from early afternoon until early evening. A variety of activities is being planned to suit many tastes. Please put it in your diary.

IMPORTANT MEETING: The Annual Parochial Church Meeting for St Peter’s Church is to be held on Thursday, April 28, at 8pm in the church hall. The Rector reports as follows: It is always an important meeting when we hear reports on church life during the past year and elect members to the parochial church council. It is however particularly important this year as we have to say a big thank you to Geoff Spinks and Pamela Conlon, our current churchwardens, who will both be stepping down after many years of devoted service (13 years and nine years respectively). They will of course, be continuing as greatly respected members of the congregation, not forgetting Geoff’s work as choirmaster and Pamela as sacristan and legal consultant. There will be an opportunity to thank them in the future for their hard work and support of St Peter’s, metaphorically those are two pairs of huge shoes to fill. We shall be electing their successors at the April 28 meeting so we really need as many members of the congregation there as possible. We really do need two churchwardens by April 28. It is required by law.

TONY SHEPHARD: I am delighted to report that I was able to have a chat with tony recently on the phone at the care home he is in. He misses seeing all his many friends and would love to hear from you and even more have a visit. Still the same Tony, as cheerful as always and it was a great pleasure to be able to speak to him. The care home telephone number is 01273 583923.

COWHAND: Some years ago I wrote about a photograph I had found in one of the many Courthouse albums of my late father-in-law, Bill Clark, pictured in a uniform which I found out was the Legion of Frontiersmen. I knew from the tales he told that as a young man he went out West and lived as a cowboy and he had many interesting tales to tell. Whilst sorting out another pile of correspondence, mostly to do with his beloved Arab horses, I came across a most interesting letter from someone called Escott North, with an unusual address: Casa Lareda, Willow Crescent, Lambley, Notts. Dated February 1977 it reads: Friend Clark, I commence my letter by addressing you as the cowhands and cattlemen did in the old days. You were out West before me, for I spent some time in Kingston, on the Hudson River, about 110 miles from New York and then with my Uncle Spencer at Salem, Massachusetts. I think you must have been at Roswell when Ash Upton was the postmaster there. I heard something about him which was probably to do with the many stories (a lot of them imaginary) connected with Billy the Kid. When you rode into Roswell twice a week for the mail I guess it would have bene Upton that handed it to you. Your enclosure of the booklet about the Coe family orchestra interests me very much indeed as I am a pianist and spend much time at my Bluthner semi-grand piano, and I found my ability as a musician made me welcome in all sorts of places in the US and in Canada. You may remember Evie Green, the famous Gaiety Star. I had the pleasure of being her accompanist when she was practising daily on a voyage from Durban to Plymouth. Now I will turn to the Legion of Frontiersmen. The Legion died out in Britain many years ago, as an organised body, but I have recently discovered that it did not die in Canada. On the contrary it thrived and took on a new life and it has several thousand members, with branches in every province in Canada and a branch also in the United Kingdom. The Legion is known as the Legion of Frontiersmen (Canadian Division). The HQ is in Regina, Saskatchewan and the Commandant is Colonel EF Vigay DCM. The United Kingdom Branch is at Streatham. My number (for they have recently enrolled me as a member) is 8865. In the old Imperial L of F it was 4576. I have just sent photographs of FC Selous and his company of L of F Fusiliers in Tanganyika, taken not long before Selous was killed in 1916 in action. Here, in my humble bungalow, for rolling stones gather little moss, you know, and I’ve kept on rolling until age overtook me. I have a compensation as my bungalow looks out over its lawn and stream in the village Main Street and down it is the constant sound of horses’ hoofs taking me back to the Wild West days. With my warmest good wishes for your health and happiness. Vaya con Dios, amigo, Escott North. Having read that letter I should add that Bill Clark had letters form Pat Garrett the Sheriff in Roswell and he did have a book that had been signed by Billy the Kid, which he unfortunately loaned to somebody. For some years he kept asking me if I could track it down, but I did not have a clue where to start as even now I am still sorting through piles of correspondence. Interesting history for someone to delve into.

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