WHEN THE WIND CAME: Thirty years ago Waldron citizens went to bed on October 15 and woke on the morning of October 16 to scenes of utter devastation. Trees had fallen in hundreds, blocking the lanes. Court Wood looked as if a giant had swept a broom through it, knocking over beeches two centuries old and leaving them upturned, their rootplates exposed. The side of a house in The Street had fallen off at first floor level and only by the good fortune of the occupant being away from home did she escape injury. Electricity was off in most of the village and telephone lines down. We were virtually isolated. In the eerie quiet of the morning we came out of our houses and took stock, stepping carefully over tiles which had skimmed through the air like stones across a pond and landed in the road, and talking quietly as we tried to take in the scale of destruction. It was a while before we realised the full extent of the damage wreaked across the south and west of England by that freak storm with its winds which sometimes reached over 100 mph. We only later saw pictures of rail lines blocked by fallen trees, great avenues of trees destroyed (an estimated 15 million trees brought down), ships driven on to rocks, 1.3 million buildings damaged or destroyed, cars overturned or blown away, gardens destroyed. But that morning when we crept into the light, all we realised was that there was no question of normality for some days at least, no chance of getting to work or taking the children to school and that if you owned an electric saw you were likely to be very popular, with a queue of people at your door.
NOT FORGOTTEN: Last week we finished what has been a labour of love, completing visits to the graves or memorials of all the village men who died in the Great War of 1914-18 and whose names are carved on our village War Memorial. It has taken three years with two group visits to the Somme and to Ypres, and several visits by smaller numbers of people to graveyards in France and in the UK. In each case (thanks to the careful recording by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission) we were able to identify the grave or the name on a memorial and leave a small cross with a message from the grateful residents of today’s Waldron. Two of our men were buried in Jerusalem and one is commemorated on the memorial at Scapa Flow so those were dealt with at second hand, but all have had a cross placed. Irene Flynn has been chief researcher on this project and has visited every grave, some in out of the way places in rural France and Belgium. No one has been forgotten. The final visit was to Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent, with its memorial edifice rising on the hill above the town, decorated with naval sculptures and with a distant view of the river on its way to the sea. Our last man was Carey Jarvis, Boy Seaman aged sixteen, a life barely lived.
COFFEE MORNING: Here’s a new angle on the classic coffee morning, a model railway display. Ian Dixon will be hosting the morning (10am to noon) tomorrow, Saturday, at Brambles, Dern Lane, Waldron in aid of church funds. As usual, anyone who can help out, making and serving coffee, making or selling cakes or donating raffle prizes should contact Rosemary Kay (01435 812959). I suspect the prospect of a model railway will draw more than the usual number of gentlemen to the event and grandsons and daughters will also be welcome.
TALK: Reverend Canon Paul Cox will give a talk at All Saints’ Church at 7pm on Thursday. Under the title Who Removed the Pews? Paul plans to examine the history of English church fabric and furnishings. There will certainly be some things which will surprise and amuse you in his address. Tickets on the door (£5 each) and all proceeds will go to the Friends of Waldron Churches.
FOUR IN A BAR: The concert by the acapella group Four in a Bar which had to be rescheduled from a date earlier in the year will now take place on November 22 at All Saints’ starting at 7pm. The plan is to finish the concert by 8.30pm so that you can cross the road in time to have a drink or a meal (preferably pre-ordered, to help the kitchen staff) at the Star. Tickets for the concert are £5 and If you still have tickets from the original date they can be used on the new date.
PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION: Richard Fanshawe is organising the Photographic Exhibition again this year. Entries are limited to four pictures per person, preferably A4 size and may be entered by anyone resident in Waldron or connected with the village. Four categories are proposed: landscape and architecture; portraits and people; still life and abstract; nature and animals. Please bring your entries to Rafters, Whitehouse Lane from November 1 onwards. The exhibition will be mounted and available for viewing at All Saints’ Church from Thursday November 23 and there will be a reception with a bar (donations welcome) from 2pm to 6pm on Saturday November 25. There is no fee either to exhibit your work or to view the exhibition.
SERVICES: This Sunday both morning services will be held at All Saints’. The Reverend George Pitcher will preside and preach at 8am Holy Communion, and Tim Hough (Lay Reader) will preside at Morning Worship at 10am, when the Reverend George Pitcher will again preach. This service has been designated as a celebration of the work of all the volunteers who quietly keep the churches running week in, week out. They are people like the bell ringers, the members of the choir, the Holy Dusters, the church path sweepers, the flower arrangers, the coffee and cake makers, the readers and sidesmen and women, and the list goes on and on, a team of unsung heroes, whose achievements will well and truly be recognised at this service.