MEMBERS of ST JAMES' CHURCH decided some time ago to mark our Patronal Festival - St James'
Day - in the middle of May in 2009, instead of at the end of July, when everyone's thoughts
are set on summer holidays. So mid-way between the two May bank-holidays we arranged St James'
On Saturday 9th, we held our Spring Fair. In the past this has been an every-other-year
event, but the gap had stretched to three years, so it was important not to miss 2009.
Peter Hartley bravely stepped up to the mark to get things organised and by the time we had
packed everything away after an enjoyable afternoon of hard work, we counted around 50 people
who had been drawn in to offer their assistance, skills and enthusiasm. We filled both the
Village Hall and the Youth Centre with stalls and activities for people of all ages from 0
to 90+, and, thanks to some warm spring sunshine, were able to offer refreshments al fresco
in the open space between. We were pleased with the sum of £1,700 which was raised, and which
we traditionally share for the work of St James School and the Church. Our thanks are due
to everyone who sent in goods for sale or who came along to support us as our customers.
The following day, 10th May, and still in bright sunshine, we set off from the
Church at noon on a 'Family Walk over Three Commons': Pot Common, Elstead Common and Hankley
Common. We stopped at the Moat for a picnic, then on past Truxford, down across the
golf course to the River Wey and back to St James' Church. Again, over 50 people joined in,
many as family groups, and including people from Aldershot and Farncombe. Whilst the 10-kilometre
walk was not a race, it has to be admitted that several young people 'showed us the way round'
- Patrick, Sheridan and Michael, fit from D.ofE. training at Rodborough were first back, followed
by 11 year-olds Bella and Ellie. One enterprising family set off a bit late then went back
for their bikes and proceeded to go right through the field to come in 3rd!!! On
our return a welcome glass of squash or cup of tea awaited everyone.
Only then, as thirst wore off, stiffness and fatigue set in and we began to contemplate a
hearty supper and an easy evening ahead, did the realisation dawn that Christian Aid Week
was upon us. Soon, we'd be up and on our feet again, together with numbers of our neighbours,
trying to raise money in every road in Elstead. A timely reminder that so many of the
people we were collecting for lead lives typified by exhausting toil, unsafe drinking water,
insufficient food and poor health.