Our Old Hamsey in Bloom fundraising event over the weekend of Saturday 3 to Sunday 4 July was a great success, and raised close to £1,700 over the two afternoons. A talented team of flower arrangers gathered on the Friday morning to dress the church in readiness and it really was a picture. Angie Betteridge’s arrangement for the font was a particular triumph, while Jill Hardy’s lilies filled the chancel with glorious scent.
Local cake-makers had literally baked up a storm and on Saturday, the refreshments team of Angela Murphy, Diane Costall, Harriet Lear and Angie Betteridge, assisted by Jo Hughes, served up a great selection of delicious home-made cakes, Pimms and soft drinks to an appreciative throng, while Rupert Radford-Hardy and Jill Hardy did the honours with great aplomb on the Sunday.
Vicky Mappin ran the Friends information table and sold cards and booklets on the Saturday. Esme Corbould and Rebecca Meitlis both helped with church door stewarding and it really was a pleasure to introduce so many new faces to Old Hamsey Church in bloom…
In the churchyard on the Saturday afternoon Sue Rowland, ably assisted by Lynda Ridge, displayed comprehensive graveyard information and historical documents relating to many who are laid to rest there. Botanist Helen Proctor led two walks around the graveyard explaining its recently adopted re-management scheme, designed to encourage wildlife and bio-diversity. The plant stall, run by Alice Renton and Jodi Crispin, was a popular and attractive money spinner on both days.
The wonderful Patina Wish Tree, created by 460 children from 16 local schools as part of their celebrations of Moving On from primary school, proved a great draw and Caroline Croft and her team were able to display the Tree on both days, albeit briefly, due to the fragile nature of the childrens’ handwritten wishes, brisk breezes and the threat of showers.
A very special thank you must go to the exceptionally talented musicians who so freely lent their skills and time to add an extra dimension to the weekend. Saturday afternoon saw both classical violinist Elizabeth Baldey, and acclaimed guitarist Terry Lees, accompanied by flautist and singer Natasha Norodien, play two superb sets apiece in the chancel – all taking full advantage of Hamsey church’s lovely acoustics.
The charming duo of Jason Loughran and Lisa Jackson played guitars and mandolin and sang for us on Sunday afternoon, followed by a fabulous set from accomplished young guitarist Abi Feldwicke. This was followed by a fascinating talk about the church from County Archivist Emeritus, Christopher Whittick DL, rounded off by an equally interesting question and answer session. Hamsey’s very own guitar virtuoso Mark Slater ended the afternoon with an evocative set played in the chancel .
Others who contributed either fabulous flower arrangements, delicious cakes or parking assistance and other essential back-up were Jane Andrew, Amy Bell, Nick Betteridge, Miki & Terry Brightmore, Rachael Brown, Esme Corbould, Brian Costall, Bob Doran, Andrew Featherstone, Nicky Goodman, Ellen Hockridge, Jo Hughes, Nick Lear, Owena Lewis, Carina Morissy, Jenny Messenger & Nick, Jenny Money, Stephen Piggott, Fiona Rees, Rae Regensburg, Terry & Cynthia Squires, and Chris Quigley, photographer. Offham House and Sutton Hall both very kindly contributed flowers towards the many displays.
Evensong, led by priest in charge the Rev Dunlop, followed at 6pm on the Sunday and featured a small choir conducted by David Powell.
Marion Hughes, Friends of Hamsey Events Committee
FRIENDS OF HAMSEY UPDATE
The Friends Committee have developed a re-management plan for the churchyard and particularly appreciate the enthusiasm of the team of volunteers who turned out on Saturday to bring the land into line with it, for the benefit of the rich wildlife as well as for the people who enjoy visiting the graves and just enjoying the peace and natural quiet of this special place.
Much fundraising is needed to help with repair to the fabric of the church. In the next few months the old rendering on the south walls will be removed and replaced. A combination of failed lime mortar and poor concrete repairs is allowing damp to penetrate. We are also hoping to repair (remake!) several leaking windows, incorporating ventilation hoppers. Once the walls have fully dried out the interior walls can be painted again. We have sufficient funds promised for the render work, but need to raise at least another £20,000 to repair the windows and repaint the interior walls.
We will be holding an Open Day this summer, if Covid restrictions allow, and there will be an art exhibition once again.
If anyone has any ideas for fundraising please do get in touch and if you feel inclined to join our committee do come forward, we are in need of some “young blood”.
FRIENDS OF HAMSEY FEBRUARY ZOOM COMMITTEE MEETING
You may think the Friends of Hamsey committee has gone to sleep - not so! It is zooming, and enthusiasm for saving our wonderful old church is undiminished. The church can’t be open at the moment, but restoration plans carry on.
We have first to make the sad announcement of the death of Caroline Featherstone, after a long illness. Despite her failing health, she chaired the Events committee with great success from the outset, and as one of the earliest members of the Friends of Hamsey committee, was been a valuable link to the Parochial Church Council, of which she was also a member.
Our heartfelt condolences go to her family. Caroline will be greatly missed.
At the February Zoom meeting of the committee, the various matters discussed included the recent expert investigations into possible wall paintings – some painted wording will be preserved, but nothing really interesting has been discovered. So once the exterior of the church has been fixed, we will be able to re-paint the inner walls.
It was discovered that the Shiffner wall memorials near the altar were no longer safely attached, so work has been done on these, and all is well.
Leaking windows are a problem, and glaziers have been approached to put this right.
An exciting project is a change in the management of the graveyard. These areas are regarded as ideal places to encourage wild-life of all kinds, and plans are afoot, with expert advice, to change the mowing pattern at Hamsey. There will be with mown paths for access but no overall mowing until plants have seeded. We need volunteers to help rake up the mowings. A large number of wild flowers have already been identified, and we hope for more butterflies and bees to enjoy them
The Visitor’s book in the church shows just how many people are attracted to it, and church opening at week-ends will resume as soon as this is permitted.
This led to a discussion on finding someone else as energetic and committed as Caroline Featherstone to lead the fund-raising which is so necessary for keeping the work on Hamsey going. Volunteers will be warmly welcomed, and if you would like to lead or join the Events committee, please get in touch! An Open Day in the summer, possibly an art exhibition, and concerts could be the next things.
Younger members on both these committees are also wanted, so that some of the older ones can retire!
The committee talked about applying to the National Lottery for a grant for the work needed on Hamsey church. This would be complicated and time consuming - if necessary we would have to fund someone professional to the do the actual application, but we need someone to master- mind the plan. There must be some expertise available in Cooksbridge, Hamsey, Offham or Lewes? Once again, volunteers, please!
Committee: Nick Lear (Chair) Diane Costall, Bob Doran, Rev. Anne Dunlop, Andrew Featherstone, Jo Hughes, Marion Hughes, Harriet Lear, Angela Murphy (Hon. Sec), Alice Renton, Sue Rowland.
We are pleased to announce that the Hamsey reroofing project has won two Sussex Heritage Trust (www.sussexheritagetrust.org.uk) awards: in the Building Craft category and also in the Ecclesiastical category.
The judges made the following comments:
Building Craft: “Well-executed roof restoration done to high standard with imaginative re-use of clay tiles and Horsham slates which will improve sustainability, combined with sensitive and effective treatment of critical works to establish the structural integrity of the building. Well done!”
Ecclesiastical: “A thoroughly considered approach to the project, demonstrating detailed knowledge of materials, new and reused. A collaborative approach with architect and client which successfully tackled issues that arose. Finished job enhanced an already beautiful building.”
The work was carried out in the Spring of 2017 by Clarke Roofing Southern Ltd