The Giles Group January meeting was delighted to listen to a presentation by Pauline Cherrett, showing off her interest and talent with 3D Paper Sculptures. While Pauline has been collecting these sculptures, cards and books from around the world, she was fascinated to report that one of the most interesting came from a bookseller in Alton! The 3D talk is difficult to describe in words, so the photos below show some of Pauline’s presentation items passed round, for us all to appreciate at close quarters.
The annual Giles Group Christmas party was held in the Alresford Community Centre on December 14th: the weather was good, so there were plenty of members in attendance, and the town Minibus brought twelve more, thanks to a volunteer driver from the Alresford Pigs. There were also several guests invited, who had helped in many ways to run the group’s activities throughout the year, in the background.
This year we were delighted to have the Acabellas, eight girls in their final years at Perins school, led by Mel Cotton, Head of Music at Perins, to start the party proceedings, with music, carols and their singing. In fact the Acabellas were also to sing in St John’s Church the following evening, so the Giles Group was delighted to have an a preview of the show. Following some traditional carols the girls also sang some modern songs, with items from Phantom of the Opera, plus ‘Walking in the Air’, and ‘Feed the Birds’ with some excellent soloists. This was not just singing, they also demonstrated some ‘Chime Time’ bell ringing, all accompanied and arranged by Mel Cotton. We were grateful to the girls for this excellent show, and also to the boys who carried the equipment and music stands up to the Community Centre beforehand.
Then the afternoon tea started, which also added mulled wine and soft drinks – plus plenty of cakes and varied sandwiches and savouries made or supplied by various Giles Group members. The Christmas quiz was a test for everyone, but as usual there were several tables who scored maximum points. Everyone was delighted to take a “Goddies” bag home, full of more cakes, to enjoy later……
One committee member was seen escaping from the festivities, by the back door, claiming a previously arranged Hospital appointment, and wearing his Scrooge hat! We are also grateful to Jeanne Nicholls, also on the Giles Group Committee, for copies of the photos seen here.
As we come up towards the Christmas party at the December meeting, it is worth looking back to review the last two talks, which have been very different. In September we had David Groeger from the Alresford Chiropractic Clinic at the bottom of West Street, who explained some of the history of his profession. There seemed to have been a few family arguments over how to treat bad backs, but not in his family at least! Once David has put your back, neck or leg back into action, he is a great advocate of using the proper style of walking stick, to keep your head held high. Maybe this should be possible around his practice building now that there are no longer any big holes and mounds of tarmac in the pavement there.
In October we had a very different talk, from Aiden Simons of Ropley, who talked about his experiences while helping several children’s schools in Kenya, which he after when he spent some time in the country monitoring various international development projects. Since then Aiden and his wife have been helping find materials and donations to build schools, and even teaching some of the classes, having become firm friends with the leaders of the local Churches. Aiden was about to depart on another trip before Christmas. The stories he told were very moving, making all appreciate living in a society where such things would not be tolerated, particularly in relation to the teaching of deaf or blind or otherwise disabled children. The members had a collection for Aiden to spend in things needed for the children he was going to visit, which amounted to £70.
For our Christmas party on December 14th, we have part of the Perins school choir coming to sing some Carols, and then will organize a Christmas quiz and raffle. One of the raffle prizes is to be a jar of Galaxy Hot Chocolate powder, which they have kindly donated: the second jar we are using for some hot drinks on the day!
The July outing on Monday 20th included a trip on the Alison MacGregor – maybe not what you would have chosen to do for two hours on a squally misty evening, but it turned out to be a lovely trip all around Southampton port and docks!
Travelling down to Hythe we decided to visit Lepe Country Park to go for a cup of tea and a cake: but while we saw the Isle of Wight as we got out of the Minibus, the squalls started and the island disappeared. Never mind, the Cafe was close by, so we rushed indoors. There we found teapots that were impossible to pour, and some of Simon Chadwick’s books about the adventures of various hedgehogs in the shop. Well Lepe is really in the New Forest, almost, so it seems reasonable.
Back at Hythe in plenty of time for a 6pm start we wondered whether we could escape, and looked for waterproofs and umbrellas…but then were reassured by one of the crew that it had never rained on his trips so far all Summer. So he had something to remember us by at least, because it was pretty wet, and soon they brought out waterproof sheets and lovely crocheted woollen blankets to wrap everyone up.
Diann had said she was really not a very good sailor, and said she was worried about being seasick, but after she had run around the boat taking photos she disappeared into the cabin at the front and was seen to be steering the boat. When she left the steering wheel we seemed to go up and down a lot over some big wash of a ferry, so that was obviously a result of her steering. Later on she was seen washing up, maybe to try and make amends.
The port and the cranes and the stuff on the dockside were fascinating, and really impressive, in terms of the size of the ships and the cargo on board, or inside in the case of the car transporters. After two hours we made David wait in Hythe while most of us ate some fish and chips, and then we meandered back to Alresford via Romsey, a closed road, Southampton General Hospital, and eventually the M3 back to Winchester, arriving quite late!
More pictures are in a separate album, follow the link, printed here:
On the afternoon of 8th June the Giles monthly meeting was the annual Garden Party, once again held in Peter and Fabia Wright’s garden in South Road. We were hoping for a sunny, pleasant day, and the weather was not too bad, although there were complaints when the clouds came over! This year we welcomed Fabia too, and the garden looked really marvellous.
There were about 23 at the party, with 11 on the Minibus and several scooters. Andrew Wilcox stood in for the regular bus driver, and we all appreciated his help.
The tea was made up of lots of different sandwiches, fruit cake, scones with cream and strawberry jam, and even strawberries, followed by strawberries and cream. There seemed to be a strawberry theme really. Many thanks to Nan and Lin, Una, Diann and Gina for all the preparation and food serving!
Peter took lots of embarrassing photos, so look out for those shortly…..
Since you did not need your sun hats, maybe bring them out again next week for the June drive on Monday, which hopefully will be down to the coast somewhere. Plus then there is the Pigs sponsored evening drive the day after, on 16th June.
The Giles Group will be co-ordinating the passenger list for the evening leisure drives in the town Minibus this Summer, which are organised for us free of charge by the Alresford Pigs Association, http://www.alresfordpigs.org, and Alresford Rotary. The trips are for members of the Giles Group – whose members are either disabled, or have restricted mobility – and who would be interested in an evening trip out enjoying the local area. Sometimes we go down to the coast, or the New Forest, to visit a pub for a drink and some conversation, so please contact the Giles Group if you would be interested in coming. There is no charge for the bus fare, but you need to pay for your own drinks! The minibus will collect you from your own home, and deliver you back as long as you can still walk off the bus, anywhere in the local Alresford area.
The May trip is on Thursday 21 May, pick-ups from 1745, to return maybe at 2200.
The June trip is on Tuesday 16 June, pick-up from around 1800-1845 hours, to return at maybe 2200.
The July trip is on Tuesday 14 July, pick-up from around 1800-1845 hours, to return at maybe 2200.
Spaces are limited to 12 people on the Minibus, and members of the Giles Group will get preference! Why not join if you have not yet done so! Walker aids can be carried at the back of the bus, and it has a lift to help people get in if the stairs are too much.
The Giles Group committee wish to express thanks to all the Alresford Rotary and the Alresford Pigs volunteer drivers and helpers on these trips, and to everyone who supports their events in the town, providing the funds to make such evening trips possible.
For any enquiries please contact Nick Denbow, Secretary of the Giles Group, on 734824.
Last September Chris Matcham gave an interesting presentation to the Giles Group about hedgehogs, in Alresford in particular. Now Chris is expanding his interests to cover the whole of Hampshire, as he wants to know where the hedgehogs are!
This weekend the Alton Herald published an article about Chris’s project, which is reported here.
“Chris Matcham, of the Hart Wildlife Hospital in Medstead, is aiming to plot the location of hedgehogs across Hampshire to determine if feeding them attracts the animals to an area to breed. Because hedgehogs are impossible to count, it is difficult to determine if numbers are on the decline. At the Hart Hospital they treat large numbers of hedgehogs, brought in with injuries or rescued from adverse conditions, the majority of which appear to come from the built up areas of Alton in particular, but also from Four Marks and as far afield as Basingstoke and Winchester, but with few from the rural areas.
According to Mr Matcham, this may be because they are more easily seen in town gardens, or it may mean that there are fewer of these animals in the countryside. From his own experience, Mr Matcham knows that in his garden in Alresford, feeding them has resulted in an increase in the hedgehog population. Last year alone he got through 36 kilos (90 tins) of catfood, which he puts out in four feeding stations around the garden, specially constructed to protect the food from cats. By feeding them Mr Markham believes that people can attract the animals to their gardens, where they can then socialise and mate with others, to increase the overall hedgehog population. He says that he does not feed the animals a lot, but likes to think of it more as a “treat”.
For his survey all he is asking people to do is to e-mail him at email@example.com, to say if and when they have seen a hedgehog(s) in the garden or elsewhere, and if the animal(s) has been encouraged to come in for food. The survey would also like to have the name and postcode, so that Mr Matcham can enter the data on a spreadsheet, to draw up a picture of hedgehog locations. He will provide feedback via the Hart Wildlife newsletter – see http://www.hartwildlife.org.uk.
Chris Matcham also makes his own cat-proof, rain-proof, easy-to-clean hedgehog feeders, which can be bought from the Hart Wildlife shop in the Bank car park in Alton. Each one sold provides a £5 donation to the charity.”
The Giles Group meeting for April featured a presentation by Roger Bricknell, about English Canals and Narrowboats. The audience were very impressed with his slide presentation that provided a tour round the UK, seeing the various different lock systems and lifts between water levels. Plus with his simple explanation as to why canals were essential, and the simple pattern of the first canals connecting the ports to the industrial centres, plus also the coal mines to Manchester, and the Oxfordshire farmers to their London market, Roger made the whole development of the canal system understandable.
However some of the 25+ Giles group members present had great sympathy with one lady, an OAP, who was on a party of six adventurous elderly ladies hiring a canal boat for the first time. They travelled 100 yards downstream to the first pub, and following advice from other concerned canal boat users, sat in the pub garden and watched what everyone else was doing: apart from the one lady, who was too ill with sea-sickness to even get off the boat!
Apparently Roger was an unseen, or phantom, canal boat master, steering the boat most of the time for one of the recent TV programmes exploring the waterways while letting it look like the TV presenters did it all – except for the one sequence of film where the boat ricocheted (is that the right word?) off other parked boats after one of the programme celebrities took control. Hopefully Roger will come back and give another talk, as he has other topics where his background knowledge is just as fascinating.
Following tea and cakes organised by the ladies, our substitute driver this month, Andrew Wilcox from the Alresford Pigs, drove some of the audience home in the town Minibus. Many thanks to the Pigs (www.alresfordpigs.org). Another Pigs driver will be taking the Minibus on the outing to a garden centre in Eastleigh on Monday 20 April.
A “Village Agent” volunteer for Alresford has been established by AGE Concern and Hampshire County Council, in a new service to help provide information and access to support services for the elderly in the Alresford area. The Village Agent for Alresford is called Denise, she lives in Alresford, and is available for home visits and discussions to provide confidential and personal help.
Denise is in contact with local services, has access to the accredited Information and Advice service at Age Concern in Hampshire, as well as links to the HCC Hantsweb service – all of which will help get the right information to you as swiftly as possible.
A Village Agent is a volunteer whose objective is to help older people find the right information and services to meet their needs. Examples of advice would cover:
1) Getting out and about. Finding transport for shopping, organized trips, medical appointments, local activities and events. Finding information on Blue Badge parking and concessionary travel.
2) Around the home. How to get a FREE Home Fire Safety check. Providing information on gardening, maintenance, reputable trades people, care options and even how to use a computer!
3) Money Matters. Your entitlements to claim benefits, grants and loans.
Denise visited the Giles Group meeting in March, and is available for further discussions – please give her a call, during the daytime on weekdays, on 07969 376023, or use email, on firstname.lastname@example.org. One call to Denise might save a lot of calls and time searching for the information by yourself. If the call goes to an answering service, Denise is busy with someone else, so please leave a message and she will call back.
On a beautiful Summer’s Day in June, members of the Giles Group in Alresford, with invited friends and supporters, met to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Giles Group for people with disabilities, and their carers – which has been active in Alresford since 1994.
The annual garden party was chosen to stage the event, in the lovely garden of Peter and Fabia Wrigley, one of the founder members of the group. In addition three other founder members were present: Mary Keer, Hazel Warland, and Tessa Purkiss, who are pictured cutting the anniversary cake. Founder members were presented with a wine goblet and rose, in recognition of their effort and foresight in setting up the group. The anniversary celebration cake – made by Jacky Earthy, wife of the current Group Treasurer – was decorated with red sugar poppy flowers: each of the guests present took home a poppy flower as a memento of the day.
Supporters of the Giles Group were invited to the garden party, and enjoyed a lavish cream tea, with strawberries and cream. These guests included representatives from the Alresford and District Community Association, the Alresford Pigs Association, and the Alresford Flower Club. The Group were also pleased to welcome Hampshire Councillor Jackie Porter.
Phil Voce, representing the Alresford Pigs Association and Age UK, Winchester, praised the active nature of the Group, and its 40 members: he raised a toast with best wishes for their next 20 years. The Group has monthly meetings with a guest presenter, a monthly Minibus outing, and holds a weekly drop-in coffee morning in the town.
The picture shows, from the left, Giles Founder members Tessa Purkiss, Mary Keer and Hazel Warland, cutting the Anniversary cake, made by Jacky Earthy, the wife of the current Treasurer of the Giles Group, Clive Earthy
For more information about joining the Giles Group, or just to meet some of us, drop in at the Phair Hall (Community Centre) any Tuesday between 1030 and 12 o’clock and have a coffee. Meetings, usually with a speaker, are held on the second Monday in the month, at the Phair Hall. at 2pm: the programme for these events is shown on the notice board outside the Phair Hall.