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June report

The June meeting was chaired for the first time by our new President, Sarah Pennington.  Warm congratulations and good wishes were extended to member Brenda Nelson on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

Members were reminded that walks were continuing, with walkers meeting at 9.15am on Mondays outside the Church.  The Book Group would be meeting on Monday, 26th June, to discuss “The Potter's House” by Rosie Thomas.  The Church Fayre was held on Sunday, 11th June, in the garden of The Old Vicarage.  It was a beautiful day and both children and adults spent a very enjoyable afternoon, with the W.I. stall raising in excess of £120.  It was agreed that a Denman “brick” should be purchased in memory of May Lomas.  The W.I. Autumn Council Meeting would be held in Basingstoke on 31st October and Marie Bawcutt hoped to be able to attend and report back.

Our speaker was Geoff Burch on “The Ramblings of a Railway Man”.  Geoff described his discovery of a lifetime love of steam engines as a schoolboy trainspotter, which led him at the age of 15 to become an engine cleaner at Guildford Central Station – the first step up the ladder to fully-fledged Fireman.  In spite of the long hours of hard and often dangerous work, it was obvious that he had loved every minute of his working life and his audience was able to share his enjoyment of a long-lost, pre-Beeching world of mighty engines with names such as “Red Dragon” and “Mallard” and a more modest world of (sadly) long defunct branch lines, one of which was the local “Sprat and Winkle” line.  Geoff finished his talk with a description of his membership of the “Old Men's Gang”, with thumbnail sketches of the good friends with whom he had worked in those days.  Fortunately, some of the old engines have been restored by enthusiasts such as Geoff and have risen triumphantly from their ashes.  He was warmly thanked for giving us this trip down Memory Lane.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, 12 July, at 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall, when Mrs. Becky Peacock will talk about “The History of the Watercress Line”.  All are welcome.

Beryl Fahy


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