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August 2016

Rona’s Village Round Up – Autumn 2016

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At the end of July Rev. Frank Wright led his last service at St John the Baptist Church after 7 years as our Rector.  Afterwards Frank and Maureen were presented with several gifts and we then went over to the Parish Hall for a delicious farewell lunch.  A tear or two were shed, but mostly it was smiles as we thanked Frank for his ministry amongst us and wished them both well in the next step of their journey together. Since then we have been blessed with several retired vicars helping out with services, including our Archdeacon and the retired Bishop of Chichester, John Hind. We are also getting huge support from our Reader, Martin Brown, Thanks must also go to the Churchwardens, Sue Douthwaite and Paula Caird, who are bearing an enormous load during the Vacancy. 

At the end of August we were blessed with fine weather for the Church Fete on the Rectory Lawn. It was well attended and it made £2300  for Church funds – a big thank you to all those who ran stalls and who attended and enoyed the event.  A “community bench” has taken pride of place iyaben n the Ellesmere Orchard estate after a group of neighbours got together and bought it as a feature.  It is hoped that it will be a focal point to meet, chat or just sit.

The Westbourne Horticultural Show took place again in the Parish Hall on August 14th but this year there was also a Village Garden Party on the Rectory Lawn with stalls, games, local food and drinks, and a delicious cream tea served up by the Westbourne WI ladies.

HAVE YOU SPONSORED A TREE?  You can now sponsor one at the community orchard at Hampshire Farm Meadows, adjacent to the Redlands Grange housing development.  You can remember a family member or mark a special occasion with a tree and add a dedication plate.  It costs £50 to sponsor a tree and dedication plates are £30.  All money will go into orchard funds to buy new trees and maintain the area.  To contact the Greening Team email:

Westbourne Primary School have made a musical video entitled “Tim Peake’s Coming Home” to celebrate his return to earth after his space mission.  The children are hoping that Tim will find time in  his hectic schedule to visit the school he started out at in the not too distant future.  They have supported him throughout his mission and have appeared on TV on several occasions.

Stansted House has purchased a portrait of one of the former owners of the Estate , and returned it to the House after 180 years.  Charles Dixon remodelled Stansted House in the early 19th century and built the Stable Block which remains today. After his death in 1838 the Stansted Estate passed to his stepson, George Wilder.  The painting turned up at an auction in New Orleans earlier this year; the Stansted Park Foundation were alerted, entered negotiations to buy it to bring it back to hang it again at Stansted House. Director of the Foundation, James Cooper, said “ that he had no idea how the painting had got to New Orleans, although many works of art did cross the Atlantic from England in the early 20th century.”

Westbourne was greatly saddened in September to say goodbye to Hazel Kell and Mrs Vidyaben Desai.  Hazel had been on the Parish Council for many years, and had lived for a long time in Woodmancote before moving to Chantry Hall a few years ago. She was a real character, always doing her best to maintain the essence of Westbourne as a village.  She had a wonderful sense of fun and always entered into village life.  She is greatly missed.  Ranjit Desai’s mother was a very dear soul – I always enjoyed meeting her at the annual Curry Suppers which the Desai family have been running for nearly 20 years to raise money for Christian Aid. She cut such a colourful figure in her beautiful saris and so loved being surrounded by her extended family on these occasions.  Our sympathy goes out to Ranjit and his family.

Can I remind you that the Emsworth branch of the RNLI will be holding their Autumn Coffee Morning at the Emsworth Slipper Sailing Club on the Quay on Saturday October 22nd from 0930 – noon.  There will be 2017 diaries and calendars on sale, lots of Christmas cards, produce, nearly new, jewellery and refreshments served upstairs in the Club House with superb views over the Harbour.  If you could bake a cake or biscuits, or make jam or marmalade for us to sell, do let me know – it would be wonderful.

It is not long now before Remembrance Sunday on November 13th.  Westbourne makes a huge contribution to the British Legion Poppy Appeal each year but we are always looking for new members to join the team of helpers who go around the village selling poppies and collecting money.  If you could spare a couple of hours to help out please contact Celia Shannon on 01243 374458 or

This Sunday, October 9th we have just had our Harvest Festival in Church with a Family Service.  Earlier in the week Westbourne Primary School Keystage 2 had held a lovely service in the Church with many children bringing produce.  This will all be taken to Stonepillow, a charity for the Homeless which is based in Chichester.  It is easy often to think of the homeless as people who can’t cope, but so often homelessness is caused by situations that suddenly become out of control and often happen very quickly.  It is dangerous to judge people sleeping rough, better to extend a hand of friendship, not with money, but with goods that will help them to have a warm meal and a roof over their head for a night or two.

As the nights draw in, remember to keep an eye out for your neighbours.  Lots of people who have recently moved to Westbourne say how friendly it is – do let’s keep it that way.

Looking forward the next big village event will be the Remembrance Day Service on Sunday NOVEMBER 13th at 1050 in the Square.  It is a time when the whole village comes together and this year will be even more special as we will have the beautiful new War Memorial with the extra names of the fallen on it.   I am always made so aware of the many in the village standing alongside me, wearing their medals with such pride, knowing that they must be thinking of their comrades who didn’t come home.  We salute them all, the fallen and the survivors.

I have to end on a personal note.  Many of you will know that my husband, Bill, died on September 10th. He suffered a major stroke 5 years ago, leaving him without speech which was a cruel blow to a man who was a witty and fluent conversationalist and directed the village pantomime within a year of arriving in the village.  He then had 2 bouts of cancer, and finally a minor stroke at the end of August.  But his passing was calm and peaceful thanks to the amazing care he received at St Wilfrid’s hospice.  The turnout at his Thanksgiving service on October 3rd was testimony to the regard in which he was held and I would like very much to thank all of you who attended but also to all of you who supported us both through these last 5 years.  It sustained us hugely and was very comforting.  Thank you.    

Rona Musker

Tel: 01243 377186