Archive of Parish News

A Packed St Thomas' for a wonderful Nine Lessons and Carols

The Nine Lessons & Carols Service was held at St Thomas' on Sunday, 17th December.  The music was superb with the choir and the brass ensemble, and the candlelight and readings contributed to making it a beautiful and meaningful service for the over 380 people who attended.  You can listen to the service by clicking here:

This exciting night was followed on Wednesday, 20th December by the first "Christmas Carols & Fun" evening held at St Thomas' and led by Gordon Tyerman.  He was supported ably by a team of actors from the parish who played the part of the many characters in the Christmas story.  It was an evening of humour and song, as the characters gave their views on key events. It reminded us that they were real people with real emotions who witnessed the happenings. 

Congratulations to the team for producing a fun and thought-provoking evening.

Christmas gets going in The Bourne

There has been a real Christmassy feel this week in the parish.

Brambleton celebrated a wonderful 'Christingle with a Ukrainian flair'  and St Martin's had their well-attended traditions Carols and readings service. 

Many people from the community came to both of these and enjoyed both joining in the singing and tucking in to the refreshments after the service.




A very special Evensong

This week we were joined by Dr Isobel Pinder, a trustee of the Cathedral Music Trust and John Halsey from the RSCM for a special evensong service.

Our choirs were all together for the wonderful service to celebrate the achievement of the grant awarded to our Music by the Cathedral Music Trust.   We were one of seven places of worship awarded a share of £30,000 after winning a Church Choir Award, a scheme run by the Cathedral Music Trust in partnership with the Royal School of Church Music.  The award is designed to support Choirs that sing less frequently than the choral foundations that are usually supported by the Trusts's main grant programme.  Congratulations to all those involved in our Choirs.

If you missed the service, you can view it here:


Advent Procession 

The Advent Procession and carol service on the evening of Advent Sunday was a magical experience. 

Starting in darkness, the choir sang a Palestrina antiphon from the back of the church then while the clear voices of the girls sang a carol, the candlelight passed from person to person all round the church.  A series of antiphons, readings, advent hymns sung by the whole congregation and choir anthems followed, as the choir moved slowly around, first to the font, then to the side-chapel and finally to the choirstalls. 

Don’t miss it next year. 


Congratulations to Freddie

Congratulations to St Thomas' choirboy Freddie on reaching the finals of the junior section of the BBC's Young Chorister of the Year 2023. 

Sadly, he didn't win, but just getting to the final is a great achievement, in competition with cathedral choristers who sing in their choirs every week or even daily.

Wynne Evans, one of the judges, commented that Freddie "has one of those voices that touches your heart".  Laura Wright, another judge, noted the purity of Freddie's voice and the joy of singing that he conveyed.  The judges all agreed that the three choristers have something special and a bright future ahead.

We wish Freddie all good fortune with his future singing.  In reaching the finals of Young Chorister of the Year, Freddie is following in the footsteps of fellow St Thomas' chorister Cai Thomas, who was a finalist in 2019.                                           Photo courtesy of BBC Photographer Tricia Yourkevich

Tilford's December Magazine

Click on this link to go to their current magazine

Tilford Parish Magazine - December 2023

Bishop Chris sheds light on the Old Testament

The Rt Revd Bishop Chris Herbert gave a fascinating talk at St Thomas' on Sunday, with a real insight into understanding aspects of the Old Testament as we prepare for Advent.

You can hear a recording of it (53 minutes) by following the link, and clicking the 'Play' button on the first track of the page (clearly labelled). 

Click here


Congratulations to our young contender for BBC 'Young Chorister of the Year'

St Thomas' choirboy, Freddie, is one of three young singers from all over the country who were successful at the semi-finals and have been chosen as junior finalists for the BBC's Young Chorister of the Year 2023. This is a great achievement!

The finals will be broadcast on "Songs of Praise"  on BBC One at 1.30pm on Sunday 3 December.

Congratulations, Freddie, and our best wishes to you for the finals!                                                   Photo courtesy of BBC Photographer Tricia Yourkevich

A Wonderful Thanksgiving Evening, and a successful fund-raiser!

Many parishioners and guests enjoyed a fun evening of food, fellowship and celebration at our Thanksgiving fundraising event held on 17 November. 

Over 80+ people enjoyed a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings, a lovely musical interlude with Jane Sylvester, (where many sang-along to the music!), and also some additional entertainment with a group of our wonderful Choir men who performed a medley of American themed numbers. 

An auction and raffle also added some fun, with many taking home some great prizes.   A huge thanks to all those that donated prizes and participated in the event.  The total amount raised for the roof repairs was  ✨£4,116 ✨.


Introducing Revd Haydon Wilcox

The Revd. Haydon Wilcox preached a few weeks ago at both St Thomas' and St Martin's. In anticipation that we shall be seeing more of him in the future here is a little account of his ministry.

Born in Chelmsford, Haydon became a Christian at 17 following a conversion experience.  Rather than going straight to university he went onto Tunbridge Wells to work at Burrswood, a centre advancing the ministry of healing within the church.  From there he moved to become a member of an interfaith community attached to Coventry Cathedral.  He started management training with WHSmith and after a few years ended up in Bristol, where he responded to his long standing vocation to the priesthood.  

Three years of training at Salisbury and Wells Theological College resulted in his curacy back in Bristol.  From there he became an incumbent to the colliery town of Hucknall, Nottinghamshire where he was involved in social regeneration.  From there he moved to Bilsthorpe, another colliery community, where he ministered to four rural parishes.  It was at Bilsthorpe that he ministered to the last colliery disaster in the UK and became committed to the regeneration of mining communities in Nottinghamshire, following the closure of the many collieries throughout the country.  In 1999 he moved to the Guildford Diocese to serve as the Incumbent of St. Michael’s, Aldershot,  Having cared for his mother for a number of years, the decline in her health caused him to resign from the stipendiary ministry some five years later, in order to support his mother until her death.

Some 35 years ago Haydon trained as a psychodynamic counsellor, so using these skills, combined with his training as a coach and a trainer in experiential learning, he was able to develop a portfolio ministry.  Haydon has led many pilgrimages around the world.  As Chaplain to the Sisterhood of St. Peter’s, Woking and to their retreat centre of St. Columba’s House, he expressed his commitment to the development of spirituality through spiritual accompaniment, the leading of retreats and quiet days.  His work as a trainer, especially in the advancement of theological learning and reflection has taken him into many international opportunities.

Haydon has ministered in many parishes throughout the Diocese of Guildford and was very involved in the early establishment of the Church on the Heath.  His commitment has been to the personal growth and confidence of the laity, through the development of spirituality, the mature understanding of faith and the support of mental health.

Project Wenceslas:   Farnham Lions request help with fuel bills.

Although fuel prices are a little lower than last year, Government assistance is more limited and will only partly cushion the blow so there is still a significant gap to be filled. Coupled with the general rise in the cost of living, this is going to make this a very difficult winter for many families in the Farnham and Haslemere areas. Consequently, for the 12th year, Farnham Lions are proud to be launching Project Wenceslas again. Lions are inviting those who receive a Winter Fuel Payment and who feel they don’t need it to donate it to the Farnham Lions Wenceslas Fund to help local people and families who will be finding it hard to keep warm and cook in the coming months. We also welcome donations to this cause from anyone else who would like to help. Last year Lions distributed over £57,000 in respect of families with fuel debt referred to us by Citizens Advice and the Farnham Support Fund as well as a large number of discretionary grants to needy families identified to us by Foodbank, local Barnardo’s Family Centres, Home-School link workers, churches and other agencies. These payments enabled over 400 people to have hot meals and stay warm over last winter. Every payment is made directly to the utility companies, ensuring that ALL monies received are spent on gas and electricity.
Donations can be made to or by cheque (payable to Farnham Lions Club CIO and endorsed WFP on the back) sent to Farnham Lions Club, 45 Edward Road, Farnham GU9 8NP

Big audience for the Choir's post-tour concert

The St Thomas’ choirs re-performed their concert programme from Belgium for the benefit of a large audience of supporters in the church on the evening of September 23rd.  The music covered a range of composers and where possible, there was a Belgian connection to the music. 

The singing was splendid, and the wonderful evening was rounded off by Director of Music, Jordan Theis’, thanks to the choirs, Andrew Harrap, the assistant organist who played for the tour, and the chaperones and organisers, particularly Janey Thomas, James Harrison and John Edwards.  Finally the choristers presented flowers to Jordan and the ladies, before a retiring collection was taken for next year’s tour.  Read a full report on the concert here.

Uplifting Choir Alumni Concert

A large and enthusiastic audience enjoyed a hugely varied programme of music that ranged from Purcell, Handel and Vivaldi, through Schubert, Chopin and Liszt to Elgar, Coleridge Taylor and Britten. 

There were outstanding voice and piano solos by some of our most talented recent chorister alumni and current choristers, expertly accompanied by Andrew Harrap, the Assistant Organist.  The choristers were joined by members of the Choir Back Row for ensemble pieces. 

Generous donations from the audience amounted to some £750, to be split between the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Choir Tour Fund. 

(A recording is available on CD from the Parish Office for £5, with the proceeds benefitting the Choir Tour Fund.) 


Choir wins prestigious RSCM award 

Seven places of worship are to receive a share of £30,000 after winning a Church Choir Award, a scheme run by the Cathedral Music Trust in partnership with the Royal School of Church Music.  One of this year's recipients includes our very own St Thomas-on-The Bourne Choirs.  The award is designed to support Choirs that sing less frequently than the choral foundations that are usually supported by the Trusts's main grant programme.  Congratulations to all those involved in our Choirs.

Congratulations Freddie!

One of our Choristers, Freddie, has reached the semi-finals of the Young BBC Chorister of the Year 2023 competition.  You may have come to the concert he staged earlier this year with his friends.
The next stage of the competition will be broadcast in the Songs of Praise slot in November, so watch out for details.  We wish him all the best!

Freddie is the second chorister from our choirs to be nominated in the past few years, and highlights the wonderful choir we have under Jordan's direction.


September 2023 Open Garden supports St Thomas' choristers

On 10 September, an Open Garden event was hosted by Lenka and James Cooke, the parents of a former St Thomas’ chorister, under the National Gardens Scheme. They generously donated the £340 raised by the sale of plants and tea / coffee / cake to St Thomas’, to be used to support the choristers; it will be used to help pay for a vocal coach.

Choir sings at wedding in Hereford

On 9 September, members of the Choir Back Row enjoyed an outing to Herefordshire to sing at the wedding of Abigail Morris, daughter of our former Vicar. Rev John Morris officiated at the ceremony, which was held in the church of St Peter in Lugwardine, where Abigail was baptised and John was first Vicar.

Service of Thanksgiving for the Life of Sarah Carr-Archer, 2 September

We regret that there were difficulties with the sound on the original recording of this service.  It has been possible to restore the sound throughout, except for the instrumental pieces.
Please find this version here

August 2023 Choir returns from Belgium

The choir enjoyed a highly successful tour to Belgium over the August Bank Holiday weekend – their first European tour since Venice in 2018. 

A party of 11 boys, 10 girls, and 16 adult singers undertook the tour, led by Jordan Theis, the Director of Music, and supported by chaperones.  The Choir sang concerts in the cathedrals of Bruges and Ghent and the great church of St Martin in Kortrijk, accompanied on the organ by Andrew Harrap, the Assistant Organist.  The “high standard” of singing was greatly appreciated by the large and enthusiastic audiences (including supporters from St Thomas’). The demanding repertoire included works by Bach, Grieg, Parry, Schubert and many others, ranging from the 15th to the 21st centuries and including music by Belgian and Flemish composers.

A very moving high point of the tour was the especially warm welcome in Kortrijk, where the choir also sang at Mass: the priest invited Rev Sandy Clarke to join him in giving the Final Blessing, and the congregation gave a standing ovation at the end of the service. 

The Choir worked hard in rehearsals as well as in the performances. But there was also the opportunity for sight-seeing during the tour, as well as a visit to a theme park, before returning home.  Read the Tour report by the the two Head Choristers Bethany and Freddie here.  Have a look at some tour photos here.

News from Tilford, part of our United Benefice

It is great to share news from within the Benefice and you can access the latest issue of their lively magazine by clicking the link below
Tilford Parish Magazine - September 2023 (flipbook format)

The return of the organ at St Thomas'

A major refurbishment of the organ was completed in July 2023 by Nicholson and Co in Malvern, the manufacturers of the original organ in 1911. The total cost of the project, including the associated scaffolding, was £58,400, below the budgeted cost. Both Nicholson and Veryan, the scaffolders, were very professional and accommodating in the work they carried out for St Thomas’ and fully demonstrated their competence for such work. Services with organ accompaniment resumed on Sunday 9 July, as scheduled. This is the first major work on the organ since 1990, which was also carried out by Nicholson and Co.

Much of the work has been to address issues that become evident only when there is a problem or which can be concealed from an audience by a skilful organist. For example, some of the original leatherwork in the bellows (from 1911!) has been replaced, and some of the mechanical action has also been repaired, so there are no longer a few missing notes! One new pedal stop and an extra octave of pipes have been added, which means that the pedal department will have a greater degree of independence. The pipes have also had a thorough clean and the sound is much brighter than it was before. The benefit of undertaking such a major overhaul when it is required is that it will ensure that the organ will be playable for many years to come with minimal maintenance, so that it can continue to support worship and concerts. In the opinion of Julian Cooper, the Organist, it is a good instrument: its mechanical key action is far superior to electric action, because it affords the player a high degree of control of the sound, and the range of stops is both sensible and interesting, so allowing a wide range of music to be played.

In an age where many churches have opted for an electronic solution (which is cheaper in the short term, but not the long term), it is a considerable achievement for the Parish that we have both managed to retain such a good instrument, and been willing to raise the necessary funds to maintain its quality into the future. The refurbishment of the organ makes it ideal for enhancing the services at St Thomas, and also ensures that visiting choirs and other musicians will continue to wish to use it for concerts. The refurbished organ is also ideal as a teaching instrument, because the mechanical action teaches a high degree of discipline in performance.

In short, this has been a timely, worthwhile and highly successful project. We owe huge thanks to Mike Barter for leading the fund-raising efforts and to Max Hubbard for acting as project manager, both essential for making the whole project possible.

'Travelling Evensong' with St Thomas' Choir

Between Easter and early July, the organ was out of commission while it was being refurbished.  During this period music for services at St Thomas’ was limited to either voices accompanied with piano, or unaccompanied voices alone.  The choir’s repertoire made this feasible for morning services, but quite impractical for the twice-monthly Evensong.  Rev Sandy Clarke, the Vicar, and Jordan Theis, the Director of Music, made use of this opportunity to reach out more widely to engage with churches in the local community. 

The innovation of 'Travelling Evensong' was introduced, with the choir singing Evensongs during the summer term hosted by St James’ Rowledge, St Joan of Arc Catholic Church Farnham, St Andrew’s Farnham, and St Peter’s Wrecclesham.  The services brought together the congregations of St Thomas’ and the host church, and enabled St Thomas’ Choir to lead worship in a number of new settings.  Our hosts warmly welcomed us, and we all benefitted from the experience.  The experiment was so successful that we plan to continue it in future, most likely in the summer term, which is the most suitable season of the schedule at St Thomas’.

Music for Matti Charity Concert

In October 2021 the mother of Matti Carrington, one of the youngest choirboys at the church of St Thomas-on-The Bourne, gave him an amazing, life-giving gift, one of her own kidneys.  The operation was carried out at Southampton Children’s Hospital and delivered Matti from years of dialysis treatment.  Recovery was a long, hard rollercoaster for both mother and child but Matti, eight years old, is now able to run around, play sport, and join in music-making like other children, although he will always need medication, care, and monitoring.  The family describe it ‘as a rough ride along a never-ending road, which is why Southampton Children’s Hospital is such a big part of our lives and we would like to give something back to help others.’  

To celebrate and raise funds for the hospital, a charity concert of light entertainment was given by the Carrington Family Quintet and friends at St Thomas-on-The Bourne Church on Thursday 13th July.  The main fund-raising thrust was to raise money to support the Southampton transplant unit and particularly to send the children treated at Southampton to the transplant games in Coventry later this summer.  Exercise is vital for the replacement kidneys to function well and it is inspiring both to see what the kids can do and to see them so happy.

Matti’s brother and sister could not visit him in hospital, so they set up an online family quintet, Dad on the piano, Mum and sister Emily on oboe, clarinet and French horn, Toby on the cello and Matti in hospital joining in on a drum made out of boxes supplied by Baxters hospital equipment company.  The wide choice of music had something for everyone in the packed audience which has resulted in over £3000 for the hospital.  Read the full report here

Open House at The Vicarage

Last Saturday, 24th June, the vicar, Revd Sandy Clarke, held an Open House at the Vicarage for the Bourne Parish congregation. It was a lovely afternoon with a tour of the house followed by a delicious tea in the Vicarage garden. Beautiful and mature trees provided shade in the intense heat of the day. About 120 people had a
wonderful afternoon. Thanks go to the washer-uppers, bakers and tables and chairs movers who made the event such a success, and to the vicar for her hospitality.


38 years and £200,000 for Christian Aid

Mavis Golding, a member of St Thomas-on-The Bourne Church, has been masterminding and directing the parish’s collections for the Christian Aid charity since 1985, a total of thirty-eight years.  The vicar, the Rev. Sandy Clarke, calculated that during that time the sum of over two hundred thousand pounds has been raised to relieve poverty in parts of the world suffering from natural disasters and warfare. 

Mavis has run a team of dozens of street collectors distributing envelopes house to house through the parish during Christian Aid Week in May, but also arranges a series of six weekly concerts at the church leading up to Easter.  The artistes are local musicians whose performances are much appreciated and Mavis has another team who provide a simple lunch after the concert.  Thirty-eight years is a long time, however, and Mavis has finally decided to hand over the reins.  In recognition of her devoted service, she was presented with a bunch of flowers amid a storm of applause from the congregation on Sunday, although she protested that the credit should really go to her many helpers. 
The picture shows her in the beautiful church gardens afterwards with her husband Frank, who has headed up the gardening team for a very long time.


St Thomas' Choir travels to Tilford, and the RSCM visits St Thomas'

Jordan Theis took the St Thomas' choir to All Saints, Tilford last Saturday (10th June) as part of All Saints' on-going series of monthly, Saturday morning "cafe" concerts. 
The choir gave a spell-binding performance of a number of items from their extensive repertoire.  A particular gem was Finzi's "God is Gone Up" which certainly raised the roof!  Andrew Harrap accompanied them on the organ in a number of pieces and also played a solo organ piece by William Mathias. 

The concert was recorded and can be viewed on YouTube using this link:

Well done choir and many thanks for giving up your Saturday morning. Hope we can repeat this next year !
A large appreciative audience and a bread and soup lunch helped raise over £350 pounds for church funds.  To read the latest issue of All Saints' magazine click here

What a weekend of musical treats and the visit of Hugh, CEO of the Royal School of Church Music, and his deputy, at church in the morning was great. Then they changed and set off in their lycra to do 96 miles on a tandem!

Sunday June 11th was the Royal School of Church Music’s designated Music Sunday.  To mark the 96th anniversary of the RSCM the Director Hugh Morris and Deputy Director Paul Hedley rode a tandem bicycle from Addington Palace in Croydon, the former home of the RSCM, to Sarum College in the Close of Salisbury Cathedral, its current location.  This journey is 96 miles long and is a fundraiser for the work of the RSCM in supporting and providing training for church music for many denominations and affiliated schools.  On the way the riders stopped at various churches where the choirs play an important role and St Thomas-on-The Bourne in Frensham Road, Farnham was honoured to be among the chosen ones.

After taking part in a ‘Come and sing’ event at St. John’s, West Byfleet on Saturday 10th June, Hugh and Paul cycled to Farnham in the afternoon and spent a convivial evening in Farnham at a local hostelry with the adult choristers, choir parents and church members.  The next day they came to the pre-service rehearsal at St, Thomas’ on Sunday morning to talk to the young choristers.  At the service they described the work of the RSCM to the Sunday morning congregation, with a variety of splendid music provided by the 40-strong choir and a retiring collection for the RSCM.  Soon afterwards, the tandem set off on the next leg of the journey to Winchester, accompanied by the Vicar, the Rev. Sandy Clarke, and some of the younger choirmen and older boys.  The aim was to get to Winchester Cathedral, the next leg of the journey to Salisbury, by 3 o clock in time for Evensong.

Rev David Adams celebrates 60 years as a Priest

The Revd David Adams had something to celebrate last Sunday 4th June.  He was taking the Eucharist at St Martin’s and had reached the time for notices when he was genuinely surprised by Deputy Church Warden, Brian White.  Brian asked that everyone assemble outside after the service where they would find many friends from within the Parish, complete with wine and cake, to celebrate David’s wonderful achievement.

Emerging from the St Martins’ church door into brilliant sunshine he was greeted by a large crowd from St Thomas’ and Brambleton, a celebratory cake, glasses of prosecco and urns of coffee.  David was quite taken aback.  After many greetings and glasses filled, Sandy proposed a lovely toast to David and told us much about his illustrious career that many of those present would not have known.

Ordained priest in 1963, David spent the first four years of his ministry in Belfast before taking on various chaplaincies in Europe, subsequently beginning his association with St Thomas’ when Paul Barber became its Vicar in 1978.  He had married and moved to Surrey in 1970 and taught at St Pauls, Addlestone, before becoming the much-respected Head Teacher of Weydon High School.  Somehow, he still found time to be Chaplain to the late Queen Elizabeth for 14 years.

Dear David, the whole Parish welcomes you to preach at any venue, at any time, but please learn to take things a little easier.  We love to hear you instruct us to “Sit ye down” and will be able to do so hopefully for many years to come, but - just occasionally – do take your own advice.

Freddie and Friends' Concert

Freddie and Friends' concert on Sunday 21 May was a great success.  Freddie led the programme with his friends Lowe Wady on piano, Emily Carrington on oboe, Toby Carrington on cello and two duets with Cai Thomas accompanied by Rob Lewis.  The concert was well attended and streamed live, and within a few days had over 220 views!  Over £650 was raised to go towards The British Heart Foundation and St Thomas’s Choir Tour Fund.




Brambleton Community Fridge celebrates its second anniversary

Friday May 2nd saw the second anniversary of the founding of the Brambleton Hall Community Fridge, a brainchild of the Rev. Sandy Clarke, Vicar of The Bourne. This project, which has gone from strength to strength, involves donations of unused food and other items from supermarkets and shops, keeping costs down for people, including our Ukrainian guests, and avoiding waste. Donations are mainly from Waitrose but Tesco Express, Cedrus and Bookers also contribute. Individuals can also give. Cutlery, china, bedding, furniture, clothing, bric a brac, jewellery and children’s toys are all gratefully received. Many of these items are distributed to people in need, although anyone can put in an offer. Over the last two years 321 donations have been collected, 18385.00 meals given away, 7701kgs of food saved from waste and 24643.00kgs of CO2e emissions saved. This has made a serious impact on the environment as well as benefitting people’s lives.

The fridge is run by volunteers from the parish. On Friday sixteen of the volunteers, including collectors and deliverers, were joined by Rev. Sandy and Alice Butcher, community lead for Waitrose, Farnham for a celebratory glass of fizz, which the people queueing also enjoyed. This accompanied the excellent free home-made cake which church volunteers provide every week and Alice’s husband, who was also present, took the photographs. Many thanks to Waitrose especially for their generous assistance.


Coronation Celebrations in The Bourne Parish

A hand-count at St. Thomas-on-The Bourne’s main Sunday morning service on May 7th revealed that about 97% of the congregation had spent the actual Coronation Day glued to the television, so the parish festivities had to happen the following day.  

The fun began at the all-age service, when some of the children presented various items of regalia to King Jordan I, otherwise known as the Director of Music, and very well they suited him.  Afterwards the real king was toasted enthusiastically with prosecco and orange squash in the centenary rooms.

Then the action moved to the afternoon, when the choirs gave a magnificent concert of music composed for the various coronations of the twentieth century, concluding with an anthem specially composed for Charles III, The Mountains shall Bring Peace by Joanna Forbes L’Estrange.  Ranging from the splendour of the choir’s rendering of Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Parry’s I Was Glad to the mellow sweetness of Richard Lloyd’s View me, Lord, the singing and playing was superb, and much appreciated by the large audience.  Click here to watch the video of the concert.  A sumptuous cream tea provided mainly by choir parents in the interval, including a right royal cake, only added to the delight. 

A particular feature of the concert was face-painting and crown-making activities provided at the back of the church for the smallest children, often younger siblings of the choristers ably supervised by slightly older non-singing siblings, which meant that parents could relax.  Proceeds from the concert will be divided between subsidising the forthcoming choir tour to Bruges and Ghent and repairing the roof.

Meanwhile at Brambleton Hall tickets for a coronation community tea sold out days before the event. The tea  was much enjoyed and appreciated by all those present. Many thanks to the many people who made all this possible.

Eat and Speak Lunch

The recent Eat & Speak Lunch at St Thomas' on 20th April was a resounding success.  Following the delicious soup and pudding meal, John Atkinson gave an informative talk on Water.  What a lot there is to know about water, especially at the current time with the massive problems caused by climate change, pollution, too much demand and the use of unsuitable land for building.  John covered all of these, speaking for well over half an hour, without notes.  He demonstrated that he is a real expert in his field. 

People were very interested, their minds stirred and lots of questions were asked and answered on topics such as the health benefits of hard water, the work being done at the reservoir by the church to stop pollution by animals, the problem of low water levels in rivers and many more.  It was a thoroughly informative and thought-provoking talk.  Our thanks to John.




The Organ at St Thomas' Restoration Project

We are pleased to say that the organ restoration project has started and scaffolding has been erected within the church.  The organ builders, Nicholsons, are removing organ components and parts and equipment will pass through the lantern and we expect light trucks to be parked in the front car park.  The scaffolding will remain while Nicholsons perform the actual restoration work offsite.  We will be without an organ through to early July but the church will remain fully operational.

Celebration dinner with the Ahmadiyya Muslin Women’s Association

On Friday, 10 th March, the day after International Women’s Day, a group of women from the Bourne and Tilford Benefice and from churches in the surrounding area were invited to a celebration dinner for the centenary of the Ahmadiyya Muslin Women’s Association which was held at the Muslim community in Tilford.  We were told that this community and the global community is led with kindness and humility by His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.  He highlights the role of religion in the promotion of peace.
After going through a security check, the visitors were able to visit inside ( after removing shoes) and the outside of the mosque, a beautiful building, and admire and photograph the two minarets, highlighted by green and purple lighting in the darkness.  They then looked at the display of information in the large marquee, about the history and philosophy of the Women’s Association. Women are equal to men and have a great deal of autonomy whilst preserving their modesty and chastity.  Everyone then took their seats for dinner.
After prayers, poetry and speeches, including a short message of thanks from Revd Sandy Clarke, a meal of mainly Indian inspired food was served much to everyone’s delight.  Throughout the evening our hosts were extremely welcoming and friendly and their guests had an interesting and most enjoyable evening.



Desert Island Discs with guest Revd Sandy Clarke

Revd Sandy Clarke was interviewed by Sue Leach in a staging of Desert Island Discs at All Saints Tilford last Saturday, 18th February.

You can view it here!





Open Your Garden for Phyllis Tuckwell or Help in the Shops

It may be cold outside, but local charity Phyllis Tuckwell is looking ahead to the summer months, when flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, and its Open Gardens event throws wide its gates!
Phyllis Tuckwell’s Open Gardens invites the green-fingered among us to open their garden gates and welcome in members of the public to browse around and admire their gardens, for a small fee which would be donated to Phyllis Tuckwell. Gardens of any size or design can be part of this event, and Phyllis Tuckwell is particularly looking for unique and interesting gardens which will attract lots of visitors. You might have a courtyard filled with terracotta pots bursting with blooms, or a few countryside acres with woods and a pond. Many of the gardeners who have taken part in the past have also sold refreshments and plants to boost the money raised for this local charity, which provides supportive and end of life care for local patients and families who are living with an advanced or terminal illness, such as cancer.
The Open Gardens event includes gardens across West Surrey and North-East Hampshire, and will take place between May and August 2023.
Every day, Phyllis Tuckwell supports over 250 patients, relatives and carers - in their own homes, in the community, at the Hospice in Farnham and at the Beacon Centre in Guildford, but as the NHS/Government usually only covers 20% of its costs, it has to raise over £25,000 a day to do this, and therefore relies heavily on fundraising events such as this.
If you’d like to share your love of gardening and inspire others this summer, Phyllis Tuckwell would love it if you would open your garden gate and help them to raise vital money to help fund their care. To find out more or sign up for the Open Gardens event, please contact Phyllis Tuckwell’s Fundraising team on 01252 729446 or email

Could you give a few hours of your time to support hospice care? Local charity Phyllis Tuckwell is looking for more volunteers to help in its 17 wonderful shops, which are a treasure trove of good quality, low-price second-hand clothes, bags, shoes, jewellery and furniture, to name just a few of the items they stock. It also needs volunteers for its fabulous new retail venture in Farnborough, which will open in early March.  If you would like to find out more about volunteering for Phyllis Tuckwell, please contact its Voluntary Services team on 01252 729400 or email

Jeremy Hunt meets the Brambleton Fridge team

Imagine the surprise when Julia Pallant and Liz Owen went to collect the Friday Waitrose donation for the Community Fridge only to find Jeremy Hunt waiting to give it to them?  Waitrose had asked our vicar, Sandy, to make sure that she attended our collection on 13 January but to maintain total secrecy as an MP, who is also chancellor of the exchequer, needs greater security.  It was wonderful to share our story of the Community Fridge and Warehouse as well as having the chance to say thank you again to Waitrose. 

Click here for the full article in the Herald

Can you help the Community Warehouse and Fridge at Brambleton? 

The Warehouse:  We are looking for any or all of these:
Single beds (unmarked mattress)
Household and kitchen equipment
Pudding bowls
Tea Towels

If you are able to drop off at Brambleton Hall on Friday morning from 11am or contact Meg Daniels or Keith Newman, via Parish Office 01252 715505.

The Fridge:  If you find that you have too much produce or bread to use up before it goes off, why not bring it to the Fridge at Brambleton Hall on Talbot Road, GU9 8RR on Friday between 11am and 1pm. 

will be followed by refreshments.

Burns Night 27th January

Did you know that exactly 222 years ago the very first Burns Night was held to mark the 5th anniversary of Robert Burns’ death in 1796?  Despite being a Scottish tradition, it is celebrated throughout the world including at St. Thomas-on-The-Bourne when over 100 guests enjoyed a fun-filled energetic evening dancing to the Craigievar Ceilidh Band. 

The ritualistic haggis was held aloft and ceremoniously piped in before the Selkirk Grace was pronounced, whereupon everyone savoured the customary supper of haggis, neeps and tatties followed by a delicious raspberry roulade. 

The evening terminated with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne and £xxxx was raised for Parish Funds by this successful entertaining event. 
Barbara Padmore 

Take a look at the photos in the Gallery.    Apologies that some photos look a little blurry but the dancing went at quite a pace!

John and Gillian Morris arrive in Barbados

Yacht Serendipity made landfall in Barbados after a fast sail across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands.  Before leaving Gran Canaria, Julian Cooper and his family were able to meet John and wish him bon voyage; they happened to be there on holiday at the same time (you could say it was 'serendipitous' !)   

In response to the question we all want to ask: How was it?  Gillian has replied that she cannot believe they have actually done it!  Gillian said that honestly it was better than crossing the Bay of Biscay, most of the time! In her own words: "Our arrival in the dark (about 5.30am) into Port St Charles was very special.  By the time we anchored and gathered our thoughts, dawn was breaking and we celebrated in the cockpit with fizz and chocolate tiffen that we made en passage.  Yesterday our son Charles, Sophie and Georgia flew out for a 10 day holiday with us.  They are staying in a resort close to us.  Tomorrow, Abigail's fiance flies out for 10 days too....I am busy putting something together for the blog.  It might be a few days yet before publishing!"

With all the excitement of family reunions, it may take Gillian a while to do the blog which will describe the Atlantic crossing in more detail.  Keep a watch on their blog which can be accessed from their website

Evensong on 22nd January was special

Choral Evensong was divine especially the “Magnificat” and the anthem “O thou the central orb” by Wood. The singing of the choir filled the whole of St Thomas’. Thank you, Jordan and the Choir. It was also, though, a very friendly service, celebrating and drawing attention to “Christian Unity Week”. The congregation was quite big, including people from other churches around Farnham and the villages. Michelle and Malcolm Beach from Weybourne Community Centre led the prayers with Revd Sandy Clarke. Thirty churches were prayed for. Did you know their were so many churches in the Farnham area? It was truly a lovely service in so many ways: the reaching out to the local community in prayer to Almighty God, praying for Christians across the world, especially those who are persecuted, and the wonderful singing, including that of the vicar. It was a powerful combination.

The Institution, Induction and Installation of our new Vicar, Revd.Sandy Clarke

On the evening of Tuesday, 6th December at St Thomas’ Church, Revd Sandy Clarke was instituted, inducted and installed as vicar of The United Benefice of The Bourne with Tilford.  A single complex, beautiful and moving service was led by Rt Revd Dr Jo Bailey Wells, Bishop of Dorking. 
The service commenced with a sixty-strong procession of choir, the Mayor of Waverley, visiting clergy, local ministry team, archdeacon, area dean, the four churchwardens of the Benefice and the bishop herself, with a churchwarden anxiously checking that no visiting clergy were left standing when the music stopped.
The bishop delivered a heart-felt sermon based on 1 Corinthians 13.1-13, the text chosen by Sandy, and the choir sang the anthem “Greater love hath no man”.  Having taken the customary and required oaths to various monarchs and church offices the bishop anointed Sandy with fragrant oil.  Archdeacon Paul led the Induction at the church door, where Sandy received the keys and rang the church bell with great gusto.  She was then finally officially installed in the vicar’s stall and was able to lead the prayers in her new status.
Sandy received the Call to Discipleship at the font, the Call to Mission at the lectern and the Call to Worship at the altar, with representatives from across the Parish.
At the chancel step, Sandy was welcomed by representatives of the Islamabad community, local schools, the ecumenical churches, local associations, and also by Revd Norman Jones, who appointed Sandy as Families Minister at Haslemere in 2005.  Sandy was joined by her daughter and her mother, flown in from Chicago.  Sandy received a rousing standing ovation from all present.
Following the blessing and the closing procession, the service concluded with further cheers echoing from the lantern.
Refreshments were served in the meeting rooms, and featured a truly magnificent celebration cake crafted by Mr Barry Parker. In a brief speech from one of the churchwardens, he thanked all those involved behind the scenes to make the event happen and presented Sandy with a welcome gift from the Parish, a contribution to a piece of furniture for the vicarage and a beautifully decorated card from the church members for her to enjoy.  He welcomed Sandy as Vicar, emphasising the strengths we have already witnessed as Curate, and attempted to embarrass her with further references to the famous movie, Grease.  Sandy resisted embarrassment and gave thanks for the support and affection of the Parish, Benefice and Diocese.
We wish Sandy every success and happiness in the years to come and look forward to sharing in her journey of faith and mission.
 Video is available here 
Click here for all the photos of this event in the Gallery - The Bourne Parish


Bishop Jo

The Anglican Communion Office recently announced that Bishop Jo has been appointed to a new post as ‘Bishop for Episcopal Ministry in the Anglican Communion'. It’s a role that has grown out of the recent Lambeth Conference - to follow up its work and to continue to build friendship and fellowship between bishops and provinces around the Communion. Bishop Jo will take up this new role from mid January.

Revd Neil Fairlamb in The Daily Telegraph

Revd Neil Fairlamb was featured recently in The Daily Telegraph, where he spoke about his long-standing experience as a blood donor, a subject which has been in the news in recent weeks.

Click here to read the article




The Scarecrow Festival and Harvest

The Bourne Parish staged a wonderful three-day Scarecrow Festival over our Harvest weekend, with no fewer than 60 imaginative scarecrows displayed in the church gardens.

The festival raised £9000 for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and The Bourne Parish 

Click here to read all about it





Kateryna's Story

Kateryna Lapta and her young son escaped from Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine, where Russian bombs were falling, and they are now living with Grada and David Helsdon in The Bourne. She has written about her experience getting to England. 

Click here to read the full story





Keith Newman receives Community Award

Last week Keith Newman was given the Rotary Club Community Service Award for his work at Brambleton Hall and on the Farnham Corona Support Fund. 

Click here to read the full story







Wintershall visit

A group of parishioners enjoyed a visit to the 'Life of Christ' drama on the Wintershall Estate

What a privilege to live so near to the Wintershall estate which enabled a group of 11 from the Lent Course to go to The Life of Christ on 22 June.  While it’s an all-day drama, the audience is asked to participate in a way that brings Jesus’s story to life. 

The weather was beautiful and the play so very moving.  The tailgate party in the car park with tea and cakes was a perfect end to the day. 

We are planning a trip near Christmas to see the nativity.  Everyone is welcome.


Oberammergau 2022

Jill and Nigel Lewis recently went to Germany to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau in Bavaria in Germany. 

The Play is staged only every ten years, and draws huge crowds from around the world.

Click here to read the full article

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