social report Jan 13

Social report – Winter 2012/13

Another sparkling bonfire and firework night

Once again, our bonfire and firework night on 3rd November attracted a great turnout of villagers with their families and friends to join in the fun on the Recreation Ground. Mercifully, it was a fine night after a week of rain. The torchlight procession up Wellhouse Road was enchanting as ever, and the fireworks were thrilling. For one visitor, an English girl who had grown up in Portugal, this was her first ever traditional bonfire night. She said she had never realised what fun it all was and loved the atmosphere and friendliness of everyone as they gathered around to watch the flames, munch on hamburgers and drink mulled wine. So, thanks to everyone who gave their time, energy and burnable rubbish to create a wonderful evening. With the Sorbys away, it was the first time for many helpers, including John Tomalin as this year’s overall organiser. We were especially grateful to non-Beech residents Josie & Howard Holden who filled in the ‘first aid’ gap, and to Brian Scowcroft and John Wallace from the Rotary Club of Four Marks & Medstead, who helped with sales of tickets and torches. Fireworks displays on the same evening in Alton and Chawton meant that overall numbers were down on last year, but many felt this was no bad thing as it gave the event a cosier, more ‘village-y’ feel.

Christmas Fayre

Camilla Gibson organised this year’s Christmas Fayre on 25th November, which kicked off our seasonal activities, but without the bad weather which has created problems in the past. There were 19 lovely stalls and plenty of shoppers to enjoy them and chat over refreshments, so that we raised over £350 for Village Hall funds. Thankyou very much to Camilla and her team of helpers!

Beech Adults’ Christmas party

70 Villagers gathered on 15th December to enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings beautifully cooked the same day in the Hall itself by Sandra Johnson (who caters for the Watercress Belle dinners on the Watercress Line) and her colleague Kurt Maxwell. Table service was provided by Beech resident Victoria Scott and her friends Emily and Ellen, who doubled as judges of the ‘Santa’ challenge. A spirit of competition was fostered between the five large tables of party-goers with seasonal activities including the ‘Village Nativity’, with faces well-known to Beech residents heavily disguised by Sarah Castle-Smith. Those of you who were not there might like to work them out on page…..! There followed a fun Christmas quiz compiled by Sally Cox, featuring questions that ranged from the easy to the almost impossible, then each table had to dress up its own Santa. Congratulations to Jim Hitchcox’s fellow revellers for dressing him up as the Santa we most wanted down our chimneys! A final blindfold tie-breaker was required to decide the winning table, after which – as always – Beech hit the dance floor!

Children’s Christmas party

The Children’s party on 16th December again featured local magician and entertainer Rob Gaffney – back by popular demand – and was also visited by Father Christmas himself who was a bit grumpy to begin with as his sleigh had been held up in traffic on the Farnham by-pass! It was sad that sickness prevented several regulars from attending, including the Fleming family who were to have returned for a final goodbye and thankyou from Beech following their move to Liphook in the summer. On the other hand, we were delighted to welcome to their first Beech Christmas the newly-arrived Smith and Gordon families, whose daughters made friends, and who want to help plan and join in future Village activities for children.

What’s in store for 2013?

The Social Committee is meeting in early January to plan another ‘Pub Games Night’ following last year’s successful event. The date is 16th February so put it in your diary! There will also be Quiz Night on 6th April and a Summer Party on 15th June to replace the Fete and Hog Roast. And don’t forget to come along to the regular monthly Socials! See the Village Diary page on the website for dates of all events planned for 2013.