Return to Homepage


AddThis Social Bookmark Button



The Fernhurst Society

Newsletter no 15, January 2003


Your New Executive Committee

At the Fernhurst Society AGM in November a new Chairman, President and Executive Committee were voted in. Peter Hudson, after four hard-working years of chairing the Society has stepped down for a well-earned rest. Jane, his wife, is keen on him tackling many household repairs that have been sadly neglected whilst Peter has toiled on our behalf, so life may not be as restful as he thinks…… Peter has not quite escaped us though, as he has kindly agreed to serve as non-executive President of the Fernhurst Society.

We would like to say a big thank you again to Peter for all his efforts on our behalf. At the AGM Peter was presented with a delightful watercolour view of St Margaret’s Church, painted by local artist Angela Parrott, for which he sends his thanks to the Society.

We would also like to give our thanks to Tony West who has also stepped down from the Executive Committee. Tony has helped in innumerable ways, especially with the Oral History project, to which he will still contribute.

Julia Roxan was voted in as our new Chairman, ably supported by Elsie Waitt (Vice-Chairman), Iain Brown (Treasurer), Christine Maynard (Honorary Secretary), Robin Barnes, Sue Gibbon, Andy Kettle, Richard Ranft, Arnold Madgwick, Jean, Moreton, Sandy Polak and Charlotte Willson-Pepper. We are always keen to recruit new members to the Executive Committee so if you would like to know more please contact Julia via the website.


Fernhurst Society Membership Survey

The Society has been in existence for four years now and so it is a good time to find out what you think about it and how you would like to see it develop. The Fernhurst Society is your organisation, so please take time to fill in the enclosed survey and return it by Friday 31st January to the special box in the Post Office. As an incentive there is a £10 book token for the first survey drawn at random from the box on 1st February.


Village Sign

Fernhurst village sign (11kB)The Village Sign was successfully erected and unveiled on Saturday 9th November. Crowds of over 90 people turned out to see May Queen, Lucy Seery, unveil the sign on the Crossfields corner. Peter Hudson formally handed over ownership to Carla Barnes, Chairman of the Parish Council, and Rev. Tony Roake dedicated the sign.

The prime mover in the Society who initiated the Village Sign project was John Tucker, who we thank for his vision, design and research and selection of suppliers. Peter Hudson, in his usual capable manner, saw the signpost to fruition and we are grateful for his efforts.

Various other village organisations, members and companies have contributed to the Village Sign and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them all. They are West Sussex County Council, Chichester District Council, Fernhurst Club, Fernhurst Horticultural Society, Fernhurst Women’s Institute, The Good Companions, Ian Russell, Robin Barnes and John Cooper Associates and an anonymous donor.


South Downs National Park

On 14th November it was announced that the Countryside Agency has decided to create the South Downs National Park. This was in the face of opposition from local authorities and means that a public inquiry is now inevitable before Margaret Beckett, the Secretary for the Environment, can confirm (or otherwise) the decision. The Countryside Agency made a South Downs Designation Order in late December, which will be placed on deposit for public inspection from 27th January to 28th February 2003, to allow representations to be made to the Secretary of State before she decides whether or not to confirm the designation. The Order has been placed in all affected local authority offices (at county, district and unitary tier) and at the Countryside Agency's headquarters in Cheltenham. If anyone wishes to make a formal comment, this should be addressed to DEFRA (tel. Defra Helpline on 08459 33 55 77 for further details).

In making this decision the Countryside Agency recognised that the South Downs area is different to other national parks, for instance in terms of population, intensive agriculture, and pressures from development and visitors. Countryside Agency board members agreed a number of tasks which the National Park Authority (NPA) would need to tackle: for example to ensure that those appointed as members have the skills to deal with local priorities, and to ensure that the NPA works closely with other local authorities, especially when carrying out its planning duties.

Fernhurst Village Archive

During the past year we have received some most welcome donations of material, and also excellent additions to the collection of books and maps of local interest; our thanks to all who have given these.

This year is to begin with redesigning the space available to house it all. We are most fortunate in that Mr Les Colcutt has agreed to help, using his judgment and carpentry skills. Books and boxes will have shelving, the growing collection of maps and plans more suitable storage.

Our Newsletter plea for a larger working surface also bore fruit – Judith Bristow’s partner Jim Smith has presented us with a fine desk. We are most grateful to him (and to the skill with which it was eased around the steep and angled stairs to our eerie!).

Now researchers and their requests (many received via the Society website – from as far away as Wyoming and New Zealand) can be dealt with, and photographs and press cuttings sorted conveniently – and not at carpet-level.

It may interest readers and members who attended the October 8th meetings to know that two of the three talks that evening drew their material from the Archive, and much of the research for the Society’s forthcoming publication on the history of Verdley is to be found here.

Reminder: visitors are always welcome – either on the regular Tuesday morning opening (10.30 am on) or by arrangement (contact Christine Maynard via the website)


Local Houses of Interest

If anyone living in a house with a potentially interesting history (it does not need to be listed and could be relatively modern) and would like to investigate further, help is at hand. There are publications in the Fernhurst Society Archives Room, and people with experience in the Society who could help you trace the history of your house, its architecture, previous occupants and their occupations (through wills etc.). If you are interested please contact Iain Brown via the website.


Junior Fernhurst Society

An exciting new development is the idea, hatched with the support of the Fernhurst Primary School, to launch a Junior Fernhurst Society. This is still embryonic but we already have a leader, Sue Gibbon, a young mum with children at the school and a qualified teacher herself. The purpose is to encourage the young to appreciate and value where they live. At the moment we are planning for launch in September 2003, with monthly meetings on a Saturday morning for children aged 5 – 11. The younger ones will have to be accompanied by parents. The sessions will be informative and hands-on, complementing the children’s activities at school and focusing on the local history, nature and the environment. The membership survey has a section for any further ideas and offers of help in running this. Also we would like to hear your views on this initiative.


Fernhurst Community Orchard

This project is now gaining momentum, with the Parish Council formally agreeing to the development of a quarter acre area of Van Common as a Community Orchard. At present this patch of land is rather scrubby woodland, thick with brambles and inaccessible.

The orchard will provide an enjoyable communal area, which can be used for picnics and other events, within easy walking distance of the village centre (“an open air community centre”). It will also be a good location for outdoor activities for the Junior Fernhurst Society and provide opportunities for the School, Cubs, Scouts and Guides and any other groups to participate in community projects. It could even teach the young about where food comes from – perhaps they will find out it doesn’t grow in supermarkets!

It is planned to plant a small orchard of 15 - 20 fruit trees. The harvest of fruit would be available to anyone in the village, including “scrumpers”! The Fernhurst Biodiversity group will help under-plant the orchard with local wild flowers and we hope to put in local varieties of fruit tree. An option for finding local varieties (and reducing costs) is to graft or bud from existing fruit trees successfully established in parish gardens. Brinsbury College has offered expert advice and support. So, if you have old fruit trees thriving in your garden, we would like to hear from you. Please fill in the relevant section of the Membership survey.


Biodiversity Projects

A Newsletter will be out soon telling you about what is happening on these projects.


Dates for your 2003 Diaries

We have booked four slots for evening talks this year and also plan a major exhibition in the autumn. Due to circumstances beyond our control we have not been able to book our customary Thursday evenings in the Village Hall for all the talks. We apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment and hope you will still be able to come along. Various walks will be arranged during the summer that we will let you know about nearer the time.

Tuesday 11th February 2003 7.30pm for 8pm at the Village Hall
An Evening Talk by Michael Tibbs, the former Chairman of the Lynchmere Society. Michael will be talking about how the Lynchmere Society was launched and its efforts to conserve Lynchmere Common. This will be a fascinating evening.

Thursday 3rd April 2003, 7.30pm for 8pm at the Village Hall, Speaker to be arranged

Monday 6th October 2003 7.30pm for 8pm at the Village Hall, Speaker to be arranged

Weekend of 25th / 26th October 2003. Biodiversity Exhibition in the Village Hall.
At the culmination of our Local Heritage Initiative grant for the various Biodiversity projects we will be holding an exhibition of all your findings.

Monday November 17th 2003, 7.30pm for 8pm at the Village Hall, Speaker to be arranged

Saturday 13th December 2003 Christmas Party in the Village Hall

PS Final Reminder for Subscriptions – please send them to Christine Maynard