Poetry Competition – Mirror Mind

Reflections on memories in poetry

The Chapel Poetry Group invites you to get creative and submit poems reflecting on your memories. All the winning poems will be published in our 2021 poetry collection “Mirror Mind”, and celebrated at a launch event either in person or online, as covid regulations permit.

First Prize for our overall winner is a £30 book voucher, and all winners whose poems are published will receive an author’s copy of the collection with your poem in it. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate local poets and explore treasured memories.

Everyone is welcome to participate, whether you are an established poet or a beginner, young or old. The important thing is, you must write about your own memories and experiences. Here’s how to enter:

Submit your poems by email to: ashvalechapel@gmail.com 

Subject line: Mirror Mind Poetry

Deadline: Friday 30th April 2021

Format: Please attach your poem to your email as a word document or PDF, all entries will be anonymised by our administrator before being sent for judging.

Make sure you include your name, address and phone number in your covering email.

Maximum 3 poems per poet, maximum length 40 lines per poem (no minimum length)

£2 suggested donation per poem to enter. https://givealittle.co/campaigns/feafddb7-d1b7-4686-810d-a66d0d0914c6

Would you like to pre-order a copy of “Mirror Mind”? Text Alex: 07730 609446

All donations & proceeds from the sale of “Mirror Mind” will go towards the running of The Chapel Project, further details here: www.ashvalechapel.com

Happy Easter from Butterflies Preschool

We are delighted to now be enrolling new starters for September 2021.  We are currently open Monday – Friday, with longer days running on Mondays and Wednesdays until 2.30pm.  We are Ofsted registered and accept all funding. We run independently from the Community Hall side of St Mary’s Church and follow the Early Years Curriculum. Our Pre-school has an outstanding Early Years team, highly qualified with many years of experience. We are committed and dedicated to providing a safe, clean and nurturing environment for our children every day.  

Despite our village and world around us finding its way through a global pandemic, it is a huge blessing to see how resilient and happy our Butterflies children are, especially as they enjoy playing and learning with each other. 

As lockdown regulations begin to ease, our infection control safety measures continues to be one of our top priorities.  We understand it can be a worrying time for many families and are happy to share all the practices we have in place, should you be interested in learning more about our Pre-school.  We also have a few spaces left on certain days, though we are looking to recruit and grow our Early Years team to enable more availability for little ones.  If you are interested in a free taster session we would love to hear from you. For further information, please feel free to contact Natalie Andrews on 07881807337 or by email Butterfliespreschool19@gmail.com
We wish everyone in our community a safe and happy Easter. 
Best wishes from all of us at Butterflies, 
Natalie

(Owner, Butterflies Pre-school)

Meet the Candidates:

About Nigel Manning, a candidate for the Surrey County Council elections on Thursday 6th May 2021

I have lived in Ash / Ash Vale for over 30 years. I spent 42 years in Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs as an Inspector of Taxes, latterly focussing on investigating multi-million-pound international companies. This sound financial experience has been enormously valuable to me, in my voluntary role as a local councillor. I have had the privilege and honour of representing the residents of both Ash / Ash Vale on both an Ash Parish Council (APC) and Guildford Borough Council (GBC) for over 20 years. As Chairman of APC for the past 19 years, I have a proven track record of dedicated voluntary and public service. I have a strong local voice and a reputation for getting things done. I also have a common-sense approach to maintaining quality services whilst securing value for money for all residents, whether they live locally or in the wider Borough.

From 2003 to 2016 I was the Lead Member at GBC for finance and assets, in some form or other.  I stepped down in 2016 so I could be Mayor of Guildford. I appointed Rev Neil Lambert as my Mayor’s Chaplain; I still recall with great amusement the sermon Neil gave at my Civic Service – he brought “The Tea Table”, need I say more?

I have always been aware of the pockets of deprivation within the Borough and as Mayor I saw first-hand the fantastic work the volunteers do within our local communities. Year in year out, with little or no recognition, they support the vulnerable and disadvantaged. It was an extremely humbling experience to meet and say thank you to so many wonderful people who selflessly give up their time to help others. As Mayor I supported many charities including the Mayor’s Support Fund and British Heart Foundation, raising over £55,000 during the Mayoral year.

I regularly support many local charities and for years Marsha and I have organised numerous charity quiz nights, within the Parish and across Surrey.  These have raised thousands of pounds for worthwhile causes, including the 1st Ash Vale Scouts and the Citizens Advice Bureau. (CAB). Prior to the Covid 19 Pandemic we regularly attended the monthly charity night quizzes at Victoria Hall.

I care passionately about our local community. I have actively encouraged the Parish Council to organise the Summer Fete and Christmas Fantasia, so that residents can come together to support local charities fundraising activities.

In addition to my “council work”, I am currently the Chairman and Trustee of Ash & District Museum Society and Trustee of the James Payne Memorial Fund. In the past I have also been a governor at Ash Manor School and a Trustee of Ash CAB.

Meet the Candidates:

About Carla Morson, a candidate for the Surrey County Council elections on Thursday 6th May 2021

Ash Vale has been my home for many years. I had a varied career in public service and since taking redundancy have spent my time undertaking voluntary work with Citizens Advice and latterly our Covid Support Group.

Last March I set up the Ash, Ash Vale & Ash Green Coronavirus Support Group. We’ve all pulled together and have a much more joined up community now. A supportive community spirit is absolutely paramount and with that in mind, I’ve become concerned that we aren’t getting the support we deserve from our local councillors. Our current councillors have remained remarkably silent throughout the last year.

Our area has been dominated by Conservatives for over 20 years and it’s time for change. We need new ideas and views as our community has grown in size and diversity: we have to ensure no one is left behind.

There’s much I want to achieve as additional building in our villages didn’t come with supporting infrastructure, so we are now left with more traffic on the roads (many of which are in poor condition), insufficient school places and overwhelmed GP services. This must be rectified. I also want access to the most accessible parts of Ash Ranges open again for ALL to enjoy, step free access at Ash Vale Station and even more commitment to stopping climate change through things such as increased active travel and improved/cheaper public transport.

Conservative controlled Surrey County Council want a single Unitary Authority and to scrap our local council, taking decision making even further away from us. This would only make things worse. All of this on top of proposals to cut £1m Special Educational Needs (SEN) funding, a failing adult social care system and severe reductions in our fire service capacity. This comes at the same time as an announcement to borrow £100m to fund local projects over the next five years. I’m all for the funding of local projects but where is the money going to come from to repay the loan and interest? Further cuts to essential services?

I will be standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Ash in the County Council elections in May. Whether you believe in politics or not, it’s part of all of our lives and we can’t escape it. I’ve no wish to be a politician, what I do want though is to be a champion for our villages and make sure we get, not just what we want but also what we need and deserve. I hope you will offer me your support and join me on this journey.

Easter Bible Study – Hebrews 12:1-4 (NLT)

By Helen Lambert

Jesus – the Initiator and Perfecter of our faith!

Does faith seem hard at the moment?  In fact does life seem hard?  It is often said that life is a marathon, not a sprint – and there are times in a marathon where it feels almost impossible to take the next step towards the finish.  The image of a race is one that is used in Scripture to describe our journey of faith – and in today’s Bible reading, the writer acknowledges that it is an endurance race! Not only that, but Jesus has run it before us…

The writer of this letter highlights three ways in which we can be encouraged during this strange time when all is changing, but sometimes it feels as if nothing has changed.  The first of these is set out immediately in v1.

We are surrounded

Whether we live on our own or with others, many have experienced the kindness, neighbourliness and a sense of community that has grown throughout this year.  Coming on to our doorsteps to encourage the NHS, or to remember those whose lives have been lost, has somehow bound us together. Who, in particular, does this verse say “surrounds” us (v1)?  At St Mary’s, many have known the importance of “fellowship” – that “togetherness” that we experience through the Holy Spirit in our lives – as we have continued to meet and worship, albeit remotely, through the wonderful technology of Zoom.  How wonderful that our God is not limited by physical walls and distances!  There are times when running a long race when it is only the encouragement of the crowds lining the road – “You can do this!” – that keeps us going.  Let us not stop encouraging one another in these (hopefully) last stages of beating the pandemic.

Strip off the weight

For an endurance athlete, the balance between weight and strength is an important one, and it is essential that they are not carrying any unnecessary weight on race day that would slow them down.  Whilst God does not mind what physical shape or size we are, he does want us to run this “race” of our Christian life unhindered.  What are the things that might slow us down, or even “trip us up” (v1)?  As we reflect on the past year, can we use the opportunity to consider what might be preventing us from living life as God intended?  We may not have been out much – but are there aspects of our attitudes, relationships and behaviours that we have hidden away, but we know need to change?  “Strip off every weight that slows us down” – use this time to commit to change!

Eyes on Jesus

If the challenges just mentioned seem hard, we are now told how to do it (v2) – what is the secret? All successful athletes have a trainer – the one who commits to seeing them succeed, from beginning to end.  The athlete can only succeed if they follow the trainer, who will themselves have been a successful athlete who has won many races – a true “champion”.  Who do these verses say is our “champion”, and what is his role (v2)?  The secret is that we are not meant to run this race alone.  The “crown of witnesses” (v1) can support and encourage us, but is it Jesus himself, our champion, who enables and empowers us.  Note that he is both the “initiator” (some versions say “author”) and “perfecter” of our faith.  We so often feel guilty that we are not trying hard enough to believe, or not trying hard enough to live the right way.  The world tells us that we need to rely on our own inner resources.  The Bible tells us that it is Jesus himself who, by his Holy Spirit living in us, is our inner resource.  He sows the seed of faith within us, he shows us the way forward, and he gives us the strength and ability to live according to what he has shown us – to “run the race”. 

We know we can trust him to do this because he has run it before us (v2b). This coming week we will remember how Jesus went to the cross (v2) and died for all our sakes (v4) in order for us to be able to live our present lives in relationship with him, free of all that slows us down (v1).  We have this “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” * because this death was not the end – Easter is a celebration, not a mourning, because Jesus rose again and “is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne” (v2).

And so, this Easter, if you are tempted to “become weary and give up” (v3), “fix your eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith”!   

1Great is Thy Faithfulness.  Thomas Obediah Chisolm 1923

Hebrews 12: 1-4 (NLT)           

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Bible passage source: Bible Gateway online: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews%2012%3A1-4&version=NLT 

An Easter Giggle

A vicar was planning an Easter pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and was aghast when she found it would cost her £50 an hour to rent a boat on the Sea of Galilee.  She protested to the travel agent that the cost was ridiculous. ‘That might be true,’ replied the travel agent, ‘but you have to take into account that the Sea of Galilee is water on which our Lord himself walked.’

‘Well, at £50 an hour for a boat,’ she replied, ‘I am not surprised!’  

Shared with kind permission from…. www.parishpump.co.uk

News from Abbeywood Care Home

By Carol Weaver

Hi Everyone, let me introduce you to your local care home, Abbeywood, on Wharf Road. We specialise in caring for the elderly and those with dementia. We have brilliant residents, who haven’t been outside since last March. It has been a very tough year for us all.

We want to start planning exciting things for our residents after lockdown. Our Moto is ‘#never too old’, so we have decided to start early and plan a Panto for late November, date to be confirmed.

We would like to open this up to the public as well, but being a care home we have to fund this all ourselves… that’s where we hope you guys will be able to help. Our Panto is Cinderella, and we have some costumes, but may need to ask for help with some props and scenery. As a team we will need lots of willing Abbeywood volunteers to fill the characters too!

As you pass our windows, especially during the holidays on the Easter Trail, please do keep waving to our residents, they really love it. They may not all wave back, but they talk about it as you go by.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and we wish you all a Happy Easter.

If you’d like to get involved and support the Abbeywood Panto in November please phone us on 01483 404931 and ask for Shai, Sylwia or Carol. Thank you for your support!

Poetry Corner

Memory Marks

Laughter dances with pollen,

Creaks’ crescendos unheard.

Feathers fly.

Stored energy surges.

All that is home watches.

Then Silence.

Popping, a paper bag inflates,

Mother of pillow fights done.

My son’s Asthma abates.

The tree deteriorates.

Cotton white daisies delight.

Then silence.

Ripping bares my chubby legs.

Roots display their hidden mane.

My dress was darned.

The rented house intact.

Seat belts clicked.

Then silence.

Spinning wildly in the sun.

Driving home on scorching seats.

I outgrew my party dress.

My Mum sold her old Cortina.

New Jeans made climbing easy.

Then silence.

Racing up to the seagulls.

Dad’s last jumper warmed.

The Helter-Skelter, candy striped.

Harlequin’s knit, ruby bright.

Coconut mats dirty, scratchy.

Then silence.

Pushing off first-time fear.

Racing to Grandma’s Terrace.

Exhilaration confidence builds.

Her cobble lane history rubs.

Swatches of memory unseen move.

Then life.

By PCD Roberts

Thought for Today

Do you mean what you say when you praise my name?

Is it only fine words, is it all just a game?

When you say all your thanks —does it come from the heart?

Do you really mean it, or maybe just one part?

Think on these things—that My love for you

Is all embracing, is completely true.

I love to hear you singing—a love song to my ears

That also helps to lift you through the oncoming years.

Are the words that you sing for my ears alone?

Do you mean what you say, whatever the tone?

A song from your heart is what gladdens my own

What raises us all up—a place near my throne.

Join in with the crowd, you’re all friends of mine.

Come join with the angels— O chorus sublime.

By BMS

Enjoy these wonderful poems with a cuppa, and why not send us your own? The copy deadline for our June/July edition is 7th May 2021 parishioner@ash-vale.org.uk

Meet the local — Mary Langsford

The Parishioner interviews one of our local community heroes…

Great to meet you Mary! Tell us a bit about yourself…

In a sentence: I’m a rock and country music loving, Prosecco drinking, mad cat lady!

Have you always been in the area? What do you love about Ash Vale?

I’ve lived in Ash Vale for over 50 years. We moved here when my dad left the Army and I have never felt the need to move since. Up until a couple of years ago my career was in IT and I often made long commutes for work and travelled internationally too. We’re lucky to have great road networks and a great rail service. You can be in London in 45 minutes and the coast in 45 minutes, Heathrow in 30 minutes and Gatwick in 50 Minutes. I’ve always felt safe here. I live in a small close where everyone knows each other and we have a wonderful community spirit.

What’s your ‘day job’? How has COVID affected your day to day?

Once I left IT, I became a Registrar which means I spend my days marrying people. It really is the best job in the world! COVID has had a devastating effect on the whole wedding industry from the Ceremonies through to caterers, planners, venues, entertainers and others.  So many of our couples have had their wedding plans squashed several times. Even now, restrictions are very limiting and so couples are still having to compromise from the ‘Big Day’ they had planned, to a more intimate event. 

We know you have a great heart for the community. What motivates you and what do you get up to? 

As work dried up, I found I had plenty of time to volunteer within the community I have made home.  I feel blessed to have good health and that meant I could step up and volunteer to help others who need it as part of the amazing local Corona Support Group. I’ve met and worked with some incredibly selfless people who have dedicated their lives to this community and I am so happy to have been able to play a small part in that. Initially, I acted as a co-ordinator for my very local area, taking calls from those needing help with their shopping and prescription collections, and more recently have become a regular volunteer with our Food Parcel Project, where we make up parcels for families needing a little extra help through these difficult times. I am so motivated by the generosity of the community when we ask for donations – especially little extras around Christmas, Mothering Sunday and Easter, to make these times a little more special for the families we help. I have many friends who have worked all the way through the pandemic who would have loved to have been able to do more.  We know this won’t last forever and we’re finally seeing a light at the end of this terrible time but for as long as I can get out and give a little something back, I will continue to do so. Being back in the Chapel is actually very nostalgic for me – as a teenager I went to a Youth Club there called PowerPoint, and so coming back decades later in a very different capacity is amazing. 

Away from the volunteering activities bought in by the pandemic,  I am also a regular volunteer and treasurer for our Local Nature Reserve and I am the area coordinator for our very active neighbourhood watch scheme.

A little bird told us you’re rather a fabulous singer, tell us about that!

Oh well now, who told you that?!  Hahaha, Yes I do love a good sing song!  I have fronted several party and function bands over the years and being on stage truly is my happy place.  The very first band I was in – The Tangible Fruit Squad – was planning its 25 year anniversary with a bit of a comeback tour around the local area during 2020 but I don’t need to tell you how that went!  Hey Ho, maybe we’ll go for a 30th Anniversary tour instead! I’ve played some incredible venues from the Iconic Rock Garden in Convent Garden, to stately homes performing at Weddings.  We were lucky enough to get some Radio Airplay and even did a live acoustic set on the Whispering Bob Harries show.  I guess the highlight for me would have to be my appearance on ITV’s Stars in their Eyes with Matthew Kelly,  Singularly the most exciting thing I have ever done!

What’s your Easter wish, prayer or message for our local readers? 

Mostly, I hope everyone can hold on to the fact that there are better times ahead.  This won’t last forever and the time will come we can see and hug friends and family again.  Secondly, to anyone who is still struggling, know that there is help out there.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  We have a wonderful group of kind volunteers just waiting to support you in anyway we can. 

Finally, please be kind.  It costs nothing and may make the world of difference to someone.

Introducing Rosie, our Waterways Chaplain

By Rosie Leakey

When I became a Christian, 42 years ago now, my life was transformed overnight and having given my life to Christ, I experienced such love and joy within my heart I was propelled into living and viewing life differently on a day-to-day basis. Jesus rapidly became my best friend whom I enjoyed talking with, reading the Bible, and looking out for answers in line with His plans for my life. The verse from John 3:16 then made sense to me, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ It has been an exciting journey, not always easy going but full of encouraging things that have happened, even in the hard times. One of the verses that has always meant a lot to me is from Psalm 37 v 5 ‘Commit your ways to The Lord, trust in Him and He will do this’. I placed this verse over the doorway of the department I work in and God did indeed bless the work. I also learnt that success in Gods’ eyes can be different from our limited idea of achieving or being successful.

My love of being on rivers and walking along tow paths started 20 years ago when we had a family holiday on a narrow boat. Being able to go more slowly along and appreciating the beauty of nature helps us to draw closer to God. I am so grateful that my love of sharing my faith in Jesus, being on or near water and enjoying nature, has all been brought together in being a Waterways Chaplain.

I retired from being an Occupational Therapist 4 years ago to help look after my late frail father-in-law, to spend more time with my elderly mother, to be on or near the water and to help look after our granddaughter.

Just before the end of the first lockdown I managed to complete my training to be a Waterways Chaplain and I was commissioned in time to go roaming in the Fenlands. We did many prayer walks round the old churches that were along the river banks and it was an encouraging time meeting different people.

Many others enjoy walking along the tow paths and even more so in this year of a pandemic, so it has been good to be able to be out and about when possible and talk with those who do want to, especially if I am given an opportunity to share about what Jesus means to me and has done for us all. I look forward to seeing you again in the future and may the Lord bless us all daily as we look forward and trust in Him for a Happy Easter and year ahead freer of COVID.