Editorial from February Edition of The Magazine
Welcome to the February 2019 edition of ‘The Magazine’ under your new editor, Penny Forbes.
My thanks to the retiring editor, Judy, the magazine team and the Churchwardens for their help and guidance in showing me the ‘ropes’ and answering my long list of questions!
I appreciate the many messages of ‘Best Wishes’ since taking on the role. It is wonderful to know that the ‘The Magazine’ holds a special place in people’s hearts. As well as firm reader favourites such as Rose Briar’s gardening tips and PP’s ‘Scenes from Alresford Life’, I have added a few new items and hope that you will find them enjoyable and useful. This month’s ‘People Matters’ has a special tribute to Graham Curtis, who died in 2018.
I am keen to build on the magazine’s success while working towards an inclusive community magazine that serves the whole Arle Valley Benefice and its parishes of New Alresford, Old Alresford, Ovington and Bighton.
The first task at hand is to respond to the numerous requests for a change of name for ‘The Magazine’ and we would like everyone’s input. Please have a look on page 29 for your chance to nominate a name for the magazine. The deadline for suggestions is February 28th.
My wish is to make the magazine an interesting read for the whole Benefice and we can only do this with your help. Could you write for us on a subject that would be of interest to our readers or do you belong to a Society or Club and would like to publicise its events?
We look forward to hearing from you and receiving your contributions and articles.
All the best.
Penny Forbes (Editor)
Leader from February Edition of The Magazine
Leader: How did you feel this New Year’s Day?
Were you with Nina Simone or Michael Bublé feeling ‘It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day….and I’m feeling gooooooood!”? Or was it more like “I never felt more like cryin’ all night,’cause everything’s wrong and nothin’ ain’t right….you got me singing the blues.” ? ( Guy Mitchell- who knew that was 1956!?). Either way, the new of New Year has worn off a while back now and we are past the point of having to remember to write 2019 instead of 2018. And the days and weeks roll on.
I wonder how your New Year resolutions are holding up? Or how many of your Christmas presents still work or are being used? On January 7th The Times reported that Britons returned a quarter of online Christmas gifts -that is a value of 4.8 billion of the estimated 19 billion spent on online sales at Christmas in Britain alone. I found an irony that the day before that, January 6th, is the day the church celebrates Epiphany, when the wise men brought their gifts to Jesus.
They probably hadn’t travelled quite as far as our cheap electronics from China…yet they came in person to deliver their gifts.
They hadn’t known where they were going.
They didn’t know the person they would find…. then the great epiphany took place.
It was the revealing of the Christ-child to the first non-Jewish people, (known as Gentiles).
A realisation that this was a divine baby, born for everyone of every race.
They got up close and personal with God in human form.
A dirty, unprepared, back room for animals became holy ground.
They had sought and found and then worshipped and rejoiced.
Whether we leapt or shuffled into 2019, whether we received great gifts or sent them back, whether we gathered with others or spent the time alone, we continue through 2019 and towards another Christmas and New Year. Did we get what we were looking for last year?
I don’t know about you but there is a lot that I would like to be different in my life next Christmas and 2020.
This lovely sonnet describes how the wise men were brave enough to begin a journey towards something new and unknown.
God was revealed to them in Jesus.
They weren’t disappointed.
Epiphany by Malcolm Guite
It might have been just someone else’s story,
Some chosen people get a special king.
We leave them to their own peculiar glory,
We don’t belong, it doesn’t mean a thing.
But when these three arrive they bring us with them,
Gentiles like us, their wisdom might be ours;
A steady step that finds an inner rhythm,
A pilgrim’s eye that sees beyond the stars.
They did not know his name but still they sought him,
They came from otherwhere but still they found;
In temples they found those who sold and bought him,
But in the filthy stable, hallowed ground.
Their courage gives our questing hearts a voice
To seek, to find, to worship, to rejoice.
This poem can be found in Malcolm’s book, ‘Sounding the Seasons’ published by Canterbury Press.
People Matter (From February Edition of The Magazine)
Graham Barnard Curtis
Graham Barnard Curtis was born on 5th September 1950 a “ten pound bouncing baby boy” to Sheila and Barney Curtis. They were living in the wartime agricultural huts at Tichborne Park. He had an elder sister, Linda. Sheila suffered with tuberculosis and was in a sanatorium for much of his young life during which time he was looked after by his Grandma Edith in Ladycroft. They moved to Jesty Road in the 1950s when the houses were built. Graham went to the Dean School, and then on to what is now Perins where he was Head Boy. He loved the stage and played many parts including Toad of Toad Hall in school productions.
As a boy Graham spent a lot of time at Tichborne Park cricket club where his father was team captain. During the 1960s, charity matches were played at Tichborne Park. These matches were televised, “John Arlott commentating an all, playing were a good smattering of England players West Indies players and ﬁlm stars with a few Tichborne players, ‘cos my old man was playing I was in and out of the pavilion as far as I was concerned these were dad’s mates Compton, Cowdrey, Godfrey Evans and ‘[Typhoon] Tyson’.
At school he was good at maths and loved and was talented in graphic design and drawing. On leaving school he was offered a job as a trainee architect but having seen the drawing office, “it seemed the size of a footy pitch full of people and strip lights” he decided that as an outdoor boy it wasn’t for him. He became a mechanic, a job he loved. A man of fun, he often sent an apprentice for a ‘left-handed screwdriver or ‘a long weight’!
In the late 1970s he joined the family business – the business started by his grandfather -‘A Curtis and sons’ as a coalman. Graham didn’t do sick days and once delivered coal with a broken leg. With his sister Linda he took on another family business in the Farm shop and so he continued coal deliveries until his death.
He married Linda Kingshot, they had three children, Catherine, Michael and Jennifer. A happy and lively family they enjoyed many family holidays at Warner holiday camps. Tragically, Michael was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1991. The death of his son ‘took a piece’ of Graham – as it did the whole family. It was as this point Graham really threw himself into his St John Ambulance work. Graham and Linda became foster parents when their children were young, eventually caring for 72 young people. “Is fostering other people’s children fun? It can be great fun if you like kids! Is fostering a challenge? It certainly can be! Do you have to be mad to foster? Probably.” Graham and Linda later divorced. On his own he continued to foster teenage boys, 79 in total; “Mainly the ones that are more challenging and I find it most rewarding. I like to think I’ve helped these young men through to adulthood”.
Graham could speak Russian and Latin from schooldays. He also loved to go to see the great classical ballets and went a few times to see the Bolshoi ballet in Russia. He will not be forgotten as Father Christmas for 345 playgroup and at Makins Court . Graham left six grandchildren. Graham was described as “love in action”, generous and selfless-always giving (many times a car). He was humble, never wanting recognition.
The parable of the Good Samaritan was chosen to be read at Graham’s funeral. Jesus told this story to teach the importance and the meaning of ‘loving our neighbour as ourselves’. More specifically, to answer the question – ‘Who is my neighbour?’ Graham was certainly not one to pass by on the other side of the street but was a true neighbour to those in need.
Those passages in quotes are Graham’s own words taken from a book he had started writing which he subtitled
“A book about one man’s varied and wonderful life” – it certainly was.
The Eulogy given at St John’s Church at Graham’s funeral by his daughter Jennie
I consider myself very lucky to have been able to call my dad, my dad.
My dad was loud; he was the life and soul of the party and was always the first on the dance floor especially when the birdie song came on. Many have commented that they will miss his whistle but at home he would also sing, when a family holiday was approaching we would be treated to renditions of “we’re all going on a summer holiday” and at Christmas it would be Christmas songs.
The Eulogy given at St John’s Church at Graham’s funeral by his daughter Jennie (cont’d)
Dad could mend anything. If it broke, he would have a screw, or a bolt or a piece of string that could make it work again. My childhood bikes were hybrids, a handlebar from here, and a frame from there, all connected together ready for a slightly squeaky and wonky but still roadworthy of sorts ride. My dad was strong; Bike rides at the weekend, if I couldn’t make it up Sun Hill, which I never could and still can’t, Dad would cycle whilst holding my handlebars and pulling me up as well.
My dad was kind; Dad was always there if I needed something, whether that be a flat tyre, a broken piece of furniture or some other household thing that I had broken trying to mend it myself, Dad would turn up in one of his cars with a set of tools he thought may do the job, or he would appear with the coal truck and a new something made from wood from the garage to replace what I had broken.
Some may joke that said child must be the milkman’s. I will always be proud to say that I am most definitely the coalman’s daughter.
Graham and St John Ambulance
Graham’s involvement with St Johns started in the late ‘80s when Jennie, still at primary school, dragged him to an AGM. They wanted volunteers to develop an individual Alresford division. There weren’t many takers so he was volunteered by proxy. Over the years he led Alresford division and built it up from a cadet division to having a junior cadet (later badgers) and an adult group (with help from others). He converted caravans in the early days as first aid posts and then eventually Alresford had ambulances as well. One eventually became the Michael Curtis Memorial ambulance. Some of the cadets that he taught have become nurses and doctors and accredit their early interest to dad.
He also provided first aid to lots of local events at the Watercress Line, Fireworks, the yearly Broad Street Fair, fetes and horse show events as well as Alresford Show. During the summer months, he was on duty most weekends. He loved the quad bike duties and in particular the concerts at Broadlands Estate. At Alresford Surgery, he ran a class for new mothers covering resuscitation, choking children and dealing with common childhood injuries. Eventually, new policies meant that huge risk assessments had to be completed and the training first aiders needed was bordering on paramedic status. Graham just wanted to provide basic immediate care and offer a service to the local community so he decided it was time to step away.
“Speaking now as a 28 year old senior nurse in children’s intensive care, I can honestly say that Graham had a much larger impact on me than perhaps I realised. From the day that he wrapped me up under his massive black coat at a Remembrance Service at St John’s when it started to pour with rain (as a six year old) to the day that I told him I got into University to become a nurse, he was always a mentor and a guiding hand.” Sam Archer
Graham’s Work as a Foster Carer – Excerpt taken from the letter of condolence
sent to Jennifer from Hampshire Children’s Services
I am sure you must be very proud of what your father achieved and know just how valued he was by those from Hampshire County Council who worked with him. Your father was highly respected within the fostering community, providing foster services in Hampshire for over 30 years. During this time he provided a home and support for over 100 young people. He worked tirelessly with the children’s social work teams to provide stability and consistency to those children who were harder to engage. It was this area of work that your father was particularly skilled at and work that gave him the greatest satisfaction.
He was truly a ‘one off’ and had a unique style and approach to fostering which worked well with the young people that he cared for. He always had a ‘can do’ approach and would enjoy a challenge. Your father was not a person that would say ‘no’ to a placement; it would be ‘well let’s give it a go and see what happens’. While many carers would have considered ending a placement when faced with some of the challenges he encountered, for him it was just another day at the office! He took everything in his stride – there was nothing a young person said or did which shocked him. He was on first name terms with almost all the police officers in the Alresford/Winchester area! He took on a young person who due to his history struggled to find work experience and by the end of the week not only gave him a reference but also paid him, which the lad has never forgotten.
Over the years he worked with a range of professionals and will be greatly missed by all those who knew him. Your father was a big support to other foster carers.
Born on Boxing Day 1925, Win had an older sister, Margaret. The family lived in Ealing, and their father, Fred, worked for the National Union of Railwaymen. During the Second World War, Fred’s office was evacuated to Wallingford in Berkshire, and such was the nature of this pleasant little country town, that the whole Hubbard family moved there and established their new family home.
Win’s mother was a little lady, and a somewhat feisty schoolteacher – and Win being somewhat similar to her mother in both stature and nature eventually followed her mother’s footsteps into teaching. Win herself, enjoyed school and study and after leaving school she studied sociology at Bedford College – a ladies college, which was part of London University.
After gaining her degree, Win began her working life in the Civil Service. However, being a committed Christian, of the Evangelical persuasion, she applied to the Church Mission Society to work as a missionary. This presented a problem, in that the CMS replied that they really did not have a lot of call for sociologists – but if she was a teacher………….! Nothing daunted Win, so she spent a year qualifying as a teacher, and was accepted by the CMS.
She was posted to Nigeria, where, over the period of about ten years, she worked in two schools in the Niger Delta area, before becoming the first principal of Egbu Girls Secondary School, Owerri. Win’s period in Nigeria was probably the highlight of her long life, and it is sad that her time there was ended abruptly when Civil war broke out. Win continued to remain in contact with her many friends in Nigeria, and her many memoirs of her Nigeria days remained her most prized possessions.
Back in the UK, she stayed in education, and having qualified to become a tutor at a teacher training institution, she took a post in a teacher training college in Bromley, and later moved on to tutor in various other higher education colleges.
Win’s mother lived to be 97, and later in her life, she looked to Win to provide her care, which necessitated Win doing a lot of commuting between Bromley and Wallingford. Win also spent a lot of time nursing her widowed sister in Sidmouth, who had developed cancer.
In her retirement, Win made the move from Bromley to Alresford, but not until she paid a couple of exploratory visits to check out St John’s Church, to make sure that it would suit her – well done St John’s!!
Win quickly threw herself into life in Alresford, joining many organisations and local choirs. She very quickly became known, as she did not do things quietly, and neither was she afraid to express her views, often very frankly!
Win was very generous by nature, and she had a huge pastoral heart, spending much time knocking on doors of neighbours, as well as the wider community, to check on the sick and housebound. Win continued to extend pastoral care even after mobility became quite difficult, when lesser mortals would have thrown in the towel.
She made St John’s her spiritual home and was active in encouraging mission and outreach, as well as being involved in all areas of church life. Win wanted to continue to be an active part of St John’s, and despite her mobility problems of recent years, as well as increasing difficulty in communication, thanks to many friends who gave patiently and generously of their time and energy, in transporting Win, she missed out on very little.
Win’s Christian faith, that had been with her, and guided her throughout her life, was rock solid. ‘The Good Lord brought me here’ she would often say. ‘The Good Lord brought me to Alresford’ – ‘The Good Lord that took me to Nigeria’ and he is the same Good Lord that she has striven to follow, and allowed to guide her throughout her long life. That same Good Lord has now taken her to Himself, just as Win knew he would.
We give thanks for Win’s life of care and service, and for the memories that she leaves behind.
VICKY LOW (Full Address)
Good Lord, for what has been – thank you. To what will be – Yes!
That little prayer is a favourite of mine. Written by Dag Hammerskjold, one time Sec. General of the United Nations, it is a favourite, because it is short, says what I want it to say – no more no less. It looks back on the past, it brings the past into the present and it looks forward in eager anticipation to the future and celebrates all three. Which is exactly what we’re doing this afternoon.
Good Lord, for what has been – thank you. To what will be – Yes
So what has been? What do we see when we look back at the life we celebrate today? I have only known Vicky for a few short years, but in that time I saw a woman who had lived life to the full. A woman that it was a joy to visit. Always bright and cheerful and pleased to see you, visiting her made you feel better!. ‘With her sparky personality and friendliness’, says a close friend – ‘she had the ability to talk to anyone and everyone of any age and make them feel better about themselves. What has been, is a long life lived to the full – a long life filled to overflowing with love. Love for her father who had died, (gassed in the first WW). and for her own mother, brother and sister. Love for her Husband John. She had married the boy-next door in !953 and her devotion to him through serious illness was unfaltering. He lost the use of his legs and she fought for the best care possible and full of admiration for his intelligence, she encouraged him back to work. Vicky didn’t see people’s disabilities. She was too busy finding out what they could do and be. That her beloved son, Andrew can talk so happily about his trouble-free childhood years, of the fun he had, squeezed in the invalid car with his Dad is, in the circumstances amazingly wonderful. She adored her son and to the best of her ability, ensured that family life was as perfect as it could be. As the years passed, and to her great delight – a daughter-in-law, Eleanor – two grand-children, Rosemary and Richard and joy of joys – Isabel a great-grand-daughter – were gathered in to enjoy their share of the love she poured over them all.
There are so many memories of what ‘has been’. Most are of gardens, painting and food. She was she was especially proud of one garden because – there were newts in the pond! She spent a lot of time in her garden enjoying the flowers and the company of the birds. In readiness for the challenge of a new garden, she made very detailed plans – geometrically drawn with planting lists – as she prepared for the move to Alresford.
She had been a talented actress, playing the lead in school plays, and top of her class in science and maths. She made the best Victoria Sponge ever, and homemade custard with the skin on and marzipan fruit. In Richard’s first week at Cambridge she made a surprise visit bringing a cake that made his friends jealous! In the 60’s she went to teacher training college and became a primary school teacher. In retirement she could be found in an old people’s home giving Art Therapy sessions – which she continued until she was older than some of her students! In her mid-80s and not letting her eye condition impede her in any way, she took up botanic art and produced some outstanding and beautiful work. The cover of your Service sheet is an example.
Not surprisingly, the move to Alresford was hard for Vicky. After 60 years or so in the same house and same environment, with all her friends and support networks, it took her a long time to find the energy and enthusiasm to adapt and change and embrace the new. But she did it – and she did it by walking. Through her daily walks around the watercress beds or down by the river gathering inspirational bits for her art, she found joy and peace. In her sense of wonder at the beauty of the natural world around her, she rediscovered the gift of acceptance. She had always walked through life’s challenges to the place of acceptance and healing. She did settle, she did adapt and she did with great courage she did start again – by joining and volunteering for so many groups from the Lib Dems to the church flower ladies, the book group, art group, Church Office. In a very short time she made a large number of friends and we miss her.
The little story about the two sisters in our Bible reading today, paints a picture of two quite different women. There is Martha – hot, flustered, irritated, anxious to get supper on the table – cross because no-one – well someone in particular – is not helping. And there is Mary – calm, interested in just one thing – being with Jesus and listening to Jesus. And he seems to criticise Martha for her busyness and commend Mary for choosing to be with him. which I think, is unfair. Very few women are completely one or the other, most of us are we both Martha and Mary. In Vicky, busy about all the many tasks and things she had to do, it was easy to see Martha. Not quite so easy to see Mary, but she was there. She found her peace and solace in the stillness and beauty of her garden and in her walks through the richness of the natural world around her. But it was perhaps, Choral Evensong that revealed the Mary part of Vicky most clearly. She was a great fan of Choral Evensong and whenever it was sung in St. John’s – or by our Choir in the Cathedral – Choir would find her in the congregation. She struggled, as most of us do, to articulate the power with which Evensong seems to reach deep into our souls. Somehow, the blessed familiarity of it all, particularly the Psalms which carries us to rest in the deep peace of that place where the Love of God enfolds us. It gives me such peace, she would say – Peace in here – (point at chest). it’s a Peace that I would describe as the Peace of God which passes all understanding. It’s there in the psalm we have just said. The Psalm that I said every time I prayed with Vicky and when we shared the sacrament of Holy Communion, the Psalm sung at her bedside in the Hospice by two of her friends. Psalm 23
The Lord is my Shepherd – says the Psalmist – he’ll help me. I might be battered, tired and lost, but I’ll be OK. I am in safe hands. The Lord is my Shepherd.
He makes me lie down….leads me……refreshes my soul…..guides me…..comforts me
In God the hurt are given comfort. The weary are invited to rest. The lost are assured of guidance. Every word reassures the mind and soothe -s the spirit. Because the Lord is our
Shepherd, we lack nothing. God’s grace will meet all our needs.
He offers, invites and wants us to ‘lie down in green pastures’ – it is his gift of rest to us. Always there – always available.
He spreads a table before us and waits – and goes on waiting until we are ready to join him.
And he promises to be with us always .You have anointed my head with oil …….says the Psalmist……my cup is running over. This is where I belong This is home. I am truly blessed and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Good Lord for what has been – thank you. To what will be –Yes
Bring us O Lord God at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that house where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light. No noise nor silence but one equal music. No fears or hopes but one equal possession. No ends or beginnings but one equal eternity in the habitations of thy glory
Model Aircraft: Glenn Gilbertson (November Edition)
I started making models when the very first Airfix kits were produced in 1953, and have never stopped; research into accuracy, colour schemes and operational histories has been a lifelong fascination and I lost count of how many models I have made, but still have several hundred. The oldest models in the display are more than sixty years old (don’t look too closely), and the newest was finished the night before the display opened on September 7th. The models represent aircraft from the Sopwith Camel of 1918 to today’s General Atomics Reaper, but there was not room in the two cabinets to illustrate all 319 types regularly operated to date. The hope was to illustrate a variety of aircraft and finishes – the more observant nerds can count how many variations of the RAF roundel can be seen! One of the Canberras was one flown in Germany by F/Lt Keith Monkhouse – now Air Commodore Monkhouse, President of Alresford RAFA.
Apart from celebrating the RAF’s Centenary, the hope was to support RAFA’s Wings Appeal through September; I have said that the display will stay to the end of the month, but if Hilary Trickle is happy at the library may leave them till November 12. Will check tomorrow morning (her father flew Beaufighters in WW2). RAFA collection tins are in the Swan and Six West.
“Lady Luck” was indeed a USAAF bomber (the US Air Force was not formed until 1947).
History of our local Americans:
Eight Stars To Victory: A History Of The Veteran Ninth U.S. Infantry Division by Joseph B. Mittelman (Author)
Alresford Around D-Day was written by Colin Metcalfe
Some books about RAF locals:
Fighter Aces! The Constable Maxwell Brothers: Fighter Pilots in Two World Wars by Alex Revell (Author)
Aviator Extraordinaire: My Story by Air Commodore G J Christopher Paul CB DFC (Author)
Cover of Darkness by Air Commodore by Rod Chisholm (Author)
Tributes: Roger Page (February 2018)
Before my interview in 2001 for the position of Rector of New Alresford and Ovington, I did what any wise candidate would do to research the place;– I “Googled” Alresford. Two things came up immediately – the first was the Alresford Rugby Football Club, and the second was CLC. In my ignorance I knew nothing of CLC*, and became excited as I realised what a wonderful resource it was, and right on the doorstep.
Some eight months after the interview, I was “Collated” into the living of New Alresford and Ovington, and I made it my business to call on CLC to introduce myself during the following week. I recognised Roger as someone whom I had met in Church, and he couldn’t have been more-welcoming as he showed me around the warehouse and the offices. He introduced me to the lovely folk who worked with him, and to the concept of how CLC worked then, with Roger, Pearl and their co-workers “living by faith”. I so admired the strength of trust in the Lord that Roger, Pearl and the others displayed, and found Roger and the whole operation a truly inspirational project. It was so good to have in our midst a business which was managed prayerfully and faithfully, and to know that as we prayed for CLC, so Roger and his co-workers would hold the parish church in prayer also. With that confidence it was good to pop in to see him, just to share prayerful concerns with him.
In one of the earliest confirmation groups we ran, I asked Roger if I might bring the young people in to see how CLC operated, and for them to discover the outworking of “living by faith”. I know this particular aspect of CLCs operation made quite an impact on those young people, as it did me.
Whist we were sitting together in the staff room, I noticed on the wall a world map, showing the connections between CLC Alresford and places around the globe. One of those places was Vellore, in Tamil Nadu. When I led a group from St John’s to Vellore later that year, it was marvellous to visit the ELS Bookshops, both in Karigiri Hospital and at The Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore. In the latter shop, those who served me knew of Roger very well, and I tried to phone him then and there to pass on their greetings to him. Unfortunately, I hadn’t quite remembered Roger’s phone number correctly, and thus spoke to another pleasant Alresford soul instead!
As far as CLC International was concerned, it was the opening of the Bookshop in Belarus that I most-associate with Roger. It can’t have been a straight-forward project to manage, but with his usual diplomacy and tact, and firm conviction that this was from The Lord, things got underway there, and seem to have gone from strength to strength since.
Saint John’s Church has always been a “middle of the road” sort of place, which has called for compromise on the part of those who are from a more-defined churchmanship. Roger’s and Pearl ‘s “stable”, along with others at St John’s, has been firmly evangelical, whilst there are others who would class themselves as from the “catholic” wing, with the vast majority admitting to being simply “Anglican”. I was thrilled that Roger and Pearl felt they could be a part of St John’s Church fellowship. What they have been able to bring to the Church has been nothing but enrichment.
Roger was no stranger to leading worship, and I understand he had quite a prominent role doing this whilst he and Pearl were with another fellowship prior to my arrival. I was particularly grateful to Roger for the ministry into which he grew with “Sundays at Six”. It was obvious to me that the Lord was calling Roger to play a key role in that service, and his warm, prayerful, easy style, with insightful interjections and comments, and excellent choice of music to fit the theme, helped to turn it into a most-worthwhile venture.
A large amount of Roger’s time was devoted to musical and other assistance at HMP Winchester. There are many folk, both staff and prisoners alike, who have been grateful to Roger for the noteworthy part he played in the spiritual life of the place – not always an easy environment in which to minister.
I was also greatly indebted to both Roger and Pearl for the assistance they gave at the monthly devotional service in Ellingham Close, and especially appreciated his skills on the accordion, which were put to good use for Churches Together in Alresford occasions of outdoor witness.
In more recent times, Roger has been instrumental in forming and running a group for bereaved men, which has been greatly valued by those who belong to it. There were many other ways in which the pair of you just got on very quietly with caring for others; I can remember on many occasions the kindnesses done on behalf of the Wright family, for instance, and there were others besides them who have benefitted from the kindnesses extended by the pair of you.
The sadness of losing a dear Churchwarden in Dorothy, on Boxing Day, 2013, was a major blow. Ian was scheduled to retire from his role as Warden at the next APCM in the following April, and Dorothy’s sad demise left me with the responsibility of finding two wardens for St John’s.
After prayer and deliberation, two people stood out in my mind who, if they agreed, would be marvellous for this. I asked both Roger and Jackie if they would consider taking-on this crucial role, especially at a time when my retirement was imminent.
I saw Roger and Jackie as a complementary pair, with different gifts and perspectives on a whole range of concerns and interests. They were also both pastorally aware, and had an eye for detail, which is just what is required of those who take on this position.
I was thrilled when they both agreed to care for St John’s in the approaching time of transition. The vacancy unfortunately proved to be at times rather trying, and not without its difficulties, but both Jackie and Roger brought warmth, sensitivity and understanding into the situations as they arose. Since then, of course, they have been there for Julia, at the start of her ministry in The Arle Valley.
I am so very grateful for the support I received from them both in my last couple of years. I valued the many meetings we had together, and the wisdom and insights we shared in the fulfilment of our mutual duties. I will never forget the “leaving do” they organised on my last Sunday in The Arle Valley, and their kind words spoken on the occasion. Jackie and Roger were a true team, and I am so sorry that this partnership in faith and practice has been brought to an abrupt end.
I have always held Roger in the highest esteem. The perfect gentleman in all he undertook, he could charm and disarm people with his smile, and even a reprimand could sound like kindness itself from his lips! He was always very kind to me, and constantly asked after my well-being, most-concerned when he received an email from me, sent at an unearthly hour of the morning! “You’re not overdoing it, are you?”…….
I thank God for Roger, and am certain that he is well-at-home with the Lord, there with his Mum and all whom have gone before. I just wish, Roger, you could have stayed with us a bit longer.
With my love and prayers,
*CLC = Christian Literature Crusade
We were immediately drawn to Roger and thus St John’s the first time we visited the church as potential new members of the congregation. He gave us a warm and sincere welcome. If there’s at least one person on whom you can focus your attention when getting to know everybody else it makes it that much easier to become and feel involved.
We constantly hear what are the attributes of a committed Christian – open, warm, caring, concerned, prayerful, friendly, genuine, trusting and so on. We all hope that we each have some of these qualities, and more, to one degree or another. Roger had them all in equal and significant measure – he ticked all the boxes.
He is sorely missed.
God bless you Roger; rest in peace.
These thoughts have been rumbling around in my head ever since I heard the devastating news of Roger’s sudden death. Where do you begin to describe a man who has become so much a part of your life; a dear and respected colleague and fellow churchwarden, a much loved, cherished friend who felt rather more like a brother? I have known Roger for many years since we were both asked to be part of a group set up by Graham Trasler to explore setting up a healing ministry in St John’s. Later we both became part of that healing team where his care, concern and prayerfulness inspired us all. Over the years our paths often crossed in other ways but it was only when we became churchwardens together that I felt I really came to know him.
Many lives have been touched by Roger’s intuitive sense of care. He became a pastoral visitor and was often asked to visit recently bereaved men which resulted in him becoming involved in the Fresh Directions group. He could often be seen chatting to people in the churchyard, sometimes to those visiting a grave, always showing sensitivity and concern. I recall how he looked after my young nephew who was struggling with emotion at John’s funeral. It did not matter that they had never met before because to Roger this was someone in need of support and that is what he instinctively did. I often thought of Roger as the local bus chaplain because he loved the buses and was so often seen travelling on them chatting to passengers and drivers alike and I am quite certain, making many people feel all the better for the contact.
Since we became churchwardens there has hardly been a day, apart from holidays, when we have not had contact in some form or another, sometimes it seemed that there must be a direct phone/email link between our homes. Roger was so conscientious, always leading by example, always wanting to give of his very best for St John’s and all its people and above all for the God he loved. He was wise, discerning, extremely conscientious but at the same time very modest and self effacing. He took it upon himself to regularly empty the bins in the churchyard saying ‘it keeps me ‘umble’. Most of us have rarely met such a humble man. It has been a very deep privilege to have worked so closely with Roger, especially as we encountered some of the challenges of the interregnum. It is so good to also recall the happy harvest supper when we performed Mrs Beamish together and the laughter as we tried practising it beforehand. Roger’s warmth and welcome to all is unforgettable.
Roger’s faith underpinned all that he did. He really did live the mission of Jesus and I firmly believe that his life was a true example of Christianity in action. We miss him deeply but let’s give thanks for all that he has been to us, all that he has given to us and for the love and witness he has shared. We have much to learn from this great man.
Roger was a gentle and kind soul who was full of wisdom and part of the glue that held St John’s together
It has been my privilege to know Roger and Pearl since the 80s and to enjoy their staunch and supportive friendship during that time.
Our families used to share Sunday lunches together which was always fun (especially The Webberly Hills Mysteries which the children produced on a bulky video camera!)
In the Great Storm of 87 they showed their love in practical ways in meals and welcome baths as we had no power
We have shared in our children’s weddings and our anniversaries as well sadly in family funerals. As St. Paul wrote about his friends, I thank God for every remembrance of you Roger (and Pearl)
A note from my diary on 20th March 2017
“I saw Roger Page while waiting for my husband in the doctors’ surgery.
We talked, he lifts my heart.”
I so miss that man.
|WORDS of Condolence sent to the Page family|
|How shocked and saddened I was to hear of Roger’s passing – he was so lovely, and a great support to me – I really missed him when he left HMP Winchester. Please be assured you are in my thoughts and prayers – I do hope that you are taking care of yourself; that is so important at this time. Please pass on my condolences to your children. God bless you Pearl – now and in the future.|
|Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family at this really sad time. Roger’s warm welcome when we first arrived was one reason we continued to worship at St. John’s. He will be badly missed by all.|
|Your lovely Roger’s face was the first I saw as I walked into St. John’s on 9th March last year. His warm handshake and smile instantly made me feel both welcome and at ease in his presence. Although our acquaintance has been fleeting, I shared a couple of churchyard ‘clean-ups’ with him and grew to respect him and enjoy his humour – I will miss him. Grief is a strange creature that sneaks up on you at times you wish it wouldn’t. I have never realised this quite so much as in church last week. As the choir began “O Holy Night” (also a special favourite of mine) all my thoughts were focussed on you. Without any warning I was thinking of Ken and I trying to find a particular recording of it, without any knowledge of the ultimate singer – I totally “lost it” and almost didn’t go to the Communion rail as I was so distraught.|
|It is clearly obvious to say that Roger will be GREATLY missed! In his quiet and unassuming way, his life was full of service and ministry in so many ways and to so many and such varied people. His ability to get alongside some of the most difficult of offenders as well as alongside the most devout of believers was such a wonderful gift and one which he used with the utmost of discretion in the service of his Master. It was a privilege to have known him and to have worked in fellowship with him. Only heaven will reveal the number of lives that he undoubtedly touched with his gracious approach – to sinners and saints! How suddenly the commendation and call came – “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness.” What a blessed calling Roger has received – with happiness and joy that is beyond our understanding… I pray that in your loss and grief, the Lord will give you just a little taste of the unspeakable joy that is now Roger’s. How wonderful to realise that our parting is just for a short time…|
|Roger will long be remembered, by us and so many others, as a man of deep Christian faith combined with practical efficiency and a delightful sense of humour. It was so appropriate that he was elected Churchwarden of St. John’s for the critical time of interregnum and he appointment of Julia as pseudo-Rector! Roger brought to that difficult but crucial work a deep understanding of the complex world of Christian leadership, and clearly gave up his time and energies to produce and excellent result – which we are all thrilled with! While all that was going on, Roger somehow managed to keep up his organ playing – which was always a delight to listen to. And having been a Churchwarden myself (at Christ Church Winchester, including an interregnum!) I can imagine how much boring administrative stuff passed across his desk and needed his attention… The services at St. John’s in the last two days have shown the love and admiration which all of us who knew Roger have had for his in recent years…|
|Roger was such a kind, gentle man; a true gentleman, who was a true and genuine Christian, down to the last bone in his body…. Gratitude for all the work he did for the church, especially as Senior Warden…|
|Although this is a hard and difficult experience, we are sure that you will be comforted because you know that you have not lost someone, when you know where they are. You also have the comfort of one who knows what it is to weep and who has promised to be with you in every situation. Roger was a most remarkable friend and encourager. We recall attending Christian book conventions over many years when Roger would be gracefully playing the piano as we gathered and during our worship time. Almost invariably when Carine and I would enter the room, he would catch us with the corner of his eye and immediately switch to a Scottish metrical Psalm tune, much to our delight! Invariably in contact with Roger, we enjoyed fellowship about the things of the Gospel with particular reference to our glorious Lord. You will be, as we are, thankful for the sweet memories that we have of Roger’s commitment to others, to the ministry in which he was engaged and to the Lord whom he so faithfully served.|
|We remember Roger with affection and thanks for all that he did for us and meant to us. He was most gracious – gentle and kind in every way. Truly a “Christian Gentleman” and friend. Roger was our “St. John’s Godfather” and will always be held dear in the hearts of all who knew him.|
|[His] will be a great loss to many of his friends, a most kind, funny and loving man. Together, [Pearl] and Roger were an inspiring couple and so many have said that you were the kindest of people.|
|Our tears are nothing to the ocean of tears [Pearl] must feel. Roger was a friend to all, so calm so kind so hard-working, always there for everyone. Giving sympathy when needed and spurring on when work needed to be done. There will be so many holes in the tapestry of life at St. John’s and the wider community that had been filled by Roger. He will be missed so very much.|
|No words can do justice to Roger’s contribution to the life and spirit of Alresford. Everywhere we went in our church circles, he was there – offering wisdom and friendship with that ever-ready smile of his… we know, with absolute certainty, that Roger is now rejoicing with our Lord…|
|Roger – one of life’s rare gifts. Like a rainbow in all the different colours and facets of how he served our Lord. We do not expect to meet anyone of his shining example of the fruits of the spirit again in our lifetime. We will treasure his memory and our hearts go out to you [Pearl] but be comforted by the huge influence Roger has had on so many lives. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”.|
|As we got to know Roger more over the past few years because of church PCC and Standing Committee we came to realise what a truly good man he was. Every bit an exemplary Christian. Whenever he was leaving our house he would always say with such genuine feeling “thank you for all you do and God bless” when, in fact, it was he who had done so much for church. A wonderfully committed Churchwarden – so successful in the interregnum and arrival of Julia. He will leave an enormous gap and we shall all miss his calm wise and humoured approach.|
|Roger was the first person to welcome us to Alresford with a bunch of daffodils when he came to see us shortly after we moved here. We really appreciated his cheerful help in introducing us to worship at St. John’s and we will miss him greatly.|
|Roger will be in our memories for years to come. His love, tenderness and kindness to others were so evident. He was one of God’s people, doing God’s work in God’s way, in God’s time, in God’s place. From “For all the Saints” – When the strife is fierce, the welfare long; Steals on the ear the distant triumph song…” Roger is now part of that triumph song! God will be in there with you [Pearl], discernible and indiscernible.|
|Roger was such a wonderful person: kind, full of fun, full of life, always had time for people, gentle with those who needed him to be gentle, patient but firm – and totally firm in his faith. I believe – as I know you do – that he will already be with God and that for him everything will now be perfect – no longer looking through a glass darkly. But I find it so hard to understand why we couldn’t have him for longer!|
|He was a friend, a kind, generous and utterly selfless person, who gave his time so generously to others. He gave so much to the life of St. John’s that no person will ever fill the gap.|
|Roger was the most welcoming and kind man that I have ever met.|
|Roger was such a lovely, lovely man and a good friend to everyone who knew him. I hate writing about him in the past tense. I lost count of the number of times he thanked me for all I do for St. John’s – but he did far, far more and as a volunteer too. He supported me in so many ways and his Roger the Bus Pass Rover articles were such a success in The Magazine. I shall miss making music with him at St. John’s – both at Sundays at Six and singing in the Community Choir. I shall miss his humour, his kind words and his (usually) calm presence. As someone remarked yesterday he was the father-figure at St. John’s, like a godfather to all of us. A truly spiritual and really warm gentleman.|
|We rejoice that [Roger] is now safe in the hands of our Lord but our thoughts and prayers are very much with you. Roger was someone whose Christian faith shone out of him in all he was and did. It was a privilege to know him, not least to experience his musical gifts and I shall always be grateful to you both for all you shared and have done for me.|
|Roger was the first person we met in church when we called in before we moved here. He was so kind to us. Roger was also such a wonderful musician as well as such a wonderful person. We are all going to miss him so much but give thanks that we had the privilege to get to know him.|
|If ever there was a true Christian man it was Roger. He was very special, always caring and sensitive; a true gentleman, and did so much for so many. I think Julia really captured the essence of him at the morning service on Sunday [after he died].|
|He was a much-loved member of St. John’s and the wider Alresford community and we shall miss him so much. We got to know him better as we worked together for the church and it seems only yesterday that he told us how much he appreciated the fellowship demonstrated at our planning suppers. We shall remember him in many guises from the formal procession of Churchwardens to the many musical events and ‘entertainments’ particularly the Harvest Supper rendition. He was efficient, caring, funny, talented, everybody’s friend and a lovely man. He is now in the arms of the Lord he worshipped.|
|As everyone will have said, in Roger we had the example of a good, kind and truly Christian man, through and through. All that was said on Sunday [just after he died] showed how far his faith and example spread. We are all so blessed to have known him and to have learnt so much from him, as well to have enjoyed his company and his lovely sense of humour… Pearl, I know that you are as truly a servant of Christ as Roger and I pray that that will sustain you in the bleak times. I understand that Roger called you his ‘Pearl of Great Price’ and that is certainly what you are.|
|There are no words to convey what the loss you all are feeling must be like. We are all praying that you will find some comfort in the Lord at this time. We remember Roger as such a lovely, humble, gentle man with so many talents and such a lovely smile and welcome.|
|I have so many happy memories of all eight of us spending fun afternoons together at your house and how much part of the family we all felt. You and Roger were very much part of my childhood, from fun days out to church outings to work experience in the [CLC] warehouse to everything in between. Roger was truly a rare combination of warmth, success, love and generosity and I am so sad to hear that he is no longer with us.|
|The Churchwardens in our Diocese do a great job but I was always particularly impressed by Roger as his dedication in service was marked by such a deep care for the people in the congregation and desire to do his best for them; he was an exemplary Warden. I know his loss with be keenly felt by so many.|
|We give thanks to God for the relatively short time that we have had the privilege of knowing such a lovely man and seeing, knowing his love of Jesus and for you [Pearl]. “This is our God, the Servant King; He calls us now to follow Him; To bring our lives as a daily offering; Of worship to the Servant King.” “So let us learn how to serve; And in our hearts enthrone Him; Each other’s needs to prefer; For it is Christ we are serving.” This, for me, sums up Roger’s serving heart. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness.” (Matthew 25 v. 21)|
|We remember Roger fondly for being such a kind, funny, warm and caring person, who always had time to listen and who has done so much for the wellbeing of others in the community. He has always lived his life as a true witness of his strong faith. We shall miss him very much.|
|Roger was such a lovely man, with a great sense of fun. Nothing was too much for Roger, from essential tasks like emptying the bins to leading the team through the demanding period of interregnum. A good friend who led by example and always cheerful. He is very much missed.|
|I had really only got to know Roger over the last year and he was such a kind, lovely person. He was brilliant through all the interviews and pre-interview meetings for the new priest, with his calm manner and gentle sense of humour. What a tremendous loss for the church and the community.|
|Such a shock to everyone. Roger was such a genuinely lovely man and a good friend to Jackie – for which we are eternally grateful – his passing will leave a great hole in our community.|
|I have always held Roger in the highest esteem. The perfect gentleman in all he undertook, he could charm and disarm people with his smile, and even a reprimand could sound like kindness itself from his lips! He was always very kind to me and constantly asked after my wellbeing, most concerned when he received an email from me, sent at an unearthly hour of the morning! “You’re not overdoing it, are you…?” I thank God for Roger and am certain that he is well-at-home with the Lord… I just wish, Roger, you could have stayed with us a bit longer.|
|There are so very many things that I will miss about Mr. Roger. The tasty scraps from his dinner plate, which he hoped Mistress didn’t know about (she did), our nice walks together, his cry of “Where’s ball-ey?!” (a game he liked to play where I had to bring him my toy ball so that he could have a go at throwing it) – this cry indicated that the game was a-paw, the way he always took my part and spoke up for me when I had been naughty. The way he always liked me to stand on his newspaper when he was trying to read it. Everything about my life with him was nice and made me happy. You see, there are lots of different Mr. Rogers in the world. But only this one was MY Mr. Roger and I miss him every day. Gisèle-Stephanie the Parson Jack Russell Terrier.|
Roger Page was a champion for St. John’s bell ringers. He was always supportive of the ringers and ringing activities; he attended several tower AGMs in the ringing chamber at the unsociable time of 8:30pm on a Friday evening in (usually cold) January. We hope he and Pearl enjoyed being our gests at our annual tower Christmas lunch – quirkily held in April.
The whole band was saddened at Roger’s sudden and untimely death but tried to show their love and appreciation by ringing bells. On Sunday, 3 December, we rang a quarter peal of 1260 changes of Plain Bob Triples prior to the Advent carol service at St. John’s. Later that evening, a hand bell quarter peal of 1260 changes of two Minor methods was rung at the home of Derek Yates in Oak Hill. Derek was one of the many people whom Roger visited, having met him and his wife Barbara at Coffee, Cake & Chat.
Prior to Roger’s funeral, Rodney Skinner and Elizabeth Johnson tolled the tenor bell very slowly and solemnly for half an hour before the service.