The Wardens - November 2017


From the Wardens Window


It was good to welcome Bishop Karen, the Bishop of Sherborne, on the first Sunday of October. And just as good was her reason for coming, the licensing of Rev Sheila Thomas, as associate priest of West Parley parish. We warmly welcome Sheila to that role and all that it entails and are very grateful to her for taking it on. As the Bishop herself noted, the warmth of feeling for Sheila was plain to see from the nature of the applause given to her in Church. On a personal note I would add that Derek and I, as churchwardens, have already found it a pleasure to work with Sheila and we look forward to an even closer association in her new role.

A picture of her with the Rector and the Bishop can be seen in the local free paper, thanks to our new publicity officer, Graham Thomas.

With the celebration which followed Sheila’s licensing coming only a week after Harvest Festival and its accompanying lunch, October has proved a very sociable month. It is really good to see that aspect of church life so well embraced especially with the opportunities to welcome others whom we do not necessarily see regularly. The lunch was attended by 80 and the money raised for “Mary’s Meals” totalled £520 which, with gift aid, will mean a contribution of nearly £600 to this very worthy charity. A word of thanks is due here to the Watson family for another excellent meal and all the hard work which they put in behind the scenes.

Yet another celebration followed the next weekend with the dedication of a magnificent seat outside the entrance to All Saints’ given by his family in memory of Jim Sansom, who served as verger in the parish for no less than 60 of his 95 years. Jim was born in the parish in 1904 and, apart from army service, spent the rest of his life here. His father was the shepherd looking after the flock grazing on what then was open down land on Dudsbury Heights where there were then no trees, just a hut that he would spend the night in during lambing. Jim also went into farming at Brambles farm where he met his wife to be. Her father was farm manager there and her home was in Kinson. A trip to visit her without a New Road bridge was in those days treated as we would now treat a trip to France!

From farming Jim went into the army for a short service before returning to Dudsbury moving some 200 yds up from the bottom of Dudsbury Hill to the top to raise a family of seven whilst serving in many capacities including fireman, when he was given just three minutes to cycle to Ferndown when the siren went, and gravedigger. His family tell of the occasion he actually fell into one of the graves and a startled courting couple were disturbed by a voice from the depths of the earth asking if anyone was there.

Altogether it was a very enjoyable occasion, very suitable for a man of Jim’s eternally sunny nature. Following the service in the church with many of his family there, the actual dedication took place round the seat and this very warm occasion was rounded off there by his 12 year old great-grandaughter, Eve, singing beautifully for him “Are you going to Scarborough Fair?”.

As a life-long inhabitant of West Parley, covering almost the whole of the twentieth century, Jim saw many huge changes to the parish, some of which I referred to in my last article. This included the building of the new bridge over the Stour in the 1920’s. Thus came about the New Road and Parley Crossroads. And, with this third way made into Bournemouth, modern West Parley was created and one wonders what excitement there was at the time and how Jim Sansom would view it today.

Garnet Lambert






The Wardens
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