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Jonathan Harris - Memorial Plaque

on Fri, 03/06/2011 - 5:26pm

A memorial plaque in memory of Jonathan Harris, who was Chairman of Sparsholt Parish Council for 16 years and who sadly passed away in 2009, was fitted to the bench on Sparsholt village green by his partner Terry M in a presentation on Monday, May 30th.

Tim C, who took over as Sparsholt Parish Council chairman from Jonathan, kindly said the following during the presentation:-

I am grateful for the opportunity to say a few words today, on behalf of the Parish Council...

Jonathan and Terry came to Westcot from London in 1980; and Jonathan soon came to appreciate and to want to protect the natural beauty of the area they had moved to, in particular the rural amenities of Sparsholt and Westcot.

He became chairman of of the Parish Council in 1987 and remained chairman until 2003. I have worked out that, on the basis of an average of 7 meetings a year, Jonathan would have chaired no less than 112 council meetings in a cold and damp Griffin Hill long before the refurbishments we enjoy today. Meetings which went largely unnoticed but in which the Council members got on with the often mundane, certainly never glamorous, local government business affecting the civil parish. Were Jonathan with us here today, however, I am sure he would want to say how ably assisted he was in performing his role by others on the Council, including Richard R, Joyce C, Paula M and, of course, Jane J, the Council's indefatigable parish clerk.

In his 16 years as chairman, the Council achieved much on behalf of the parish. Two instances, in particular, stand out in my mind. The first, in 1993, involved a particularly insensitive proposal to build a 'terrace' of 9 to 12 houses on what is now the site of Foxcombe House. The Parish Council opposed the development and it was rejected on appeal by the Secretary of State as harmful to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area. Thus the Parish Council, with Jonathan at the helm, preserved the amenities of that site at the heart of Sparsholt as we can see and enjoy today.

The second, in 1998, involved linked proposals for the redevelopment of Home Farm, Sparsholt and Westcot Farm including a suburban estate of 7 houses opposite the Star and a major extension of farm buildings incorporating a grain dryer in the open countryside at Westcot. The Sparsholt Parish Council, under Jonathan's leadership, fought the proposals for over two years (1998-2000) as being both contrary to the Local Plan and harmful to the amenities of the two settlements, until eventually the applicants withdrew the application.

Such threats to the well being of this community will no doubt arise again in the future from time to time. But in remembering Jonathan today and his 16 years cheerful service to the civil parish, I like to think that, due in no small part to his efforts, the words of the song "You don't know what you've got till its gone" have no application in Sparsholt.


Bridge Days Raise Over £1,000

on Thu, 02/06/2011 - 6:32pm

A bridge event, held recently in Westcot, raised over £1,000 for Sparsholt Church and the Wallace Watson Award.

The event was run by Westcot local Jane C, with food, wine and raffle prizes donated by

7 tables were played on the first day and 8 on the second. Players each paid £24 for a ticket, which included coffee and biscuits, a glass of bubbly and lunch with wine. Each day was rounded off with tea and cakes, kindly donated by Muriel and Rose. 

A stand selling pyjamas in aid of a Kenyan school called BushBells took £400.00; BushBells aims to teach children good English and Maths and instill a love of their country and the environment in which they live.

The Wallace Watson Award was set up to encourage and assist undergraduate and graduate members of St Catherine’s College, Oxford to undertake expeditions or travel of a challenging nature to mountainous and/or remote regions and thereby foster an inner strength of character and a broadening of the mind. You can read more about it on their website:-

The final total was £1100.86 and will be split between Sparsholt Church and the Wallace Watson Award.

Sparsholt Tuggers - 3 Peaks Challenge

on Wed, 25/05/2011 - 7:25pm

The Men of Sparsholt Tug of War Team successfully completed the 3 Peaks Challenge over the weekend of May 20th, in a superb 22½ hours, raising over £9,500 for their chosen charity, Helen & Douglas House, in the process.

The 3 Peaks Challenge is to climb Ben Nevis (Fort William), Scafell Pike (Lake District) & Snowdon (north Wales), in less than 24 hours. To put the challenge in perspective, the team had to climb more than 10,000ft, over 26 miles of steep & extreme hiking and travel over 500 miles, all in less than a day.

Setting off from the Star Inn at 5.30pm on Thursday the 19th May, the team made Glasgow for an overnight stay, before starting their challenge and for the summit of Ben Nevis in sunshine at 1pm on May 20th. They expected a 5 hour return journey but reached the summit plateau for a tug of war and team photo, before returning back down the mountain in just 4 hours.

Six hours later, the team arrived at the foot of Scafell in total darkness. The expectation for this mountain was 4 hours which, although it’s two thirds the distance and height of Ben Nevis, it's a steep and relentless, boulder strewn climb. In the dark, the climb seemed to take forever, with the final 500m engulfed in low cloud. Having reaching the top and with a second tug by the light of head torches, the team returned to the van in just 3 hours & 20 minutes.

Back in the van, the team headed for north Wales and the final part of their challenge. Despite the van sat-nav deciding that they had need for more excitement, taking them via the infamous Hardknott Pass - a 1 in 3 multiple hairpin single track road - they arrived safely at Pen-ypass, the base of Snowdon.

Setting off at 8.15am, with 4 hours & 45 minutes to complete the task, they found the summit engulfed by cloud and a very strong wind. One last tug and they were back off down the mountain, reaching the bottom in 3 hours & 20 minutes.

Congratulations to the Men of Sparsholt Tug of War Team for completing the challenge and for raising such a tremendous amount for Helen & Douglas House - a testament to their commitment, training and planning: Jon C, Steve O’G, Laurence W, Iain B, Barry J, Dave E, Sam C, Jorge M, Headley, Jez and Stirling.

A big 'thank you' to everyone who has sponsored them for this fantastic cause, but if by chance you haven't, please visit their JustGiving page – they would love to reach £10,000:-

Helen & Douglas House is a registered charity providing respite and end of life care for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions, as well as support and friendship for the whole family. The two hospice houses are bright, vibrant and positive places, where the emphasis is on living life to the full, even when that life may be short. Find out more by visiting their website:-

See the complete 3 Peaks Challenge gallery by clicking the image stack:-

MS Cake Break - Thank you!

on Mon, 23/05/2011 - 11:53am

The 'Cake Break' at Griffin Hall on Friday May 20th, which was held in aid of Multiple Sclerosis, was a great success and very well attended.

The morning raised over £160 - a big thank you to everyone who came along and to those that made it possible by donating cakes and their time.

For further information and advice on Multiple Sclerosis, please visit the MS Society website by clicking <here>.

Parish Plan - Bingo and Quiz evenings

on Thu, 28/04/2011 - 11:22am

The Sparsholt and Westcot Parish Plan steering group would like to thank all residents that participated in the successful village Bingo and Quiz evenings.

Both these fun evenings were well attended and has given a wider view on what the village wants through the”Love it, hate it” forms collected. The Parish Plan questionnaire is currently being formulated, based on all the data collected through the village events and will be delivered to all residents by the end of May 2011.

The Parish Plan steering group will have a tent on the Sparsholt village green, at the Sparsholt and Westcot Gardens Open day, 30th May 2011, for any residents who have queries regarding the questionnaire.

On this day also, we will be launching the children‟s (16 and under) art completion. This can be presented in any media, paint, drawing, charcoal, print, etc. that is in A4 size. The winner, which will be judged by Lady Judith Swire, will have their work printed in the published Parish Plan. Closing date will be 31st Aug. 2011.

Finally congratulations to Mr Pete Wiltshire, who won the box of sweets, (watch your fillings Pete) in the “Guess where” competition listed on the website last month, a new competition will be listed at the end of April.

For more details on the Sparsholt & Westcot Parish Plan, please click <here> or email [email protected]

Fashion Show

on Wed, 27/04/2011 - 5:49pm

The Sparsholt Fashion Show, held at the Griffin Hall on April 14th, was a great success, and thanks to all who came and bought, we raised well over £500!

There are still lots of lovely items unsold and these will be available again at the 'Cake Break' coffee morning on May 20th, with proceeds going to Multiple Sclerosis Research.

See the Diary item for the 'Cake Bake' coffee morning by clicking <here>.

Sparsholt Tuggers

on Fri, 15/04/2011 - 12:43pm

The Men of Sparsholt Tug of War Team are hoping to climb the 3 peaks in under 24 hours on 20th May 2011 to raise money for Helen & Douglas House. On each peak (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) they plan to have a tug of war competition against whoever they can find - or just against each other.

The team say that "apart from tugging in high places, we really want to raise a lot of money for the Helen & Douglas House. It's a fantastic charity that cares for children and young adults with life-shortening conditions. Helen & Douglas House looks after people from birth to 35 and their families, in the most difficult of times. We really want to help".

Men of Sparsholt are: Barry Jones, Laurence Williams, Dave Eyley, Iain Brown, Sam Coe, Steve O'Gorman, John Coe and Jorge Mendonca. Please support them.

If you've not already sponsored them for this fantastic cause, please visit their JustGiving page:-