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The Helmdon Fellowship - Activities



(Click for more photos in the Fellowship Photo Gallery)

Fellowship Tea Party - posted 07 September 2018

The Fellowship Tea Party is at Acres End, by kind invitation of David and Carol Brookhouse, on Friday 14th September at 2 p.m. and not on 21st September as incorrectly advertised. 

60 Years And Still Going Strong - posted 31 August 2019

The Helmdon Fellowship has been in existence for 60 years and members celebrated it in style on Friday 10th August.  The heavens opened after weeks of record hot sunshine but it did not dampen the spirits of the group of members who joined the Rev'd.Will Adams to dedicate the new seat on The Green.  Will had been vicar at Helmdon when our 50th anniversary seat outside the church had been dedicated, so it was a pleasure to welcome him and Linda back to this new celebration.


A splendid buffet lunch followed in the Reading Room, then entertainment.  The committee (Doreen England, Adrienne Watson, Barbara Buxton and Val Smith) were thanked for all their hard work, as were wine waiters John Coatworth and Cec Harrold, Diana Cliff (honorary committee member) and Doreen and Bill England who decorated the Reading Room.   However, none of this would have been possible without the unflagging work and enthusiasm of the Fellowship Chairman, Carol Brookhouse, and heartfelt thanks must be extended to her.

Audrey Forgham

Haggis, Neeps And Tatties And A Scottish Piper At The Burns Lunch - posted 30 January 2018

Our Piper for the Burns Day lunch   



“Come to the Burns Lunch”, said Carol Brookhouse, Fellowship chair.  Around forty members did, and were completely surprised and broke out into loud clapping as a tall Scottish piper, namely Richard Jasper, appeared, and the haggis was piped into the Reading Room with celebratory grace in the traditional way.

The meal was delicious as always – yes, we did have the neeps and tatties  -  and afterwards we were treated to a selection of Scottish songs by Richard on his guitar before his bagpipes came out again and we sang Auld Lang Syne.

Thanks to the committee as always, Carol Brookhouse, Rosemary  Gulliver, Doreen England, Val Coatsworth, Adrienne Watson, Barbara Buxton and our ex-officio committee member Diana Cliff;  to John Coatsworth and Cec Harrold who acted as wine (and whisky) waiters; to Doreen England who decorated the Reading Room and to anyone else who contributed to its success.  It was a memorable occasion.


A 90th Birthday At The Fellowship - posted 10 September 2014



Fish and chips were on the menu for the Felowship on Friday 08 September, and it was also the occasion of Joan Hadfield's 90th birthday.

After the excellent meal, members sang "happy birthday" as she cut a beautifully decorated birthday cake in order to share the celebration with all present.

We hope that you had a wonderful birthday, Joan, and send all best wishes.




St Patrick's Day Lunch - posted 19 March 2017




 Eyes down!  Front left: David Brookhouse,

                     and front right: Alan Watson




The Fellowship celebrated St Patrick’s Day with a special lunch, and afterwards Irish jokes and Irish songs added to the spirit of the occasion.

Thanks must be given to committee members Carol Brookhouse,  Doreen England, Adrienne Watson, Rosemary Gulliver, Barbara Buxton and visiting helper Diana Cliff for the cooking and serving of the delicious meal, to Cec Harrold and Bill Elkington who acted as wine waiters, and to Ann Harman who played the piano. It was another memorable Fellowship event, and long may these wonderful occasions continue.

Strawberries And Cream At The Garden Party - posted 02 August 2016

fellowship garden party

From left to right: Geoff Robinson, Ann Harman,

Pat Woodhams, John Woodhams and Sheila Somerton   



The annual Fellowship garden party was again held in the lovely garden of David and Carol Brookhouse.   Mindful of the varied summer weather we have had this year the company of over 50 members were seated comfortably under sun umbrellas and a garden marquee to cope with all eventualities.  

By popular request Stan Shenton paid his second visit to the Felowship and played folk music throughout the afternoon. 

We were served with a delicious tea featuring strawberries and cream by the committee (Carol Brookhouse,  Barbara Buxton, Adrienne Watson, Val Smith and Rosemary Gulliver) to whom all thanks once again.   The Bring and Buy stall was manned as always by Doreen England, and the afternoon raised the excellent sum of £224.55, £100 of which went to The Alzheimers Society and the rest to Fellowship Funds.

Blankets, Pies And Downton - posted 12 May 2016


     Downton Abbey


 Old sheep pens at Cogges which featured

                as Yew Tree Farm in Downton Abbey     




Fellowship members and visitors enjoyed a visit to the Old Blanket Hall and Cogges Farm in Witney on Monday 09 May. 

Witney Blanket Hall was built in 1721 by the Company of Blanket Makers.  For over 120 years every blanket woven in the town came to the Hall to be weighed and measured, and upstairs in the Great Room the Company set the rules for the trade.   Early & Co shut down its operation in 2002 but in 2015 the Hall reopened to visitors.   Our guide told us about the Hall’s illustrious past and then we descended on the Pie Shop which provided  delicious lunches with perhaps the best pies we had eaten for many a long while. We then toured the building and were able to browse the shop which offered woollen blankets, socks and throws, etc., for sale. 

After lunch we travelled the short distance to Cogges Manor Farm, the setting for the farm scenes of ‘Yew Tree Farm’ in the TV production Downton Abbey (you may remember the scenes between Lady Edith and Marigold).  Cogges is a beautifully preserved collection of Cotswold stone farm buildings set in its own grounds.  The site has been farmed since before Domesday Book and parts of the manor house date back to the Thirteenth Century.  We could see why the BBC were keen to use Cogges Farm for Downton (and also for items in Countryfile and the TV production Arthur & George) and the interesting guide showed photographs and told us about Downton's filming.

Thank you, Carol Brookhouse, for arranging yet another excellent visit.

The Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration - posted 25 April 2016


The Queen's 90th Birthday lunch

A splendid lunch       



A group of around 45 Fellowship members sat down to a splendid celebration buffet meal in honour of the Queen on her 90th Birthday, Thursday, 21st April.

A lusty rendition of the national anthem showed our appreciation of the fact that Her Majesty has been on the throne most of all of our lives, giving unswerving loyalty and devotion to the Country and the Commonwealth.  During the excellent meal a DVD was shown about her life which was enjoyed by all.

A special thank you should be accorded to Carol Brookhouse who organised the event, ably assisted by the committee, Barbara Buxton, Doreen England, Rosemary Gulliver, Val Smith, and Adrienne Watson, and the co-opted wine waiters for the afternoon, Cec Harrold and John Coatsworth.

God Save the Queen!

February Change Of Programme - posted 08 February 2016

There is a change of programme for the Fellowship on Friday, 12th February.  The talk is now entitled Dressed To Impress, with slides, presented by Greta Paradine Palmer, which will be of interest to both sexes.

The Fellowship meetings are open to all over sixties and retirees.   After the talk there is always an excellent tea and new members are very welcome.

Summer Garden Party In Aid Of The Katherine House Hospice - posted 17 August 2015


Fellowship tea party

      The strawberry and cream tea in full swing





It was a lovely sunny day in the garden of Acres End, the home of David and Carol Brookhouse, which was the venue for a garden party for around fifty people on Friday, 7th August.

Good entertainment was provided in the form of folk music by Stan Shenton, and the committee served  a  delicious strawberry and cream tea.

£304.60 was raised for the Katherine House Hospice.   Thanks to all those who contributed  to this excellent sum.


Fellowship Christmas Party - posted 18 December 2014


Fellowship entertainmnetThe splendid "We Three"       



At the Fellowship Christmas party on Friday, December 10th, 48 members enjoyed entertainment by "'We Three", a very talented trio. There were very amusing monologues, wonderful singing, and classical music.


This was followed by an excellent tea,  provided as always by the committee, Carol Brookhouse, Pauline Payne, Barbara Buxton, Val Smith, Rosemary Gulliver and Doreen England.

The afternoon was rounded off by carol singing accompanied by Ann Harman on the piano, and, of course,  Father Christmas made his annual appearance with gifts for all. 

An Amazing £535 Raised For Help The Heroes At Garden Party - posted 14 August 2014


garden party


       Musical entertainment at the garden party




A large number of members and friends turned out for the Garden Party on Friday 8th August held at Acres End, Field Way.  In spite of glowering skies the weather kept fine for banjo player Neil Sims, who entertained us with songs and David Perkins, a Help the Heroes volunteer, who told us about the his work of the charity and whetted our appetites for the Fellowship’s proposed visit to Tedworth House, the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre,  later in the year.  Our appetites were also whetted by the delicious tea  kindly donated by the committee.   There was a bring and buy stall and raffle, and the amazing proceeds of £535 went to the Help the Heroes charity.  Thank you to David and Carol Brookhouse who lent their garden for this event and faced the inevitable clearing up – done just in time before the heavens opened! 

Summer Coffee Morning - posted 10 August 2014

Fellowship garden party

Lots to talk about

(photo: Barbara Buxton)



A Fellowship Garden Party attracted a large number of members and friends on Wednesday 9th July, no doubt in part to the lovely sunny summer weather.  It was held at Romiley in Cross Lane, by kind permission of Trudie and Barbara Buxton.


Enjoyable Visit To The Lavender Fields- posted 11 July 2014



the lavender fields


       Sue Lidgley stops to admire the lavender




Fellowship members and friends enjoyed a visit to Caldwell Farm in Hertfordshire on Friday 4 July. 

After a pleasant lunch they braved the hottest day of the year so far (made somewhat more pleasant by a slight breeze), walking out into the surrounding Hitchin Lavender Fields. 

The guide gave us a short history of the Hitchin lavender fields.  They go back a long time for in the sixteenth century the small market town was one of only two major lavender growing areas in the country.  He then explained the differences between the lavender varieties, how they are grown, and the making of the lavender into the different gifts available at the shop, all made from lavender flowers or essential oils, 100% of which come from the farm. 

Some members turned back but the more intrepid ones amongst the group walked way up the hill, and were rewarded by a beautiful view across several counties and an overview of the lavender fields.  Cups of tea and ices rounded off a very enjoyable day.  

Interesting Visit To The Poppy Factory - posted 03 June 2014







Forty members of the Fellowship visited The Poppy Factory in Richmond on Monday 2nd June.  To the surprise of many of our members it is not run by the British Legion but is a charity in its own right, employing and housing its workers, disabled ex-servicemen.  

After lunch we were given a very comprehensive history of the charity. For nearly 90 years it has been making poppies, crosses and wreaths for the Royal Family and the Royal British Legion’s annual Remembrance Day appeal.   In recent years, as well as providing work for disabled veterans at the The Poppy Factory itself, the charity has used its unique expertise to help clients find work with many commercial organisations all over the UK.

Then came an interesting half-hour when we were shown round the actual factory,  which is busy all the year round.

Another  memorable Fellowship visit.  Thank you Carol Brookhouse  for organising it so ably.


Coffee Party At Acres End - posted 22 April 2014


  Fellowship coffee morning

       Coffee on a lovely spring morning -

-                                            May 2014                                        



The Helmdon Fellowship has coffee mornings throughout the year. This is by kind permission of several Helmdon residents who do not mind thirty or forty members coming to their houses and enjoying their gardens, whilst partaking in tea and biscuits and generally putting the world to rights. 

We have recently been to  Barbara and Trudie Buxton’s;  the occasion above  left was a lovely sunny spring morning at David and Carol’s Brookhouses’s bungalow in Acres End.   Bring and Buy and raffles always feature and are strongly supported, because this is the way the organisation subsidises their various trips throughout the summer.

Visitors are welcome on trips: please refer to the Fellowship Programme for details.


Excellent Speaker, Excellent Contribution To Air Ambulance - posted 14 January 2014

Fellowship meeting

Carol Brookhouse and the speaker, Tim Hewlett

(photo: Barbara Buxton)



Carol Brookhouse, Fellowship Chair, is also President this year of the Inner Wheel Club of Brackley, and to celebrate 10h January, the founding 90 years ago of  Inner Wheel worldwide, fifty Helmdon Fellowship members were joined by twenty-five  Brackley Inner Wheel  members for their January meeting, who kindly provided and served an excellent tea to all present.

The speaker was Tim Hewlett, one-time wing commander in the Royal Air Force and latterly the Director of Royal Travel from 2001 until 2012, who gave us a fascinating insight into all the complications, hurdles and sometimes the perks  of the planning of royal travel,  and regaled us with some tales for which all recording devices had to be switched off!

There was a bring and buy stall and raffle and it is very pleasing to report that the excellent sum of £387 was raised for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance service.

From Fellowship members to Brackley Inner Wheel – thank you for our excellent tea.  You may come and join us again any time!

Christmas Party 2013 - posted 22 December 2013


  Fellowship Christmas Party

       Father Christnas giving out his gifts to

               (from left) Trudie Buxton, Win Wood and Ann Harman

                   with Jan  Harrold looking on                                        



The Fellowship year would not be complete without the annual Christmas party. The entertainer was one of the Blitz Sisters, Elizabeth Mahon, with favourite tunes from the 40s, who got us all singing happily along with her.

Christmas tea was laid on by the committee, Carol Brookhouse, Rosemary Gulliver, Doreen England, Barbara Buxton, Sheila Somerton and Pauline Payne, who have worked so hard during the year providing an interesting and entertaining programme and who cater for the teas at each meeting.

Amongst other places, Father Christmas was seen at the Christmas Lunch Club meeting and spied going by pony and trap up Hintons Close to the Acorns Pre-School, and he duly made his appearance at the Fellowship Christmas tea, bearing gifts for all. Thank you, John Coatsworth, for making this possible!


Memorable Visit To The National Arboretum - posted 31 July 2013

National arboretum

(photo: Alex Corrin)




The National Memorial Arboretum is the Uk’s Centre of remembrance, covering 250 memorials set in 150 acres of maturing woodland, located in the heart of the country within the National Forest near Litchfield.

Helmdon Fellowship and friends went to the Arboretum on Wednesday 24th July and  everyone enjoyed the visit to this most special and unique place.

The photograph shows a section of the Armed Forces Memorial which commemorates the men and women of our Armed & Merchant Services who have lost their lives in conflict,  as a result of terrorist action or in training exercises since the end of World War II. It is a striking piece of architecture designed by Liam O'Connor, inspired by the ancient landscapes of pre-historic Britain and the classical forms of ancient Rome.



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