Easter Greetings from Bagshot.

a large group of people following a wooden crossEaster is the most important festival in the Christian calendar for the Passion and Resurrection is the very foundation of the religion. Two very different days in close proximity with Good Friday remembering the Crucifixion and then the joyousness of Easter Sunday.

In an increasingly secular society our local churches think it important to remind as many people as possible that Eastertide is a lot more than a public holiday. For very many years they have held a "Walk of Witness" through the High Street turning right onto London Road at the Fighting Cocks, then right again at the BP garage into Bridge Road and ending with prayers and a hymn in The Square.

small white flowers on a tree an abundance of roundish yellow flowersThis summer sees a lot going on nationally with the London Olympics and our Queen's Jubilee. Though we are not that far from London I don't feel any great sense that many local people are particularly enthusiastic and many will aim to keep out of the way of the congestion that will result. Mind you, having said that, I know of some people who are very keen to be involved as volunteers, and probably more people who have failed to get tickets than have succeeded.

It is said that 95% of the country's population live within 10 miles of the torch 'relay' as it takes 70 days to cris-cross the country in the hands of 8000 runners. 'Within 10 miles' is true for Bagshot as the torch will be carried through Egham, along Ascot High Street and through Bracknell. The bulk of the 100km cycle race is in Surrey. Those who live nearer the route than we do will probably have mixed emotions, on one hand welcoming the opportunity to witness the event, but on the other the frustration that will be caused by the extensive road closures involved.


TeenTV report on The One Show 1000 relay
in Bagshot for Sport Relief 2012.

The Olympic Torch is not the only national relay this year, and the other came through Bagshot - The One Show 1000. For the benefit of overseas readers, "The One Show" is an early-evening programme on BBC TV, it is a blend of sofa-based chat show and current affairs. The show always supports the BBC charity fund-raising events which this year is "Sport Relief" and for it they launched a 1000 mile 1000 runners relay that started on Mull and ended in the Mall. This came through Bagshot along the A30. There was some confusion as to just when, initially it was thought to be in the very early hours, but in the event it was nearly 9 o'clock when it came through. I have 'stolen' this video from bagshotvillage.com

a decorated truck Planning is underway for the village's celebrations for the Queen's Jubilee (details from the current affairs website) which will include a street party.

"Elf and Safety" will no longer allow the sort of processions that we used to have with decorated flat-bed lorries laden with children - now will that comment provoke any memories of past celebrations, or pictures to add to Adam Papworth's that I first reproduced in the Christmas newsletter?  As I said last time, I would love to be able to put together a page of memories of previous celebrations.

I am not sure where we have got to with regard to the Library. You may recall that as an alternative to closing it the County Council decided that it would transfer to a volunteer-run facility, and training of the volunteers had started. Then, as I understand it, someone sought a High Court injunction to stop them. It is unclear to me what their motive was, for it seems to me that if the Council were to be told that they cannot have volunteers run a library then they would likely turn round and say "OK, back to 'plan A' - we'll close it."

Update: Prompted by my comment above one reader sent me the following information "Regarding the Library, we worked hard and got 40 or so volunteers signed up, and are awaiting the results of the action. The legal action has not been brought to stop volunteers but to stop the council withdrawing the staff and the staff computer system link, which has cut down on the services available at Bagshot. The action was brought and funded by Surrey Library Action Group - an umbrella organisation formed to try to prevent the removal of staff from the libraries, on the basis that this would in the long run make them less useful, lose support and potentially become more likely to close in the future. Volunteers have worked at Bagshot for 5 years and during that time the previous trend for falling use has been reversed with a 28% increase in active members. We are one of only 7 of Surrey's 52 libraries to have increased membership in this period. If the staff were retained, volunteers could still help by offering classes, childrens and adult activities and potentially improved opening hours, and continue to improve the usage and viability of the library."

flower with white petals and a yellow centreThe weather is always a good talking point for the English. And this year has already given us a lot to talk about. For a start it has been a very dry winter such that the water companies have already announced a hose pipe ban - even before summer is here. The start of the year was also exceptionally warm and this caused a measure of chaos with nature with some birds nesting and flowers coming out far too early.  Then snow in February. Following a very warm spell late March I am told the forecast for Easter is more snow!

trees laden with snow

As I was walking back onto the estate where I live a few days ago several people were looking up into the sky. So I did the same to see what was of interest. The answer was a Red Kite circling overhead. From near-extinction not many years ago the birds have made a remarkable recovery and have been slowly moving along the M4 corridor, where they are now a common sight. But this was the first time I have seen one locally. It is not Bagshot's first bird of prey for we have had fleeting sightings of a Sparrowhark in my own garden - and as I pen this my wife has calmly said "I saw it again today".

I have had lots of contribution come in since the last newsletter and website updates include:

With best wishes to you and those you hold dear.
Neil
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