VILLAGE FEATURE: Felpham

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AN APPRECIATION of flowers never goes out of fashion – and Felpham and Middleton Horticultural Society is proof of that.

The group is rightly proud of the fact it has been going for 71 years.

St Mary's church Felpham   Picture by Louise Adams

St Mary's church Felpham Picture by Louise Adams

Last year’s 70th anniversary carried on the calendar which has stood the society in good stead throughout its history.

There was the rose and sweet pea show in June and the larger flower and produce show in August. Since 2006, these have been joined by a spring show.

Each sees the usual venue of the society, St Mary’s Centre, filled with a colourful range of blooms and skilfully-created arts and crafts exhibits. Non-members can exhibit and compete as well as visit the shows.

Gillian Haughey, of the society, said: “At each show, flowers, fruit and vegetables are exhibited as well as floral art, arts and crafts, photography and cookery.

“Children’s exhibits 
are included in the spring show and the flower and produce show.”

The society holds nine meetings a year at St Mary’s Centre on Grassmere Close in Felpham. They take place at 7.30pm on the fourth Tuesday from February to November, excluding August. The speakers are varied and interesting.

Two outings are arranged by the society each year. Recent outings have seen members visit Pashley Manor, Merriments Gardens and Exbury Gardens.

An afternoon outing to a local garden is also arranged. Every second year, sees about eight members open their gardens to their fellow members.

A social lunch at a local lunch and a ploughman’s lunch, catered by the committee, are also held annually.

Membership of the society costs £5 a year. There is no need to be an expert gardener. Details from the membership secretary, Paula Puleston, on 01243 584843.

Felpham Village WI is the only one in the country to sing Jerusalem within earshot of Blake’s Cottage.

The famous song starts each of its meetings at the Felpham Memorial Village Hall before its members begin their regular business of friendship and fellowship across the social strata.

Secretary Sheilagh Stride said: “We enjoy ourselves at Felpham Village and are actively seeking new members and new ideas to swell our numbers in future.

“The WI movement, which celebrates its centenary in 2015, is the only organisation solely for women.

“Its 6,600 local institutes have no less than 212,000 members who enjoy themselves while advancing the interests of women in society.”

Felpham Village, along with the others, provides members with the chance to share in comradeship, learn new and interesting things and widen their horizons.

Its voice counts with a say in the WI’s annual general meeting on a pre-selected topic which affects the community in general.

Activities on the water for all ages provide plenty of chances for Felpham Sailing Club members to take to 
the sea.

The club is a small family-orientated dinghy sailing club with a strong racing pedigree.

Its location at Blakes Road boasts a slipway, a sandy beach that allows sailing at all tides and a sea breeze that kicks in regularly during the summer.

The club is open from the end of March to the end of October, weather permitting. Racing takes place on Sunday and Wednesday evenings from the first week in May to the first week in September.

Informal sailing and skills improvement take place on Saturday afternoons. Women on Water is held on Thursday evenings during July and August, with a regular turnout of females from beginners to experienced sailors.

Friday nights are cadet nights from the start of May until the end of September. These tend to get booked up.

A spokesman said: “Felpham Sailing Club is a RYA Race Training centre and runs several courses for sailing, first aid and powerboat. The club also has several boats it hires out for informal sailing and racing at low fees.”

The clubhouse seats 50 and accommodates 100 for parties and can be used for a wide range of occasions.