Community Events in Ham and Petersham

HUG's November Barn Dance in Ham - A Great Success!

On Saturday 20th November 2010, an exciting new event, HUG's first Barn Dance, took place at Ham Youth Club where Chris Shaw and his EC1 band played to a packed hall of about 200 people of all ages.

Ten strawbales were bought from Elm Farm in Claygate for the event. The children loved playing on the bales which were taken to the community allotment afterwards for reuse. 

In all, the event broke even, with many people turning up on the door on the day.

Organisers Bettina and Peter would like to extend special thanks  to Danielle, Georgina, Sue, Shirley, Jean, Janice and Briony for working in the kitchen, Andrew for being on the door and Ben for getting the Youth Club ready for the dance. Also to Kath and Ken for introducing lots of young families to the event.

Due to its success, HUG intends to make this an annual event. Yehaaa! 

HUG member, Briony Rowland describes her first Barn Dance:

"At 4.30pm it's time to locate my best jeans and sweatshirt. Once changed, I head over to the Youth Club, open the door and the music hits me! Everyone is up on the dance floor, really enjoying themselves - young and old. Straw bales transform the hall, giving it a traditional atmosphere.

I see Peter Rixon with his daughters, Lily and Rose, all joining in. Chas Warlow gives a wave  as I make my way to the food counter to sample egg sandwiches, gingerbread men and cakes, all washed down with a glass of apple juice. The food is very tasty and reasonably priced too. Just what's needed after a session on the dance floor!

Children dance and play on the straw bales while adults chat between dances. Others are photographing and filming the action.

The EC1 band is excellent and we are shown the shown the different moves for each dance, which is just as well for me as this is my first Barn Dance. Then the Band has a well-deserved rest before starting up again, at which point I offer to look after the kitchen so that the volunteers who have been working hard in there can join in the dancing.

Everybody is friendly and enjoying themselves and I chat to lots of people I know who live locally, several of whom I meet everyday on my way to fetch my morning paper.

But all too soon the last dance is called and I join my friends for a final, very enjoyable dance. And so, the evening is over and sadly I say goodbye, thinking that I can't wait for the next Barn Dance in 2011! Yehaaa!"


Home Grown at Ham 2010

On Saturday 18th September 2010,  Ham House held Home Grown, an Autumn celebration of food grown in the gardens. Visitors were invited to tour the 17th century kitchen garden, learn about herbs and bee keeping, attend cookery demonstrations  and join in family activities such as apple bobbing and making corn dollies.

HUG member and enthusiastic gardener, Bryony Rowland, describes her tour of the event:

'The first thing I came across was Dr Bike volunteers, checking visitors' bikes and offering information about cycle routes in the Richmond area. As a keen cyclist myself, I found this very useful.

I then went through the main entrance to Ham House and was offered a sheet listing all the events available during the day, a useful booklet describing seasonal vegetables and a free packet of cereal.

My first stop was the kitchen garden, where I discovered a stall selling fresh, seasonal vegetables, conveniently boxed and ready to take away.

As I had arrived rather later than planned, I unfortunately missed a reportedly very interesting talk about bee-keeping, so instead made my way to look at another stall, run by volunteer gardener, Mary, selling herbs and other plants propagated at Ham House. We watched as Dave Howard, one of the team of gardeners at Ham House, carefully dug up parsnips, using a trenching spade so as to avoid damaging the roots. These fine vegetables were then taken to one of the stalls to be sold.

On my tour, I met Sandra King, Head Gardener at Ham House. She described the Vegetable Olympics, held that morning, in which visitors were invited to compete to see who could throw a root vegetable such as a beetroot or parsnip for the furthest distance. It sounded great fun!

Nearby, another garden volunteer, Andy, was busy showing children how to make corn dollies - a popular event which the youngsters clearly enjoyed.

I then moved on the hear a talk about herbs and their uses. As a bonus, bunches of herbs were handed out - all grown at Ham House.

The cheese stall was my next stop, where there was a large range of cheeses on display. I sampled some dry-fried Halloumi, a mild, firm, white, Cypriot cheese made from goats' or ewes' milk and used especially in cooked dishes. Nearby, there was a stall selling mouthwatering preserves and pickles, just right to go with the cheeses.

All too soon, it was time to leave at the end of a really enjoyable and interesting day. Let's hope Ham House will hold another, similar event before too long.'

Official Opening of HUG's Community Allotment at Grey Court School

Saturday 17th July 2010, was an important day for HUG.  Members of the public, volunteers and Grey Court students joined Project Leader, Mary Pitteway, to watch as our local MP, Zac Goldsmith, opened the allotment by picking the first blueberry.

It was inspiring to see so many vegetables already growing and bearing fruit - evidence of the hard work put in by HUG members and volunteers over the last few months. 

Please go to our Photo Album to see photos of this event.


Ham Fair 2010

This annual event took place on Saturday June 12th on Ham Common. As usual, it was a very successful event, attracting local residents as well as visitors from elsewhere to enjoy the many stalls, displays and events.

HUG manned a stall with exhibits explaining what HUG does and promoting the work of Greener-upon-Thames, Ham Hydro and our community Allotment at Greycourt School. For the first time, HUG produced and sold postcards of local views and some of these are still on sale at Ham Library.

Grey Court Community Choir at Ham House Celebration

On Sunday, 23rd May 2010, Ham House celebrated its 400th birthday with a number of community events.

In the evening, the Grey Court Community Choir, 'Hamming it Up,' joined several other community choirs to entertain visitors. One member of the choir commented that this first public performance may not have been the most polished, but that it merited 110% for enthusiasm and commitment. The choir sang three pieces: Queen's 'Somebody to Love,' the contemporary 'Shackles/Praise You' by Mary Mary and an African song, 'Thina Simunge/We are Together.'

Grey Court Community Choir is led by music teacher, Anisa Bharmal and has a membership made up of parents, teachers and local residents. It meets on Tuesdays at 7.30pm in the Music Room and new members are always welcome. 


Ham & Petersham Girl Guides celebrate their Centenary and also become Volunteers at HUG's Community Allotment

2010 sees the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Girl Guides Association in Britain, or as it is now known, Girlguiding UK

District Commissioner, Angela Moore writes about her experience of being a Girl Guide in Ham and Petersham:

On 28th February, 1983, Ham & Petersham Girl Guides celebrated the opening of their new Hall at what is now Ham Day Centre in Woodville Road, but was then Ham Infants School.

As firstly a Brownie and later a Guide, I can now recall many exciting and memorable experiences. Camping was great fun and I have a vivid memory of how we made a wash stand for all our pots and pans just by using bamboo sticks and string.

I have always enjoyed taking part in any community-based organisation, so now, as District Commissioner, it is extremely rewarding for me to be in a position to encourage girlguides (Rainbows, Brownies and Guides) to participate in community-based groups and charities, such as HUG

I am delighted that our guides in Ham and Petersham will be helping to maintain HUG'scommunity Allotment at Greycourt School and that some of them will be able to use this experience as part of the work they need to do to achieve their Community Badges.

Girlguiding UK is the umbrella term for Rainbows aged 5-7 years, Brownies aged 7-10 years and Guides aged 10-14 years. As well as being District Commissioner, Angela Moore is also Rainbow and Guide Leader for Ham & Petersham. She will be pleased to talk to interested parents or guardians and give further information about the local groups and can be contacted on: 07963475929 or at: 


A Fashion Show at Grey Court School

On Friday 7th May 2010, Grey Court School hosted their first fashion show, titled "Old is New", showcasing garments designed and constructed by students from Years 7-11 (aged 11-15yrs).

The very appreciative audience was treated to an outstanding display of stylish outfits, including trendy t-shirts and skirts, amazing Japanese "Cosplay" fashion, stunning hats created by Year 10 (14-15yrs), as well as beautifully designed and manufactured dresses, made and modelled by students.

Of special interest to HUG members, and in line with our focus on recycling, was the "Old is New" section, in which students wore garments which they had customised from donated clothing.

After demonstrating their own impressive dressmaking skills, some students then modelled a range of lovely outfits from one of their sponsors, East in Richmond.

Other local sponsors who supported this event included Zuccini of Kingston, manga artist Declan Talbert, Carim Jewellery, Elana Jewellery, Tit fer Tat Hats, Linda Copland, and Vie make-up.

Alongside the catwalk show, the audience was treated to excellent performances by two of Grey Court's star bands from Year 7: Cloud 9 and The Vice. During the intervals there were also food and drink stalls to be visited as well as clothes, accessories, make-up and manga art on sale.

Altogether, the evening was an outstanding success for Grey Court, and especially for those staff and students who organised it, in particular Miss Harris, Mrs Copland, Mr Robinson and Year 10 textiles. As Deputy Head Teacher, Ms Price said in her concluding address, it is hoped that this exciting new event will be embedded into Grey Court's annual calendar.

Ham House Community Day

On Saturday 24th April 2010, the Ham House Community Day was a great success. The sun shone and visitors enjoyed strolling in beautiful surroundings, picnicking and seeing stalls featuring the work of local community groups.

HUG had a stall giving information about two current projects: the Low Carbon Zone and Ham Hydro. We were fortunate to have a working model of the Archimedes Screw which will be installed at Teddington Weir as part of the Hydro Project. The model, made by HUG member, Frank Hegedus, proved extremely popular, especially with children who enjoyed making it work.

Other community groups had stalls, including: Meadlands SchoolYoung People's Library Service, Ham and Petersham SOS, Ham Amenities Group, St Peter's Church, Petersham and Expert Patient's Programme. Latchmere House gave a fascinating display of their birds of prey, Middlesex and Surrey Archaeology Dowsers demonstrated their skills, and free bicycle repairs were also on offer from Bikeability.

Go to our Photo Album to see images from this event, and click to watch the video below.