In this, our penultimate Sunday Reflection, Jane Woolley and John Hindley, the editors of Hambledon’s Parish Magazine, reflect on how it has kept the village informed and entertained throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lock-down.
“All church services cancelled”; “Cricket suspended”; “Promising season curtailed”; “A rousing last performance”. Just some of the headings we were having to write during March as we edited the April issue of the Parish Magazine. Our hearts were sinking deeper and deeper into our boots: what prospect was there of any subsequent issues as everyone and everything locked or shut down until further notice?
However, by April 16th, the last date for receipt of copy for the May edition, there was so much material that, for only the second time in recent history, we had a 60-page issue on our hands. But not the last.
Although runs could not be scored on the cricket green, no goals kicked at the football club, no audiences entertained at the village hall, just about all the other village organisations and clubs – from the church to the pub to the shop – had re-activated themselves in ways that they had never imagined of in pre-pandemic days.
Parish Council meetings? No problem thanks to Zoom. Church services? Worship, prayer and fellowship on offer online. Pub grub? A special take-away menu prepared for those who were having to self-isolate. The weekly shop? Just telephone or email your order to Hambledon Village Shop for delivery to your door-step on the very same day.
All this plus community assistance and fundraising initiatives launched to provide for those in need of support, including financial help, and articles on how individual families were responding to lock-down.
And where to find all this vital information? In the Parish Magazine, of course. Throughout the pandemic the Magazine, with a team of volunteers to deliver it to doorsteps, attempted to keep track of and report on the often fast-moving and sometimes contradictory changes that affected everyone in Hambledon.
Perhaps an even more important role has been its ability to keep people aware of what a significant number of individuals and groups have been doing to ensure that village life continued under the new-normal. New contributors appeared, with wonderful offerings, and three more 60-page issues followed. VE Day was commemorated.
For people who had to self-isolate and for to all who had to lock-down, the Magazine demonstrated that Hambledon’s community spirit never wavered.
The editors had few problems, other than dealing with last minute changes. The good-news stories continued to flow and one of the best headlines we were able to write for the latest (August) issue of the Magazine was “Heading back to normal” (although caution did dictate the addition of a question mark!).