An Informative Annual Parish Assembly – A Report of Proceedings

A well-attended and entertaining village Assembly provided an opportunity to welcome the newly-appointed parish council clerk Catherine Russell and an endorsement to further challenge an unwelcome outcome to the Waverley Borough Ward Boundaries review.

(Please scroll to the end of this article to see a selection of photographs of the evening. And follow this link to the Parish Council pages on this website for a full account of the evening, including the various reports from village organisations – Please look under Parish Assembly Agendas and Minutes)

The Waverley Ward review, carried out by the Boundary Commission, claimed to take into account community ties but failed to do so, and Hambledon is to be moved from a ward it shares with neighbouring Witley to one with Bramley and Wonersh, with which it has little connection.

The outcome of the Waverley-wide review has to be approved by Parliament, and the parish council has already enlisted the support of our MP and Hambledon resident Jeremy Hunt who described the review outcome as “stupid decision”. More information will appear on this website regarding measures that are under consideration. A petition or poll of residents was suggested by several villagers attending the Assembly.

The Parish Assembly, which was held last Thursday (Apr 21st), saw a return to the Village Hall after a gap of two years because of Covid restrictions, and was a convivial affair, starting with an opportunity to chat over a glass of wine, beer or soft drinks.

Parish council chairman Stewart Payne opened the formal session by remarking on how rewarding it was to see a cross-section of villagers present, including those who have done so much for Hambledon over the years and whose endeavours were now being taken forward by a new generation.

He also paid respects on behalf of the Parish Council to former village resident Jenny Sewell, who had died earlier in the week. She was a member of the council from 1983 and remained until standing down in 1995.

He then gave an account of the council’s activities over the past 12 months, with special mention of the separate Parliamentary Constituency and Waverley Ward boundary reviews, both of which had produced disappointing outcomes.

In May of 2021, John Anderson stood down as chairman, a post he had held for 19 years. He had been a councillor for 38 years. Stewart said that John has shown “exemplary” leadership and thanked him for his service.

Stewart had been asked to replace John as chairman and Mary Grove became deputy chairman. John’s departure resulted in a vacancy, which was filled by the co-option of Jude Milan. She took up her councillor role in September, to become part of a council team that also includes Philip Underwood, Sean Sinnott, Robin McKeith and Alison Scott-Bishop.

At the beginning of this year Julie Flenley resigned as Clerk and a recruitment process was started. In the meantime, Alison became interim Clerk and Robin the interim Responsible Financial Officer. Both were thanked for stepping into the breach.

Stewart said that a new Clerk, Catherine Russell, had just been appointed, and she will start work with the council on May 1st. Catherine was in attendance at the Assembly and was introduced and welcomed into her new position. Stewart said she was the “stand-out” candidate and the council was looking forward to working with her.

Representatives from the many village clubs, activities and organisations then gave brief but lively and informative accounts of their past 12 months, illustrating the scale of community involvement in our small, rural village.

Our photos below, courtesy of Anne-Charlotte (AC) Buffet, show some of the speakers, starting with new clerk Catherine Russell, Sion Griffiths from Hambledon Cricket Club, Matt Kiley from Hambledon Football Club, Ruth Canham of the Village Hall committee, Andrew Falk for the Alms Houses, Kate Walford, Nursery School head teacher, Helena Hockridge from the Hambledon Ramblers, Jon Peterson from the Festival Committee, Judith Crowhurst from the Bridge Club, Mikey Coleman from the Merry Harriers pub, Alison Scott-Bishop on behalf of Hambledon Village Shop, Debra Mitchell for the Merry Book Club, Mary Burrows on behalf of Hambledon Village Trust and Hambledon Community Fund, Jane Woolley on behalf of the Parish Magazine and Oakhurst, George Pitt from Hambledon Peddlars and Paul Osborne of the Hambledon Village Website Team. Click on the images to enlarge.

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