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During the last 33 years the names Gris and Diana have frequently been heard, either collectively or individually, in the Medstead locality. Sadly, due to Gris' immobility, they have had to leave so that Gris can get the care he needs, thus we shall hear less of them in the future.
Old Rectory Cottage, June 2001.
© Paul Oliver
Reproduced with permission.
Brigadier E.G.B. Davies-Scourfield MC, CBE, DL and Diana bought The Old Rectory Cottage in Medstead in 1966 but did not take up full-time residence until 1973. This was when Gris retired after a distinguished career in the army. Diana, after 26 moves in 27 years relishing the thought of at last staying put!
Gris was born in the year that the First World War ended, was educated at Winchester College from whence he went to Sandhurst and was commissioned into The King's Royal Rifle Corps in 1938.
He remained in England for the first eight months of World War Two but in May 1940 his battalion was sent to Calais. This was a no surrender deployment to ease the pressure on the evacuation from Dunkirk. Gris was seriously wounded three times - he was found in a ditch and was taken prisoner. For his bravery he was awarded the Military Cross.
In Presence Of My Foes
Buy it from Amazon.
After he retired he wrote In Presence Of My Foes, a second edition of which is now in print. This is a brilliant account of his experiences during the war years and has been described as one of the finest memoirs to emerge from the Second World War.
His graphic description of the fighting at Calais, life in the POW camps, his escape from Posen, his life with the underground in Poland for nine months, his recapture and subsequent "posting" to Colditz, the venue for difficult POWs, his escape therefrom and recapture, all make fascinating and very sobering reading.
Gris at Colditz
When asked by one of the younger members of the village how he escaped from Colditz, Gris replied "Well... I walked out through the main gate... didn't I?" Perhaps there was a little more to it than that! He was Mentioned in Despatches for his activities as a POW.
Gris and Diana were married in November 1945. Then began the 26 moves referred to at the beginning. In 1945 to The War Office (as it then was), in 1947 Palestine, in 1948 to The Staff College, during this posting their daughter Susan was born. From 1949-1951 it was Malaya, where Gris was promoted to Major and was awarded the MBE.
On their return from Malaya there was a worrying episode when Diana contracted poliomyelitis, but from which she made a complete recovery. From 1951-1955 Gris served with The Rhine Army in Germany coming back to be second in command of the battalion in Winchester until 1958, when there was another stint at The War Office, and their son Gwyn was born in 1959.
In 1960 he was promoted to Lt. Colonel and took command of the 1st. Battalion of The Rifle Brigade in Germany. Next came a posting to Cyprus with a return to Winchester in 1963, where he was appointed Brigade Colonel of The Green Jackets, with the rank of full Colonel.
From 1963-1966 Ghana was their destination where Gris was promoted to Brigadier, was commander of The British Joint Services Training Team and was awarded the CBE. When in Ghana he and Diana became friendly with Joe Dadson who was Bishop of Tamale, and who graced Medstead with his presence on two occasions when Gris was Churchwarden at St. Andrew's.
He was then posted to Cyprus in 1966 as second in command of Near East Land Forces. In 1969 it was back to Tidworth where he was in command of the Salisbury Plain Area and where he stayed until retiring in 1973, which is when Medstead really came into the picture.
Perhaps retirement is not the appropriate word. Gris quickly became the Director of The National Association of Boys Clubs; a post he held for 10 years. He was elected Churchwarden, serving as such for 16 years, during which time there were two interregna. He was a member of the Alton Deanery Synod for part of that time.
For some years he was Chairman of the Hampshire Branch of The Army Benevolent Fund. He was Chairman of the King's Royal Rifle Corps' Regimental Association and, not surprisingly, was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Hampshire. His other services to the village included being a Vice-President of the Medstead Sports Club and, together with Diana, holder of the key to the church for many years.
Diana, whilst less in the limelight, was the perfect army officer's wife, a tremendous asset for any senior officer - in Medstead she carried on being the perfect hostess. The only war time snippet of information gleaned was that she was at Bletchley Park as a member of the WRNS during the time that the Enigma Machine's code system was being broken down.
In Medstead she supported St Andrew's Church well. She served on the Parochial Church Council, was a member of the Deanery Synod and a founder member of the Friends of St. Andrew's Church (FOSAC). She organised the Flower Rota for the church for 10 years.
In the secular world she was a magistrate, serving on the Alton Bench for 15 years and for a time was Chairman of the Matrimonial Court. A member of the Parish Council for a number of years including being chairman, and during her term as a school governor she became Chairman of Governors. She was a member of the W.I., serving on the committee, and a member of the Village Hall Committee.
The very successful Lenten lunches were started by Diana, primarily to support the Alton Deanery's Karamoja project, which was to provide support for the church in that part of Uganda and also for other supportive charities.
Gris and Diana, in addition to the son and daughter referred to earlier, have two grandchildren. They celebrated their Golden Wedding in 1995 and their Diamond last year. As a keen sportsman Gris was never happier than when he was behind a gun, on a horse or on a racecourse. We hope that he will recover enough to enjoy these activities again.
Medstead is proud to have had the privilege of their company over the last 33 years, and they go with our best wishes for the future.
Colditz survivors: a photographic project, Stefan De Batselier.
How we fooled the Germans, The Guardian, February 1, 2000.
Nazi Prison Escape: transcript and companion web site, WBCH Nova, broadcast on February 6, 2001.
The Parochial Church Council met on Wednesday, 20th September. The meeting started with a presentation on our forthcoming Vision Day. Resulting from this, a small group comprising Ben, Kerry and Chris are to make the necessary arrangements for the Vision Day, which will be held on Saturday, 18th November starting at 10.00am, in the Church Hall.
As well as the usual business, your PCC discussed the following:
Our next, joint, Benefice PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, 25th October and the next PCC meeting is on Wednesday, 22nd November, both at 8.00pm in the Church Hall.
If you have any matters you would like discussed, please let our Secretary, Chris Tew, know.
Fifty villagers attended St. Andrew's traditional harvest supper and thanksgiving celebration, on Friday, 15th September, in the Village Hall.
We were well entertained by Counting Sheep, an excellent trio who were led by Laura Jurd on the keyboard. We were also presented with a quiz, prepared by Nathan Smoothy, which was won by Jennifer Lines.
Although not as well supported as previous years, we still had an excess which, together with the collection, meant we were able to send £72.60 to WaterAid to provide village water supplies in third world countries.
Many thanks to Kerry who managed the provision of an excellent spread.
We had a full church for our Harvest Festival family service on Sunday, 17th September. Special thanks go to everyone who came along and decorated the church, it looked wonderful: very festive and the sunflowers made the church look particularly colourful.
Thanks also to all those who provided such a superb collection of produce and gifts which were donated to the Winchester Night Shelter.
On Saturday, 9th September, between 10am and 6pm, Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust will be holding their annual sponsored cycle ride. It is an opportunity to discover ancient churches and to raise funds for your favourite place of worship and the Trust.
The Trust raises funds to assist with the preservation, maintenance and improvement of churches in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands, for the benefit of the public.
Participants gain sponsorship and visit as many churches registered for the event as possible. Riders visit and sign in at each church, which boosts their funds.
An enjoyable day is had by individuals, families or groups of all ages, interest in historic churches like St. Andrew's is promoted and Christians of all denominations are brought together.
Funds raised are split equally between the Trust and the church(es) of the individual's choice.
Last September the Alton area raised £7704.10 making it the most successful area in Hampshire. Well done to all the intrepid riders from our Benefice who helped achieve such an excellent result.
Please do join in this year or be generous with your sponsorship. St. Andrew's received a grant from the Trust towards the restoration of our church roof.
Our Bishop, Michael will be participating and will try and visit as many churches in the Candover Valley as he can. Anyone wishing to sponsor him may do so by telephoning 01962 624787.
It was as if we had walked into an oven as we left the airport at Madurai out into the late evening of a Tamil Nadu summer. There, waiting to greet us were Jeyapaul, Annamuthu, their son Charles and, last but definitely not least, Ben!
It had taken Lizzie, Rachel and me 48 hours but now we were actually here! Immediately, garlands of exquisitely perfumed flowers were laid on our shoulders and we were ushered into a (thankfully) air-conditioned car for the two-hour journey to Devakottai.
On arrival at Jeyapaul's house around midnight, we were asked to wait at the gates. Soon Annamuthu emerged from the house carrying a tray on which rested 4 candles. This she proceeded to pass in front of us, all the while reciting a Christian prayer of welcome and thanksgiving for our safe arrival.
Thus four tired but extremely excited Flenleys began their never-to-be-forgotten trip to see Kathryn's Mercy Home and Joan's Grace Home. To tell you about everything we saw and experienced would take up too much time, so let us share with you just a few highlights:
Everywhere we went, people wanted to touch us and be photographed with us. They could not do enough to make us welcome.
There is great poverty and deprivation, particularly in the rural areas. People are barely scraping a living and it is not until you see the arid paddy fields that you realise how devastating it is when the expected rains do not materialise.
It is from these rural areas that our children come. They represent, in many cases, the first generation which has been given the chance of an education and thus the opportunity to move out of grinding poverty.
They will in turn make the lives of their families more comfortable by contributing financial and practical support.
So, if you already sponsor a child, thank you! We have seen the difference you have made. If you would like to take up a sponsorship, we have brought back with us information about six girls who are waiting for the opportunity to enter the Mercy Home.
And what of the future? The most pressing need is to purchase the land adjoining the Mercy Home in order to provide separate cooking facilities. At present, Jeyapaul and Annamuthu are renting a home with a large kitchen to which the boys come twice a day for a cooked meal (the girls are fed at the Grace Home). This can only be a temporary measure, due to the costs involved, the distance the boys have to walk, and the fact that they have to eat outdoors whatever the weather!
The next project is to provide teachers who will set up schools in the rural areas. These schools will provide for Secondary education where the children live, rather than them having to be found accommodation in the town.
We shall be putting together a more detailed presentation later in the year. In the meantime, we would ask you to do the following:
Our visit has shown us what vision and prayer can achieve when matched with practical support. A lesson for us here as well as an inspiration!
The fourth annual St. Andrew's Hog Roast, which took place on Saturday, 22nd July in the gardens of the Castle of Comfort, was another great success.
Over 80 people enjoyed a beautifully roasted hog for their supper. The pork was accompanied by a wide choice of salads and breads, with the opportunity to wash it down with drinks from the Castle.
As well as having a great time we raised £572 for church funds.
Our thanks go to the Social Committee for organising the event, especially to Adrian and Patrick for applying their culinary skills; to those who provided salad dishes, and particularly to Sue Willson at the Castle Of Comfort for allowing us to use the pub garden.
It was a perfect venue for the evening and the play area was much appreciated by the many children present!
The Parochial Church Council met on Wednesday, 19th July. As well as the usual business, your PCC discussed the following:
Our next PCC meeting is on Wednesday, 20th September and the next joint, Benefice, PCC meeting will be held on Wednesday, 25th October, both at 8.00pm in the Church Hall.
If you have any matters you would like discussed, please let our Secretary, Chris Tew, know.
Over the weekend of 24th-25th June St. Andrew's Flower Festival and Art Exhibition, in the Church and Church Hall, celebrated the life and interests of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II.
A very big thank you is due to everyone who helped with the festival, whether flower arranging or helping in any other capacity.
The theme of 80 Glorious Years certainly caught the imagination of the flower arrangers and there was a truly magnificent display of floral artistry!
Thank you to all those who made such a great effort in contributing time, flowers and skills in the preparation for the Flower Festival. Thanks are also due to the exhibitors and those who helped with the Art Exhibition.
Artists showed work commemorating the Queen's 80 Glorious Years under the theme: "This Royal Throne of Kings - this Sceptred Isle" (Shakespeare, Richard II).
Final figures show we raised nearly £700 from flowers, teas and the sale of paintings. Thank you to all who contributed so generously.
Special thanks must be given to Gill Siddall, and to Jennifer Lines who did such a wonderful job in organising the Flowers and the Art Exhibition respectively, and to all those involved in providing visitors with tea, cakes and refreshments.
Long-time Medstead residents and regular worshippers at St. Andrew's, Gris and Diana Davies-Scourfield, have moved to Sutton Scotney to accommodation which is both more convenient and nearer their daughter.
A Farewell Service of Sung Mattins and Holy Communion was held on Sunday, 24th September to say goodbye to Gris and Diana, followed by a buffet lunch and wine in the Church Hall.
During the forty years Gris and Diana lived in Medstead they played major roles in Church and village life. We were all very sorry to see them leave us and wished them well in their new home.
Following the service, we received this letter from Gris and Diana:
Thank You Everybody
Gris and Diana were tremendously touched and thrilled by the wonderful choral Mattins, Communion and lunch arranged for them on Sunday.
We would like to express our deepest thanks to all concerned, especially Ben, the Churchwardens and the Choir, for such a memorable occasion to celebrate 40 wonderfully happy years in Medstead.
Gris & Diana.
Gris and Diana's garage sale on Saturday, 9th September raised £580, with Gift Aid tax rebate this is worth approximately £745 to the church.
The money has been put to into the Friends of St. Andrew's Church account for maintenance of the church fabric.
Many thanks to Diana and Gris for this generous gift.
This year's Autumn Walks, an opportunity to enjoy the magnificent countryside around Medstead and the convivial company of fellow walkers, took place on Saturday, 16th September.
There was a choice of two circular walks, one of approximately 7 miles, the other around 3½ miles, both starting from the Church Hall.
A total of fourteen walkers took part. Following the walk they were rewarded with an excellent lunch, including Sue's legendary hot pot with French bread, at the Castle of Comfort.
Many thanks to Patrick, Jill and Bill who organised this event.
With Oasis providing support and guidance, Katherine will have the opportunity to develop her faith by becoming involved in a wide range of challenging activities.
These include, for example: youth and children's work, literacy training, support for the homeless and the elderly, advocacy, mentoring, academic studies, music, the arts and IT. She will also receive practical and theological training through the Equipped to Lead programme.
Katherine needs to raise funds to cover the £1,800 cost of the course and her living expenses. Any financial help you can provide would be appreciated, as would your prayers.
To make a donation, for more information or to recieve a regular newsletter, please email Katherine.
Her first newsletter is below:
Thank you all for your generous support and sponsorship, it has been gratefully received. So far I have raised just under £1000, this has partly covered my training costs. I need to give Oasis a further £800 in January to cover the remaining costs.
I have now completed my first week of training, provided by Oasis to all who work for them, at Leicester University. On the train and at the University I met the other people I will be working with in London. Six others will based at the same church as I, and four others will be joining us for training each week. I got on well with all of them, they are all very nice and we work well together.
The sessions helped us think about what we would be doing in the next year and how to work well in a team and resolve any conflicts which may occur. We also attended sessions on Who We Are In Christ and how to cope when we struggle in new situations.
I leave for London on Saturday, 23rd September. We will have a commissioning ceremony and then we start on Sunday. I will be living with a couple from the church who have agreed to take in two Frontline team members to start with, then Oasis are hoping to provide team accommodation closer to the church so we can all live together.
Though I am nervous about the new experiences I will encounter, I am excited to have the opportunity to take part in this placement. I will try to write to you all again, once I have settled in a bit in London.
The Villager team is delighted to announce they have a volunteer to take over the role of Editor, following the recent appeal.
Jill Hurley, a resident of Bentworth for a number of years, has kindly stepped forward to take on the role and will produce The Villager from the September issue.
I would like to thank the many people who have helped bring The Villager to its readers during the two and a bit years I have been Editor. I always appreciated receiving my copy and it seems there are many others who also look forward to receiving it.
If you are interested in becoming more involved, perhaps writing up news for your village correspondent, or delivering a few copies to the houses near you, do contact the team.
September will also see the first issue of the new Diocese magazine The Vine.
Produced ten times a year, with joint issues in December/January and July/August, it will contain the Bishop's regular letter, news, events and other information.
It will also be available on the Diocesan website and via email.
To receive an email copy or to submit stories for inclusion in The Vine please email Sarah Giles.
Alton Abbey will be open between 11.30am and 5.00pm over the weekend of 9th-10th September.
Come and see a Monastery Garden and the church, talk to the monks, sample a homemade tea, buy a secondhand book and on Sunday, from 3.00pm hear the organ.
Entrance is £2.50 and there is plenty of free parking.
We would like to thank the Revd. Hugh Cocksedge for leading our worship so pleasantly and effectively while standing in for Ben during his sabbatical.
We also appreciate the time given for pastoral visits made over the three months.
Many thanks, Hugh. We are very grateful.
Our services designed with families in mind take place in the Church Hall, at 11.00am on the second Sunday of every month. The next services are on:
9th July led by Medstead Players
10th September led by Medstead Gardeners' Club.
Activities are organised especially for children to enjoy. We would love to see you, so please come and join us!
For more information please contact Kerry.
Thank you to all those who helped at Winchester Cathedral Refectory on Thursday 15th June.
We are now looking for helpers at our next duty day on Thursday, 24th August. If you would like to join us, please contact Mary Spinks.
Please consider volunteering for this important contribution to the Cathedral's activities.
Entry to Winchester Cathedral is now no longer free, but as a member of St. Andrew's Church you may gain free entry by using one of our Parish Passes
The passes are held by the Churchwardens and the PCC Secretary.
From the 5th to 13th August the skies over Medstead should be filled with gliders, as Lasham Airfield hosts the national championships for high-performance, 18 metre wingspan gliders.
Fifty pilots will be participating and seven tow planes will launch the competitors in a race to complete a set of tasks varying between 180km and, if the weather is fine, potentially up to 600km.
Along with the pilots come their crews, often two per glider, so around 150 people will be contributing to the local economy over the nine day competition.
Should you see trailers departing the airfield in the late afternoon, it is likely the crews will be recovering gliders from their various fields. On the other hand, gliders approaching the airfield low and fast means the weather has been good and they have completed their tasks.
Highlights of St. Andrew's social events to the end of 2006 include:
Hog Roast: 22nd July
Harvest Supper: 15th September
Autumn Walk: 16th September
Race Night: 7th October
Jumble Sale: 11th November
Recital: 26th November
Please see our Events page for more details.
The Social Committee is also eager to recruit a few more members for its work. If you are interested, please contact either Geoff or Sharon.
As part of the Walk The Walk events raising awareness of breast cancer, Pamela and Davina Goodall took part, along with over 2000 other intrepid walkers, in the Sunwalk, on Sunday, 9th July.
The event was a 13.1 mile half-marathon over an undulating, windy and wet course around Bristol.
Despite ill-health over the last eight months and virtually no training, Pamela, with help from Davina, completed the course in 3 hours 28 minutes and 14 seconds.
This was a tremendous effort, so do please help Pamela reach her sponsorship target, in aid of breast cancer and cancer care.
A new website has been launched allowing users to search for churches in any given locality, retrieving information about the church and it's parish, facilities, services and events taking place there.
Backed by the Church Of England, A Church Near You combines a search engine, a directory of every Church Of England church in the country and a DIY church website builder.
An advantage for churches is it provides a simple way to create an online presence, without having to create and maintain a full website. For churches like St. Andrew's which already have a website, it offers another access point.
The site grew out of a campaign to help people locate their local church for Christmas run by the diocese of Oxford in 2002.
The site's success will depend on the number of churches signing up. So far, 13 of 43 dioceses and over 5000 churches, or around a third of the total, have registered.
Free to visitors and churches who register, each participating diocese contributes £1 per church to the cost of running the site.
A Church Near You: St. Andrew's
Andrew Delany has supported so many aspects of the life of St. Andrew's Church that it is difficult to imagine an event without him. He is to be found in the choir, moving furniture, helping with refreshments and a hundred and one other things.
Andrew has now reached the age of 18 years and we all wish him a very happy birthday!
In aid of St Andrew's Church on Saturday, 9th September between 2.00pm - 4.00pm at Old Rectory Cottage, Castle Street, Medstead.