Time to Celebrate!

Dear Friends

Well, my heartiest congratulations to the Popley Matters team and especially to Jane and Paul for reaching the fantastic number of 200 editions. It’s an amazing achievement achieved through dedication and belief in their task, hard work and the persistence to continue to deliver such a great service to our whole community. Long may it continue. In fact, I just worked out the 400th edition will be due out around 33 years from now, that’s 2051 – wow!   It’s been a year of important anniversaries for our country as well! This year the Royal Air Force celebrated its centenary and it is also the centenary anniversary of the end of the 1st World War. Both have been commemorated at events near and far. Marilyn and I travelled to London in July for the RAF Celebrations and flypast, had the privilege of serving at the RAF Odiham Families Day and last weekend we hosted the annual Battle of Britain Service at St Gabriel’s attended by members of the Royal Air Forces Association and 443 Squadron ATC. Also in attendance were the Mayor and Mayoress and a representative from RAF Odiham.   It’s important that we recognise the bravery and sacrifice of our heroes past and present in these events and the few are getting fewer. I read this year that there are only eight remaining pilots alive that fought in the Battle of Britain. We should continue to remember them as they gave of their all in the cause of justice and freedom.   So, we’re over summer, marked for me by Last Night at the Proms, the Battle of Britain and it will soon be Remembrance Sunday – sure to be a special event this year. Then it will be Christmas!!   Christmas! Another opportunity to celebrate and remember the one who came to this earth to be our Saviour. Who died in the cause of freedom – our freedom! Freedom from sin, freedom from death. It was Jesus who said that “I have come that they may have life and life to the full!”   As we enter that period of frenzied buying, partying, resting and holidaying my prayer for our community is that we will remember just what it is and why it is that we have the freedom to celebrate. Here’s to that and to Popley Matters.   Every blessing   Arthur Vicar,   St Gabriel’s   01256324734