A CHURCH group celebrated its 75th anniversary this week with a party.
The Fellowship of St Andrew’s Church has been running officially since January 11 1939 when the first general meeting was held.
Then Rev John Godber was instrumental in forming a number of groups such as a Boys’ Club and a Mothers’ Union in the Thirties but the Fellowship was born as a result of the congregation wanting a group that included everyone.
At the first meeting the curate of Broadwater Rev Duncan gave a talk on ‘fellowship’ and stated that each person present had an important missionary duty to bring everyone together as one big family.
The fellowship played a pivotal role during the war years as it organised regular social events for troops stationed in the area, as well as sending out letters and parcels to those serving overseas.
After the war, one of the founder members Ella Golds returned from service in Normandy and took on the leadership role.
On her retirement in 1960. Margaret Balding took over, followed by Eddie Everette from 1968 to 1985.
Until 1980 the Fellowship regularly attracted more than 100 people to meetings, but its continuance came under threat in 1987 when there was no chairman and most of the committee had resigned.
Herbert Webber came to the rescue as chairman and today the Fellowship continues to provide a social meeting place
Meetings are held with a speaker twice a month from September to May and during the summer a social event is held and members take part in the Tarring Market.
Muriel Springall has been chairperson since May 2009 and is supported by an active committee.
Father Edward Jervis said: “We are delighted that people continue to find the fellowship of great benefit as it provides friendly fellowship and support for a wide range of people.
“We hope and pray that it will continue for many years to come.”
Church archivist Chris Green, who is the Fellowship’s deputy chairman, said: “I have been involved with the Fellowship for the last eight years since I retired.
“It seemed to be quite an interesting organisation with interesting talks so I thought I would take the opportunity to join in.
“The Fellowship is very important to the church in so far as it brings people together.
“There are a lot of old people who are members who enjoy having a chat. If you live by yourself it can be pretty lonely and it is nice to come along and meet other people, sit in a warm and convivial atmosphere and have a chat.
“Reaching our 75th anniversary is a real achievement and to think it all started before the war.”