Walking for Louise in glorious Henfield sunshine

Organisers from Henfield Parish Council, St Peter’s Church and Henfield Community Partnership had been glued to their weather Apps all week while (in typically English style) the forecast chopped and changed; threatening all sorts of inclement conditions. Revd. Paul Doick had been given responsibility for arranging fine weather (or at least, putting in a gentle request) and his prayers were answered; Sunday 22nd August dawned beautifully for all the friends, family, Churchgoers and local families to walk the beautiful route from one of our three Parish Churches to Sussex Prairie Gardens.

Louise Clark, who passed away very suddenly earlier this year after a short illness, was a brilliant mum, a wonderful wife and a great friend to many people in the village. She was at various times Administrator at the three Parish churches and Chair of Governors at St Peter’s School. She was absolutely passionate about children’s church, in fact she loved children, and they adored her! Her energy, creativity and enthusiasm for Little Fishes, held at St Peter’s Church, as well as other various children’s church teaching, gave great pleasure to many young people.

Donations from Walk for Louise will all go to Children’s Church projects in the parish, including the purchase of furniture and equipment for Little Fishes. Louise would’ve thoroughly approved of this, so thanks to all who have donated, this fundraising event really will make a difference.

The routes were almost entirely off-road, from St Peter’s Henfield meandering across Henfield common, past the donkeys and miniature ponies at Swains Farm (much to the delight of the children), across stiles and bridges which traversed muddy streams (much to the delight of the dogs!). Walkers passed along dappled footpaths and fields lined with ancient oaks, reminding us how very lucky we are to live in this beautiful corner of the world. Groups of friends, acquaintances and strangers struck up conversations and enjoyed the sunshine in contented camaraderie. Two other groups of walkers enjoyed the scenery from St Peter’s in Woodmancote and St Giles in Shermanbury. Along the way, children enjoyed a ‘nature trail’ spotting pictures of animals and insects.

Walkers, muddy dogs and excited children clutching the sticks they’d collected on the way all arrived at Sussex Prairie Garden, ready for cold drinks, ice cream, tea and cakes. They were enthusiastically greeted by Henfield Parish Council and Community Partnership volunteers (who had also set up at marshal posts along the way to make sure no one ended up in the wrong county!) as well as Pauline from Sussex Prairies, who kindly gave walkers stickers for free entry to the gardens as a lovely reward for the walk.

And what a reward it was! The Soho Village Jazz Band were playing in the sunshine, tea, cake, picnics and even delicious Indian thali food was enjoyed, before the tired walkers returned to the village on minibuses kindly provided by the Henfield Haven and Henfield Self Help Group.

The final word on the day goes to Robert, Louise’s husband. “What a fantastic day this was as the community came together in recognition of all the work Louise has done in Henfield. We really enjoyed our walk through beautiful countryside, with good company, finishing in a very special place at Sussex Prairies, which Louise loved. We really appreciate the time and effort that everybody put in to make today happen. As with most today, we were also spectators, and I’d like to thank those that both thought of this idea, and then brought it to life, thank you all. Together with all the volunteers helping today, you have not just created some very special memories, but also reminded us what a special community we live in.”

Emma Cole

Please consider a donation in Louise’s memory here: https://cafdonate.cafonline.org/12987#!/DonationDetails Thank you.