Category Archives: Events
The week prior to the 18 July vote in Parliament on Trident renewal was a busy time for many at Hemel Meeting. We spent hours distributing leaflets asking our local MP to vote No and explaining why. With a Friendly attitude, we talked to people, walked the streets placing them in post slots (sometimes against the wishes of barking dogs), and handed them out in the middle of Hemel. Although Parliament’s vote was Yes, many who took the leaflets preferred No. They appreciated the leaflet, its helpful explanations and its positive attitude about alternatives.
Seven of us enjoyed Hemel Meeting’s traditional Easter Monday walk on 28 March. Starting in Gadebridge Park, we traversed the fields above Piccotts End.
It was windy, and the views of the fields and hills were lovely in the early spring weather.
We came back down Dodds Lane, crossed the Leighton Buzzard Road and walked up a muddy footpath to Halsey Field, near Warners End Wood in Gadebridge.
There we were met by Chris Ridley, who has organised interest in preserving Halsey Field. She described how in summer in particular, it is full of wildflowers attracting many species of butterfly, bee and hoverfly. Shrubs do their job, too, providing nesting sites, food for birds and insect habitats. If you are interested in helping her and others with preservation activities, email Chris at email@example.com.
After posing for the picture, we set off for Gilbert’s to join others from Meeting who had gathered for tea.
Local artist Gilbert Rigg celebrated his 100th birthday on 1 November with a party and art exhibition at the local Quaker Meeting House in the Old Town. He was joined by around 40 friends and family from Hemel Hempstead and beyond.
Gilbert has lived in Hemel for 62 years. He was imprisoned for being a conscientious objector and then joined the Quakers after the second world war. He started painting in his teens and has used his art to express his feelings on contemporary issues. Subjects include artificial intelligence, celebrity culture, nuclear weapons, the arms trade and most recently, the futility of war. These subjects are juxtaposed against the pastoral backdrop of the Chiltern countryside.
In 2013 a sale of his work raised £500 for the Hospice of St. Francis in Berkhamsted.
Gilbert said this to the Quaker meeting on Sunday: “I have lived adventurously.”
For his photo, he refused to stand in front of the group but instead chose to sit on the floor with younger members of the meeting.
Gilbert’s story is one of several told in a short book by local Quaker, Audrey Pitchforth entitled ‘Faith into Action‘ which details the lives of several Quaker conscientious objectors from Hemel Hempstead meeting .
For events see quaker.org.uk/events.
Visitors to the meeting house this week are invited to take a complimentary copy of ‘The Friend‘ magazine, featuring articles on Quaker work in diverse areas such as in Human rights, Conflict resolution, Climate change and Young adult leadership.