On Saturday 8th September members from the Farnborough Ward devoted approximately 200 hours, bailing hay at St Michaels Abbey, Farnborough.
The Abbey who own a number of fields are planning to turn one of their larger fields into community allotments for the benefit of the local residents, who for some, maybe currently on long waiting lists for the use of council run vegetable patches and this would give them the opportunity that they’ve been seeking.
Over 70 members being a mixture of primary children, youth and adults arrived mid-morning with rakes and pitch forks in hand, commissioned with the first task of bailing all the hay, clearing the field ready to be rotarvated and then turned into plots.
The sun began to beat down on the open field that offered little shade, turning the service project into a gruelling laborious task, as the dust dried throats adding to the difficulty of the backbreaking work. Many litres of water were readily downed in an attempt to stay hydrated and a short break was taken when someone ran an emergency errand to the shop bringing back a large bag of ice lollies!
Bishop Lee Rushforth who presides over the Farnborough ward accepted the invitation to assist the religious community of monks with only 2 week’s notice, and the ward showed their support in full force, backing the project until it was completed. Speaking on the reason why he accepted the service project, he said, "Helping others is central to the message of Christianity - so it's been a pleasure to offer assistance to the Abbey and the community as a whole."
While the adults relentlessly worked through blistered hands the children also assisted, before taking the opportunity of playing in the massive mound of hay where it had all being deposited.
Giles Johnson with his wife and 4 children who saw the project through from start to finish remarked, “It was extremely rewarding and fun! It was great to see so many families working shoulder to shoulder to do something good for the community. Giving service to others is an important part of living our faith.”
Sam Parkin, a member of the ‘Friends of Farnborough Abbey’ drove the tractor where the hay was loaded on the back of its trailer commented, “We are absolutely delighted with the incredible effort that was put into clearing the field of hay, and are very grateful to the congregation for all that has been done. They achieved much more than I was expecting in the time available.” Concluding his remarks he added, “You’re a fantastic bunch of people, you really are.”