The churchyard at Hayling is a place to simply relax and enjoy the beauty

The Rev Jenny Gaffin, vicar of St Marys, St Peters and St Andrews on Hayling Island, is taught how to use the mower in St Marys churchyard
The Rev Jenny Gaffin, vicar of St Marys, St Peters and St Andrews on Hayling Island, is taught how to use the mower in St Marys churchyard

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THIS week at St Mary’s Church on Hayling Island, we’ve begun the task of tidying up some of the more overgrown areas of the churchyard.  

It’s a vitally important task, and one that we know is appreciated by the local community.

People come to the churchyard for all sorts of reasons.

Many come to remember those who have died and to tend their grave. 

For some, it’s a quiet place to stop and think. For others, it’s a good place to walk the dog, or simply enjoy the beauty of the place. 

We also have visitors who come to see a yew tree in the churchyard thought to be the oldest in the country, which is thought to have first taken root at around the same time as Jesus was a child. 

Last Saturday, a team of volunteers gathered and together we cut back hedges, cleared brambles and mowed grass. 

I’ve recently been given a crash course in how to handle the motorised lawnmower, which takes some getting used to.

There was also time for tea and strawberries, and cake of course, and it was lovely to stop for a few moments and enjoy the sunshine and the company and admire our handiwork. 

It’s the first time since I’ve been vicar here that we’ve had a working party of volunteers helping us with the graveyard, and I was delighted at the goodwill, community spirit and skill of those who came out to help. 

Our next volunteer work party will be on September 10, 9am until midday.

If you’re in the area you’re very welcome to join us. Just give me a call on (023) 9307 0178, or email jennyhaylingvicar@hotmail.com.

It’s the same day as Ride and Stride, the annual sponsored walk and cycle event that raises money for good causes, including church repairs.

Both St Mary’s and St Peter’s Churches on Hayling Island will be open to welcome walkers and cyclists that day anyway, so feel free to drop in.

And if you do volunteer to help in St Mary’s churchyard, you will also be doing something that makes a real difference to the lives of those living in Hayling Island and further afield.

St Mary’s Church, is in Church Road. Our Sunday services are at 8am, 10.30am and 6.30pm.

St Andrew’s Church is in Southwood Road, Eastoke. The Sunday service there is at 11am.

St Peter’s Church is in St Peter’s Road, North Hayling at 9.15am.

Go to haylinganglicans.moonfruit.com