It is with regret that the closure of the Helmdon WEA (adult education) branch is announced. This year would have been its 70th anniversary.
However, with secretary Richard Farquharson’s resignation after a valiant 16 years or so, to go on to other things, it has proved impossible to find anyone to take on that role, and chairman Cec Harrold has had to take the painful decision to close the branch.
In its time the branch was the purveyor of education from local Railway History to the History of the Ballet, from Opera to Egyptology and from The Mary Rose to Local Crafts and Industries, and the very interesting visits have included forays to places such as Northampton Law Courts, Chedworth Roman Villa, Portsmouth and Stamford.
The Helmdon local studies group, mainly comprised of WEA members, published the Aspects of Helmdon local history booklets, undertook the enormous task of transcribing the grave inscriptions in St Mary Magdalene churchyard before they were lost to the ravages of time, compiled a history of the men on the war memorial who died in the First World War and produced a film of a Year in the Life of the Village. Another of its triumphs was the setting up of the village website www.helmdon.com. Although that is no more, www.helmdonparishcouncil.co.uk having taken over the village activities section, the spirit of the WEA will live on with local history on www.helmdonhistory.com, a repository of around 150 articles, reminiscences and documents, a press cuttings repository since 2000, and a gallery of old photographs.
Work on the history of our village will continue, and if you are interested in joining our very informal group please contact email@example.com