GOODBYE and thank you: About 70 people gathered to say goodbye and thank you to Father Michael Smith and his wife who are leaving Immanuel Church in Hatch Warren and Beggarwood. He is moving to Bournemouth with his family to take over a parish there. During his time as vicar here, Fr Michael has been a tower of strength, helping with community causes such as the local community association, setting up the Beggarwood Community Centre and Café and the Hatch Warren Cycling Group and supporting St Marks School. Fr Michael was presented with many gifts and leaves with the respect of everyone who has known him, he will be much missed. The Church Council is now beginning work on building a profile for recruiting a new vicar. In the meantime services will continue as before at the Church Centre in St Mark’s School, Danebury Road, except for Thursday evening communion which will take place at St Mark’s Church in Homesteads Road.

PROPOSED new ward boundaries: The Local Government Boundary Commission has proposed new ward boundaries for the borough. Under their proposals, the total number of borough councillors falls from 60 to 54 and all wards will return three members (which has been the situation in Hatch Warren and Beggarwood for many years). A major change affecting our community is the proposed return of Kempshott Rise (the area around Patterson Close) to Hatch Warren and Beggarwood ward. Full details of the new proposals can be found on the Local Government Boundary Commission's website and it will welcome comments.