Centenary celebrations at Our Lady of Lourdes, Haslemere

February 8, 2024

Nine ladies standing beside or kneeling in front of the quilted banner they have made: a large cross in the centre on a background of multicoloured squares of material which graduated in shade from dark to pale. The quilt is about 6ft high.
Some of the 26 quilters who all contributed to the wall hanging project. Aileen Assender, is pictured at the right of the cross.

The Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Haslemere marked its centenary recently, with celebrations held throughout the year and culminating in a special Mass and party.

The Rt. Rev Richard Moth, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, presided at the special Mass and was joined on the altar by past incumbents including Fathers Tony Lovegrove, Chris Beynon, Chris Bergin and Irek Stadler, as well the current priests, Fathers Jonathan How and Rajesh Minz and Fr Anthony Furlong, chaplain at Holy Cross Convent, Haslemere, and Fr Martin from Chilworth.

Also attending were the Mayor and Mayoress of Haslemere, Jerome and Penny Davidson.

Particularly remembered in the prayers was Evelyn Dudley Coats who, after buying land from Lord Derby, presented it to the Diocese and paid for the building of the church in 1923.

The church was beautifully decorated for the occasion and the choir were in exceptionally good voice. The large group of young altar servers were also to be congratulated on the way they carried out their duties.

At the close, everyone went into the adjoining church hall where a feast was laid out. The team responsible included several Indian members of the congregation who contributed a selection of traditional dishes. The Bishop made the first cut in a celebratory cake, made up of the three separate digits of the number 100.

Inside the hall, large panels had been erected showing photos from the earliest days in the life of the parish. These ranged from black and white pictures of weddings and christenings right through to events such as fundraising fairs and themed evenings and from gospel singing sessions to even a carpet of flowers down the aisle.

During the evening came the surprise unveiling of a magnificent wall hanging which had been worked by members of Haslemere’s Quilting Group. When one of their number, parishioner Aileen Assender, had told her fellow quilters about the centenary, they very nobly worked on a design which included a large cross in the centre on a background of multicoloured squares of material which graduated in shade from dark to pale. This will be a splendid reminder of the centenary for years to come.

The planning for the occasion was masterminded by Sam Dudley who worked for several weeks with a team of helpers.

With thanks to Fay Foster for contributing this news article and photograph.