Mayor's fund-raising and Chinese New Year Celebrations
The start of the Chinese Year of the Pig was celebrated in fine style in Haslemere, with the Mayor, Brian Howard, organising an evening of fun and fund-raising at the Museum.
Pigs have long held a special place in Brian’s life following a memorable visit in the early eighties to Haslemere’s French twin town of Bernay. He and several local businessmen accompanied a group from the Twinning Association on a regular exchange trip and formed an immediate bond with members of one of the renowned French Confrèries, exclusive gentlemen’s dining clubs whose affiliates dress in fancy mediaeval-type robes.
At the end of the convivial weekend, the Haslemere contingent decided to form their own group and La Confrèrie de la Queue du Cochon d’Haslemere (the Brotherhood of the Tail of the Pig) was born. Since its inauguration the members have met frequently and been regular recipients of numerous artefacts with a piggy connotation.
With the Year of the Pig fortuitously falling within his time as Mayor, Brian Howard used the theme for a fundraising event for his chosen charities, the Royal Surrey-based GUTS (Guildford Undetected Tumour Screening) and Pageant (Projects Aiding Gambian Education and Natural Talents), a charity set up by his family to help poor Africans.
Haslemere Museum agreed to mount a month-long exhibition of around a thousand porcine articles which will be open until the end of March. While sipping champagne, the eighty guests, many of whom had arrived in oriental dress, had the opportunity to preview the motley collection, including figurines in china, glass, straw and wood as well as ties, aprons, kitchen objects, books, cards and pictures, all with the piggy theme.
A delicious Chinese supper was provided by Pat and Dominique Chapman who run the Curry Club from their Haslemere headquarters. Between courses the Mayor entertained with readings and recitations relating to pigs and also devised an amusing piggy quiz. The high spot was when five members of the Confrèrie gave a hilarious performance of Roald Dahl’s saga of ‘The Three Little Pigs’.
Over £850 was raised during the evening, helped by a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses, and an auction of two enormous porcelain porkers. The Mayor also presented pig-shaped dishes filled with truffles to the guest with the best costume (Christopher Ashton-Jones) and to those who had helped with the evening, namely Robert Serman, Melanie Odell, Stephen Bennett and the Town Clerk’s wife, Gina O’Neil. There was also a ‘Welcome to Haslemere’ gift for Neil Chester who will be opening a wine bar, Jack’s, in the High Street in April.
The Pig display being held at Haslemere Museum