I feel very privileged in writing this and being able to say a sincere ‘thank you’ to the Horley Parish Council for nominating me for the High Sherriff’s Community award. I consider it a great honour, and when your peers, who are also good friends and neighbours, initiate it, it is something extra special. I am pleased to have been in a position to be involved in and able to assist with, the various community activities mentioned in the citation, and with which I will continue to be associated.
For just about the whole of my life I have lived in small villages in Oxfordshire, and believe strongly that to fully appreciate what that brings to the quality of life, then you need to involve yourself with what is going on around you, and where possible encourage and support local, traditional and long standing institutions, particularly where they involve young people, by applying the lessons and skills that make up the fabric of life, which if shared can bring great pleasure to yourself and help and support to others.
At the centre of most of what I do and probably that of which I am most proud, is the Michael Hardinge Trust. My involvement in which is near 40 years and has enabled me to have sight of much of what goes on in this busy village, and thereby present opportunities to help and get involved, which I’ve enjoyed (most of the time!) My aim has been to make The Trust, which is near 400 years old, relevant to the age, inclusive and of benefit to the whole village whilst retaining the spirit of Michael Hardinge in the original deed of trust. In about eight years time The Trust will date back 400 years and my aim has been to make sure it is in shape for a long time in the future. Although the MHT occupies what sometimes is an unacceptable amount of my private time, I have managed to punctuate it with some light hearted and relaxing stuff like mowing the cricket field on a warm afternoon, or involving myself with the various stage productions, either on the stage or behind the scenes! Also writing bits for the local newspaper is very relaxing (except when I have overlooked the deadline). The Trust has sailed some fraught and stormy waters most of which the rest of the village would not have been aware but like any ship, that is down to the crew and I have got and had over the years an excellent crew who have been a huge help to me and their input has no doubt lead me to this point for which I thank them sincerely. I would encourage the young people of the village to get involved it’s fun, enjoyable and has a positive effect on the village.
I also enjoy interacting with the children that come to Horley for field trips, or going to their schools to assist with their Forest projects or help with cycle proficiency. To hear their happy chatter and listen to their little stories is very satisfying, although some of them have the most heart rending circumstances in which they live and look at coming to Horley as a holiday even if only for a day. With the cuts and economies in the education budget I fear that these trips might slowly tail off. I hope not.
There are many good, talented and philanthropic people in this village any one of which would have merited this award, all of whom I have worked with and who have helped and supported me, to them I say a sincere ‘Thank you’, particularly to my wife Sue who has helped tremendously throughout and borne the brunt of my reactions to the many frustrations I have encountered along the way. It is through collective effort and the support of the village at large and the beautiful, surrounding countryside, that Horley is such a pleasant and sought after place to live. Thank you to all the people who have sent me cards, emails, Facebook posts, telephone calls and greetings in the street, all capped by a memorable ceremony at Christchurch College last night.
Sincere thanks and best wishes. Mike
See more about this nomination Mike Patching – High Sheriff Award