Thursday, 29 March 2018

Molesey author Holly Vanstone to reveal African adventure

Holly (right) and a friend, in Uganda
Local resident and respected teacher Holly Vanstone will be joining us at Molesey Library on the evening of Tuesday 24th April 2018, from 7pm to talk about challenges, joys, risks and achievements of the eight years which she spent as head of a primary school in Uganda.
Holly has lived in Molesey for 32 years and was well known as a teacher at St. Lawrence Junior School from 1990 to 2000. Having then become a Head Teacher in the area, she succumbed to stress and severe depression. After continuing for a while with supply and music teaching, she then set off to pursue an adventurous dream.
A passion for Africa led Holly to move to Uganda in 2005 to head a primary school near Kampala. Here she found pupils who ran with joy into their classrooms but also a somewhat rigid, exam-based curriculum. While striving to maintain exam performance, she also worked hard to ensure that creative subjects had their place in school life.
Although this was a voluntary post for two years, Holly stayed for eight. And, since returning to the UK, she has continued to visit Uganda annually to provide both teacher and leadership training.
There will be an opportunity to buy Holly’s book Africa: Birthright and Calling on the night, cost £8.
Do come along and join us for what promises to be a fascinating talk. Tickets cost £5 and can be purchased from Molesey Library or on the night.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Author David Lindsley to give talk on 'Engineering a literary success'

At February’s Author Event at Molesey Library - on Tuesday 20th February -  local author David Lindsley will speak about his own writing career and draw on this experience to tell us something about how the writing process works in our current digital age. How for instance does employing a ‘real-life’ publishing agent compare with self-publishing using the likes of and Amazon’s Create Space?
David, now resident in Hampton Wick, took up writing himself after three decades of travelling the world in his job as a professional engineer working in the power sector. Perhaps no surprise then that  David featured an engineer, Dan Foster, as the hero of his first novel “Far Point’, which centres on how a corrupt politician’s actions endanger the safety of a Chines nuclear power station.
Encouraged when ‘Far Point’ won first prize in a literary contest, David wrote two more Dan Foster novels, ‘The Darkfall Switch’ about a disaster which hits Central London and ‘Blind Danger’ which sees Foster teaming up with a crusading American lawyer to take on an international energy conglomerate. Continuing the engineering theme, David has also published ‘Ribbons of Steel’ about a Victorian locomotive engineer working on the railways in India (the land of David’s birth).

Key points from Friends of Molesey Library AGM

Guest speaker Lizzie Parker and daughter Fiona Fraser
The Friends 7th Annual General Meeting was held at Molesey Library on 23rd January 2018 with nearly 50 members of the local community present.

Vice- Chair Steve Bax opened the meeting, apologised for the absence of the Chair Pauline Morozgalska, who was recovering from an operation. Steve listed some of the highlights of 2017. These included the Friday Coffee Morning, which is now embedded in the weekly timetable. We are grateful to the new volunteers who have joined this year and to those who continue to bake and donate cakes and we could not continue without them. More volunteers are welcome.

John Coope has organised five author events during 2017. We were delighted to welcome Rear
Admiral Kit Layman, Journalist, Barbara Fisher, Mary Lawson, Jenny Wood, Chair of Molesey Local History Society and Terri Fleming. Sadly, SSC have stopped us giving a glass of wine to Friends at the end of the talk without purchasing a license for each event. This is an unsustainable demand. Proceeds from our fund raising events have been used as usual to purchase items that the Library Service is no longer able to fund. (see Treasurer’s Report).

Unfortunately, the Knit & Natter Sessions have ended as Mary Gill; the key volunteer moved away from Molesey. A new volunteer would be very welcome to take this over. The Library Book Club, supported by the library staff and led by Clare Newman, is no longer able to meet at the library because of the early closure on a Tuesday.

Concern raised following report that Somerset CC are closing 15 of their 36 libraries. More than
ever the community needs to demonstrate that our Library is a valued resource by using the
facilities as much as possible or closure could be proposed again by the Council.

Election of Officers: Committee member Nigel Cooper presided over the election of the committee for 2018 as follows: Chair: Pauline Morozgalska (proposed Michael Watson Seconded Pam Pinkett; Vice Chair: Steve Bax ( proposed Feliks Morozgalski. Seconded Michael Watson); Treasurer: Elizabeth Cooper (Proposed Clare Newman. Seconded: Feliks Morozgalski); Secretary: Post rotated at meetings between committee members. The Committee will also include John Coope, Nigel Cooper, Cllr. Victor Eldridge, Feliks Morozgalski, Carol Parker (Proposed: John Meech Seconded: Clare Newman)

Presentation of the Accounts: Treasurer Elizabeth Cooper distributed a prepared account funds
raised during the year from Author Events and Coffee Mornings - £1757.45. Expenditure this year Coffee Machine, carpet cleaning and re-varnishing of outside benches and tables total £1066.39. Balance at 31st December 2017 £ 4,577.69. We have agreed to a request from the staff to fund some cushions for the children to use at Rhyme-time and 3 new sofas.

Revised FOML Constitution: Steve Bax asked Friends if they had any comments or queries to the
Constitution, revised by the Committee in November 2017 ready for the discussion and approval by the Friends. Copies were distributed to Friends on arrival at the AGM. The Constitution was accepted.

Any Other Business (AOB): Steve invited the Library Area Manager Andrea Hurren to address
the Friends. She was unable to deny or confirm if there would be any reduction to library services in 2018 although Surrey does value it’s libraries and want to keep the status quo as long as possible. She re-iterated that the main issues are footfall i.e. number of people visiting the library and issues i.e. the number of books borrowed each month. At the moment we are second in the sub-cluster so work to be done! Andrea and Helen answered various questions from the floor.

Guest Talk by Lizzie Parker: Introduced by Author Event Convener – John Coope. A fascinating
and entertaining question and answer session about her book “A Life Lived”. Books sold well at the end of the evening.

Finally, John Coope thanked Lizzie Parker interesting interview and everyone for attending the AGM
and their continued interest in supporting the Library. He invited everyone to stay for a drink and the
opportunity to speak to our guest speaker and the committee members.

AGM ended at 8.55 and 40 – 50 people attended.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Come to the Friends AGM and hear from guest author Lizzie Parker

A Happy New Year to all users and supporters of Molesey Library, if you are making changes for 2018 why not make it your resolution to read more - there's a great selection at Molesey and every item borrowed helps keep the library viable.
On 23 January the Friends will hold our annual general meeting where our chair, Pauline, will give an update on the past year's activity and we will appoint the committee for the coming year. The meeting is open to the whole community and you will be warmly welcomed.
The formal business won't take long and afterwards there will be a chance to enjoy a talk from an author and former Molesey called resident Lizzie Parker. She will speak about her new memoir A Life Lived.
Now in her eighties, Lizzie has lived a busy and eventful life and will have plenty to tell us about. Having arrived at school in England from India, she subsequently studied at RADA and toured the country as a juvenile lead. She married well-known actor Ronal Fraser, with Sean Connery in attendance as an usher.
Divorced seven years later, Lizzie married an academic and took to study herself, becoming a social worker and psycho-dramatist. She eventually moved to Greece and bought a run-down taverna and sailing club on a tiny island with no electricity or telephone which she ran with her daughter Alison. Sadly Alison was to die at the age of only 45 and, in her book, Lizzie talks about this tragic loss and how she coped.
Nowadays, although still a regular visitor to Molesey, Lizzie continues to live the island of Lefkada in the Ionian Sea. Come along and join us as she looks back on a fascinating life of triumphs and tragedy.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Molesey Then and Now - a journey of discovery

September 26th is the date for the next author event at Molesey Library, when we shall welcome Jenny Wood - chairman of Molesey’s own Local History Society - to tell us about how the Society went about bringing to publication its new book ‘Molesey Then And Now’. 
Having only recently hit the bookshelves, the book has already sold out its first print run but further copies are expected shortly and will be available to purchase on the night.
“Molesey Then And Now’ provides a unique insight into the development of Molesey over the years through a fascinating collection of Then and Now photographs.  Some of the original Then photographs were already in the Society’s archive, others were forthcoming through appeals to Society members and others. Then it was a matter of arranging for all the equivalent Now photographs to be taken, making it possible for the book to chart all the many changes which have taken place in our local environment in recent times.
As Jenny says, this was a major undertaking for the Society and the whole production process was a steep learning curve!  So, if you would like to find out more about how a dedicated team of local enthusiasts made it happen, come along to the Library and hear Jenny’s illustrated talk, which will begin at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £5 - which includes refreshments - and can be obtained from Molesey Library.

Author Terri Fleming on daring to take on Jane Austen

This year marks 200 years since the birth of Jane Austen, so it's only fitting that Molesey Library will be receiving a visit from a lady who is following in the great author's footsteps.
Terri Fleming has penned a sequel to Austen's most famous work Pride and Prejudice - it is titled Perception and is the story of the unmarried Bennet sisters, Mary and Kitty, a few years after their sisters marry.
She will be speaking about the book and how it came to be when she visits Molesey Library on Tuesday 21 November, 7.15pm. Tickets will be available at the next author event on 26 September, in the library thereafter and also on the door.
Terri was born in Tasmania "surrounded by every luxury of landscape" but limited access to the wider world in the days before the internet. Books were her joy and refuge. She adds: "If I was naughty, the greatest threat was to be denied a visit to the bookmobile."
Very early she determined to be a writer and after a career in copywriting and seeing the world she settled in England with her husband.
She said the following about the plot of her novel: "The Bennet sisters remain at Longbourn with their parents and few prospects. Mrs Bennet has become increasingly determined to find a husband for at least one of her girls. She spies her chance when a wealthy bachelor returns to his home near Meryton.
"Mary has little desire for marriage and Kitty is still tempted by old habits. As new people enter their world, the two sisters find themselves questioning themselves and the world around them. Can either sister overcome perception?"

Friends discuss author events at last committee meeting

The Friends of Molesey Library met on 5th September for the first time since the summer. Pauline Morozgalska, the chair, welcomed Silvana Marenghi who has helped with Friday coffee mornings run by the Friends and has decided to join the committee.
Author events coordinator, John Coope, said a speaker that had been planned for the 26 September had fallen through and efforts to find a replacement had been unsuccessful (though on the upside a couple said they are willing to come to Molesey as part of next year's programme). Thankfully Jenny Wood, chair of the Molesey Local History Society, has agreed to fill the slot with a talk about Molesey Then and Now – a book researched and written by members of the history society over a five year period. The book has been very well received in Molesey and has already sold out its first print run, so we're hopeful of a good turn out.
Vice chair Steve Bax is working on a publicity poster and will drum up publicity. Meanwhile John is fixing up details for our 21 November event where Terri Fleming, author of the Pride and Prejudice sequel ‘Perception’ will visit.
Treasurer Liz Cooper updated on the status of the bank account and it was agreed that the Friends will spend some of that money on carpet cleaning for the library and refurbishing or replacing the sofas that are getting a bit tatty. We are also keen to have the garden benches repainted.
The Friday coffee and cake mornings run by the Friends are still popular, but may have to end in future if we can't find a few more volunteers to help run things. It would be a 2-3 hours and involve helping to set-up, serve and pack away. Anyone reading this who's interested can post below or email The Friends' next meeting is 7th November.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Best-selling international author to visit Molesey Library

Mary Lawson
We are delighted to announce that leading Canadian author Mary Lawson will be coming to Molesey Library on Tuesday April 25 to talk about her best-selling books and to give us her thoughts on “Writing Fiction – A Ridiculous  Occupation?"

Although born in Canada, Mary is actually now a local resident. She came to England for a holiday after graduating from McGill University in Montreal. When she ran out of money, she had to find a job, then fell in love with a colleague and married him. The couple now have two sons and live in Kingston upon Thames.

Mary began by writing short stories but it wasn’t until she set one of those stories in Canada and was advised by an editor to turn it into a novel that she finally found her voice and discovered what she wanted to write about.

Crow Lake, her first novel, published when Mary was 55, sold in 25 countries. It spent 75 weeks on the bestseller list in Canada, won the First Novel Award, was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen as a Book of the Year by the New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail.

The Other Sideof the Bridge, her second novel, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and was a Richard and Judy Summer Read in the UK. Her latest novel, Road Ends, has been recently published to critical acclaim and is a finalist for the Folio Prize.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming Mary, who has a very strong local following.  Do come along and join us for what promises to be a fascinating talk.  Tickets cost £5 - which includes a glass of wine or soft drink - and can be obtained from Molesey Library.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Finding Tipperary Mary, a book inspired by search for long-lost mum

Barbara Fisher and Phyllis Whitsell
Finding Tipperary Mary is the title of our next ‘meet the author’ evening at Molesey Library on Tuesday 28th February. It is also the title of a book, which is now a bestseller here and in Canada, and was featured in the Times bestseller list for several weeks.
It is a remarkable true story about a nurse from Birmingham called Phyllis Whitsell who tracked down the alcoholic mother he gave her up for adoption as a baby and the moving account of what happened next. Phyllis was encouraged to tell her story by her good friend Barbara Fisher, who ghost wrote the book. They planned to self-publish but Mirror Books stepped in and snapped it up, resulting in nationwide publicity and TV appearances for Phyllis, as well as interviews on radio. The film rights have also been sold.
Barbara lives in West London for many years with her husband Mike. They have a daughter, son-in-law, and a grandcat! She was a teacher for 15 years and entered full-time journalism at the suggestion of an editor who liked the weekly schools’ page she wrote for the Uxbridge Gazette. She spent 20 years working for the paper and is now freelance, but still writes a weekly column. Barbara was made an honorary fellow of Brunel University in 2005 for her community reporting.
She is also writing her own book, Tales from an Old Hack: memoir of a local reporter. Tickets to the Finding Tipperary Mary talk (28th Feb, 7.15pm) are available from the library priced £5.

Naval disaster inspires fascinating talk by admiral at Molesey Library

Rear Admiral Kit Layman
An epic tale of murder, mutiny and man’s struggle for survival against the elements, was brought to life at Molesey Library by Rear Admiral Kit Layman.
The distinguished Royal Navy man – who commanded HMS Invincible and HMS Argonaut during the Falklands War, and frequently accompanies the Queen – was the guest speaker at the Friends of Molesey Library’s sixth AGM, on the evening of Tuesday 24th January 2017.
After being introduced by our author events organiser, John Coope, the retired admiral took his place at the lectern and regaled the audience with a good natured and thoroughly fascinating account of the ill-fated last voyage of the HMS Wager, which was wrecked off the south coast of Chile in 1741.
Admiral Layman explained that he had inherited a book about the Wager disaster written by John Byron, grandfather of the famous poet and one of the survivors of the wreck. He described the book as “very readable, perceptive and fair to all sides,” adding: “I read the book rubbing my eyes with disbelief at the story that unfolds.” That story has been retold for the modern reader by Rear Admiral Layman in his book: The Wager Disaster, Mayhem, Mutiny and Murder in the South Seas – of which he signed copies at Molesey on the night.
The 28 gun ship with her crew of 140 men (plus Chelsea pensioners) had put to see on a mission to harass and disrupt Spanish interests in South America (Britain being at war with Spain at the time) but suffered a catalogue of disasters. It was damaged by a huge storm, lost the rest of the fleet, her captain died, men were stricken with scurvy and dysentery and the ship was smashed to bits on the rocks at the aptly named Gulf of Sorrows.
The Admiral said: “As the ship broke up, discipline broke down.” The men were surrounded by harsh and inhospitable terrain and they had no food or shelter (though a large amount of alcohol washed ashore, perhaps not a good thing in the circumstances). They were stuck there for five months, while the new and unpopular captain, David Cheap, drew up plans for them to extend the long boat and use it to sail north and capture a Spanish ship.
Trouble was, said the Admiral, that in those days if a ship wrecked then the Navy was no longer obliged to pay the sailors, and knowing they were no longer employed they ceased to feel obliged to follow the captain. When Cheap shot a rebellious man in the face it was a turning point. 81 men left in smaller boats in a mutiny led by the gunner Mr Bulkley and sailed for 111 days until they reached the Rio Grande. Admiral Layman was full of admiration.

While they made it back to England, 8 of their number were cast away – we’re not sure why – and they went on to be captured by a tribe of Indians, paired up with the chiefs captured Spanish slave women (told to breed more slaves) but eventually made it home in a prisoner transfer.
Meanwhile Captain Cheap, Byron and those left behind (numbering about 20) lost more and more of their number in ill-fated attempts to escape and eventually travelled in land with the help of a native. Finally they got home, five years after they left, to a court martial, to apportion blame for the loss of the ship and not the mutiny (luckily for Bulkley). Captain Cheap, who returned home half dead, married an heiress and retired to Scotland, while Byron became a commodore and founded a British settlement in the Falklands. He continued to have bad luck at sea and earned the nickname “Bad Weather Jack”.
The Admiral showed photos of the Falklands and also where parts of the Wager, like the canons, have been salvaged and ended up. The ship wreck itself has in recent years been found by Chilean archaeologists. Finally he took questions from the audience - responding to one that he thought it unlikely, though not impossible, that the Royal Navy could mutiny again - and joined guests for a glass of wine.