The Responses Acknowledgements

SELF PORTRAIT OF A VILLAGE (1989)

CONCLUSION

A portrait such as this, if it is to be an honest description of villagers' concerns and anxieties, inevitably runs the risk of appearing to be too critical, painting too dark a picture of life in the village as it is perceived by those who live here today. Although it is a small community by present-day standards, it is evident that Souldern has much to commend it for those who live here. For its size, it is well served by Church and Chapel, pubs and village hall, shops and garage and by those who run such assets and groups as the monthly news sheet, the Women's Institute, the Playing Field, the weekly Bingo Sessions and trips for the elderly, the Football Club, the Nancy Bowles Wood and so on. A fine example of such enterprise and cooperation is the Horticultural Society. With a membership of almost 80, it organises lectures and demonstrations, a popular produce show, a well supported regular cheese and wine party, and above all, an annual Open Gardens Scheme which brings hundreds of appreciative visitors to Souldern, enhances the funds of local organisations and engenders a sense of co-operation and communal pride amongst the village residents. This sense of pride in the appearance of the village is reflected in its attainments in the county-wide Best Kept Village competition, Souldern having achieved success in 1980, 1981, 1986, 1987 and 1990.

Perhaps it is appropriate to leave the last words to some newcomers who have come from far away to live temporarily in the village.

“I'm new to England and Souldern and will probably be here for a few years, but I'll share a few of my impressions. Souldern is one of the most beautiful villages we encountered while searching for a place to live. We received a warm, friendly welcome when we moved in. We not only like the wonderful people but also appreciate the quiet beauty and the fact that there is no through traffic. Our only regret, so far, is that we have not been involved with village activities and haven't contributed in anyway. Hopefully, as our schedules allow, we will be able to get involved and possibly contribute in some small way”.

The Responses Acknowledgements

SELF PORTRAIT OF A VILLAGE (1989)