Lavish book is community ‘time capsule’
Villagers in Hampshire have produced a remarkable 248-page book charting a year in the life of their parish.
The hardback book, lavishly illustrated with more than 850 photographs, is the result of a unique community project and has been handed out free to every household in Buriton, near Petersfield.
Put together by Buriton residents, the high-quality publication is a snapshot of life in the landmark Diamond Jubilee and Olympics year of 2012.
It covers colourful one-off events as well as traditions going back decades in the village and the hamlets of Ditcham, Weston and Nursted that make up the parish.
What were sheep doing in the High Street? Why was a Hollywood superstar in Nursted? Why did a helicopter land on the Recreation Ground? The answers are all in The Buriton Book, as well as topics as diverse as pub ghosts and panto, street parties and sheep rolling, art shows and Africa, downpours and Downing Street.
Non-parishioners can buy the book for £25 from One Tree Books in Petersfield. Copies are also being sent to Buckingham Palace and Number 10.
The project began in March 2011 when Buriton’s ‘Village Voice’ group won a £5,000 prize in London for its Parish Plan.
Wanting to ensure the whole community benefited from the award, the group came up with the idea of a ‘year-in-the-life’ book that would interest everybody in the parish, to which everyone could contribute and that would be given, free of charge, to every household.
The idea snowballed into an astonishing high-quality production as Buriton residents including professional graphic designers, photographers, journalists and editors all worked on the project free of charge. The team included Hampshire copy editor Lesley Hussell from Editing Edge, with superb work done by the Paul Martin Design Company.
The book’s introduction describes it as a time capsule and says: ‘We’d love you to take this book out again in 20 or 30 years and think: “Those clothes and haircuts look funny, but we still do many of the things we did back then … and more!”‘
More vital funding came from the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) as well as other sponsors, raising enough to print 550 copies.
The SDNPA, which gave £1,800, is delighted at how the whole community has taken part in the project all year – contributing ideas and photographs, for example – and how the book can inspire people to retain this sense of community in years to come.
A number of features fit well with National Park aims, including monthly natural history diaries and such stories as an electric bikes trial, volunteer rangers, the creation of the Shipwrights Way through Buriton and a schools’ walkathon.
Notes for Editors
The £5,000 London prize was for the best community-based initiative in the South East of England (Buriton’s Parish Plan project and all the actions and achievements that flowed from it).
The £1,800 from SDNPA was a Sustainable Communities Award for a project engaging lots of the community and involving a number of aspects and events that chime with National Park aims and purposes.