Author Archive

by Gwen Apsey

I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the celebration of my 100th birthday in March.

I was especially delighted by the Magnolia tree, which as a living thing, is lovely to look at now and will also be there for many years to come.

Thank you all again.

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We announced in the Spring Newsletter that HCERA was facing an existential crisis as we were lacking both a secretary and treasurer.

Fortunately two people have come forward to fill these posts and we also have a new street rep for Stoneham Lane.

Secretary:   Denise Fenwick    7 Leaside Way

Treasurer:   Nicola Farnell       58 Ethelburt Avenue

Stoneham Lane street rep:   Margaret Lane       25 Stoneham Lane

The next AGM will be invited to confirm these appointments.

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by Mike Bull, Ethelburt Avenue

Part of the rich heritage that Herbert Collins created in Swaythling is the Methodist Church in Burgess Road. For nearly a century this building has graced the local skyline and it is a unique example of the work of his genius.

Over the past few years with the decline of the Methodist congregation, the building has sadly deteriorated and indeed needs a considerable amount of money spent to restore this Grade 2 listed building.

The building was recently put up for sale with all the uncertainty of its future which comes with new ownership. However, I am delighted that members of the local Sikh community have purchased the building and now have started a complete restoration project and the Gurdwara Khalsa Darbar have taken stewardship of this wonderful building. They are keen to play their role in our local community and give special recognition to the work of Herbert Collins. Further plans around this will be announced in due course and our chairman Ray George will be part of the group who will develop this. So apart from the safe keeping of Collins houses, we can now add the former Swaythling Methodist Church.


by Denise Fenwick

Following an appeal in the spring newsletter, the HCERA Committee has a new secretary in the shape of Denise Fenwick, who has lived in Leaside Way for some 20 years. I am now retired after a long career in IBM but have yet to learn how to sit back and relax! I am involved with helping to run a local sailing club, participate in a variety of physical activities (Nordic walking, Pilates, ballroom/Latin dancing, natural voice choir) and am about to start working at a Covid vaccine centre. I enjoy living in a characterful house in an area with an interesting history while, at the same time, wanting to help promote the adaptations which will keep the Collins Estate relevant to 21st century living.

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Don’t forget to pay your HCERA annual subscription (£5) and, if living in Ethelburt Avenue, the Road Maintenance Contribution (£30).

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“Can anyone recommend…?” is a plea frequently seen on the HCERA Facebook Group. This generally gets a speedy response. You can also search all previous posts for what you are looking for. Click on the magnifying glass symbol on the right below “Herbert Collins Estates Residents Association” and type in what you are looking for.

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Traditional Painter Gary Spake. The best painter I have ever employed. I can’t recommend him enough. Leaves everything clean and tidy, works solidly through the day and produces a very high standard of workmanship.

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by Sarah Hammett

Saturday March 27th dawned chilly but fine as we set about our final preparations to celebrate our neighbour Gwen Apsey’s 100th birthday.

Gwen has lived in Ehelburt Avenue for 60+ years and may be the first resident to achieve that age (does anyone know different?). Gwen was born and has always lived in Hampshire. Aged 18, she joined the Ordnance Survey, a job she thoroughly enjoyed throughout the 40 years she was there. As well as a long service award, Gwen was given the Imperial Service Medal, awarded by the Queen, for “meritorious service” making the maps needed by the Armed Forces in the Second World War.

We thought that a good way to mark the event would be a bench, with an appropriate plaque, placed on our green near her house, so Gwen’s neighbours and friends could sit on the bench and chat with her, watching the world go by. This would also be a nice facility for all to make use of.

We invited donations and were delighted to eventually raise £270 (our thanks to everyone who contributed) and received a big bundle of birthday cards for her!

Gwen had family visiting that morning, so we let them into the plans, and they kept her busy until the appointed time, when she came out of her house and saw her bench.

She was a little discombobulated by it all, but grateful for everyone’s efforts, and as luck would have it, her birthday card from the queen was delivered just then, which really delighted her.

I think we may have under-estimated how daunting Gwen would find all the attention that day, but she’s recovered now and we hope that the warmer weather will help her to make good use of the community bench that bears her name.


Not only has our new secretary had to resign for personal reasons, we have learnt that our treasurer is moving from the area. If you want to save HCERA from an untimely death, please consider volunteering for one of these positions. Send an email to find out what is involved. If you have some experience with accounts, you should find ours a doddle.

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