A happy day at Chithurst celebrating the monastery’s 40th anniversary.
The monastry’s official website explains the reason for the celebration, which coincided with it’s 40th anniversary, held on 23rd June 2019.
” ‘Thod Pha Pa’ in Thai means ‘to offer forest cloth’, and is an occasion which brings to mind the mutual support of the lay and monastic communities. The monks and nuns aim to live simply, and offer teachings and examples to people who kindly offer the material support essential to the existence of the monastery as a spiritual centre for the welfare of all. It is also a warm and inclusive occasion in which any act of giving, or offer of service, contributes to the sense of co-operation and spiritual friendship.’ “
Guests join in the Refuges and Precepts taking place in the Dahma Hall.
Pictures from the day’s events including the Rice Pindapata and meal offering. Guest’s food offerings were laid out in the grounds and distinguished with wonderful Thai carved fruits.
Sign in the workshop.
Monks pass along the line of guests offering them rice.
The younger guests take an active interest in the ceremonies.
Offerings made during the celebrations.
One of the many beautiful floral tributes.
Both food and guests were colourful.
Refreshments enjoyed by the Stupa.
A happy day was enjoyed by all.
A special guest was Mr George Sharp, who played an important part in acquiring the manor house and grounds in 1979 and gave out copies of his fascinating book ‘ The Story of Chithurst ‘ which he also personalised with his signature.
Sad to report that I have learned that Mary passed away on Tuesday 24th July 2018. Mary was a kindly, determined and remarkable English lady, who achieved so much during the war in an unfussy way, along with her colleagues and after it on the Isle of Wight. Her memory and story will live on and the part she played in Hampshire’s wartime efforts. Runge and I treasure our meeting with Mary last August. She was an inspiration, still driving her car at almost 101 years of age. HAPPY LANDINGS Mary.
Hampshire’s own former Air Transport Auxiliary( ATA ) ferry pilot, Mary Ellis gave a rare recorded interview to Tony Knight in August 2017, about her fascinating career delivering front line fighter planes in World War 2.
LISTEN to Mary’s exclusive interview below. ( Copyright 2018 Tony Knight ).
Pride of Hampshire – MARY ELLIS
Following the publication of her life story ‘ A Spitfire Girl ‘ told to author Melody Foreman ( Frontline Books 1996 ), Mary Ellis agreed to talk to me about her truly remarkable life delivering aircraft from the factories to operational airfields around the UK.
One of about 160 women who answered the call for pilots to deliver war-time aircraft urgently required by the RAF. Mary, a sprightly centenarian is still driving her car locally. She told me about her experiences : learning to fly; joining the ATA; flying 400 types of aircraft ranging from DH Tiger Moth, Gloster Gladiator, Fairey Swordfish, Hawker Hurricane, four engine Wellington bombers, to the iconic Vickers Supermarine Spitfire. Mary was one of the first women to fly a Gloster Meteor jet and has had a long and distinguished career. She’s also great fun to meet, with a cheery smile and a sharp memory for detail and her past experiences..
Mary celebrating her 100th birthday in a beloved Spitfire ( rear bubble )
Not content to have achieved so much, Mary was also a rally driver, managed a commercial airfield and ran her own fashion boutique. Clearly determined, capable and a high achiever in all she undertakes, Mary is still, at 101, a truly a remarkable, engaging and elegant woman.
Mary Ellis at home. Her centenary birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen displayed behind her.
Mary has recently been awarded the
‘ Freedom ‘ of the Isle of Wight for her
distinguished service to the country
in World War 2.
Mary’s story as told to Melody Foreman, in ” A Spitfire Girl” was published in 2016 by Front Line Books and is a wonderfully detailed and engaging read.
LISTEN to Mary’s exclusive interview below : ( Copyright Tony Knight ).