Document Type

News Article

Publication/Presentation Date

Winter 2016


I have just been to my grandchildren’s school Carol Service held in Romsey Abbey, Hampshire. The Abbey dates back to the first century AD and is a good place to reflect on the year past and think about the year ahead.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

These words, written by Minnie Louise Haskins in 1908, are known as ‘The Gate of the Year’, and were used by King George VI in 1939 in his first WW2 Christmas broadcast to the British Empire. King George died in 1952 but the words comforted his wife, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, for the rest of her long life (she died in 2002 aged 101).

In June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union and in November 2016, the US chose a new President-Elect. For both our nations there will be change, and with this comes uncertainty. For me, 2017 will be a time of personal change – my son and his family will be moving to Switzerland in March. Hence my time of reflection in the Abbey during the last UK school Carol Service I shall share with my grandchildren.

The focus of this short newsletter is to share season’s greetings with everyone in our rapidly growing 5BFTS family. Whether you celebrate Christmas or whether you don’t, I hope you all get to enjoy some time with your family and friends and use the holiday to stop, unwind, reflect on the old year and look forward to the new one. Change is inevitable and your families, like ours, may be experiencing personal change as well as national change. We are all standing at the ‘Gate of the Year’ – I hope that the words of Minnie Louise Haskins will help and support you wherever you are.

As Gerry Beardsmore, 5BFTS Chairman from 1998 to 2005, wrote:

“From me and mine to you and yours
Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and
Health and Happiness and Peace in the New Year”



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.