Extracts from previous Newsletters.
Issue 1 - January 1985
When Hugh and his assistants Mary and Joanna made arrangements for the Hards Family Reunion on 7 July 1984 it was something of an act of faith. Although Hugh had heard over previous few years from enough Hards to be able to compile some seventy family charts, there was no way of knowing how many could or would respond to the invitation to meet at Upper Hardres Parish Church, a few miles south of Canterbury.
In fact the day was a spendid success, with about two hundred people of all ages present - and hot sunshine appropriate to the mainly outdoor programme. Everyone was provided with a label to tell who they were, and as far as we know none of us suffered a serious crisis of identity at meeting so many other Hards for the first time in our lives.
The number of people was sufficient to fill the entire church, and almost to overwhelm the morning agenda of registration, examination of famliy charts, and our tour of the church and its Hardres family memorials. Hugh, Mary and Joanna were kept fully occupied. So too were the local ladies who served all comers with tea, coffee or squash, provided through the generosity of Hugh himself.
Nevertheless, everybody was able to sign the Hards Register, to claim a copy of their family chart (those, that is, who had previously sent Hugh details from which a chart could be prepared), and receive a copy of Hugh's paper on "The Origins & Development of the Surname Hards", and a formal Hards Family Reunion Certificate. Most people too heard the tape of the Radio London broadcast about our Reunion which Hugh and Joanna had made the day before, through the introduction of Mrs Jane French.
By about half past twelve everyone had assembled inside the church where, after a few photgraphs of the "congregation" by Alfred Garbett, Hugh introduced the Vicar, Rev. John Burt, who gave us an interesting talk about the Hardres family in the parish of Upper Hardres. However if any of us had come that day with dreams of establishing a claim to the baronetcy we were distinctly discoraged to hear of Sir William Hardres' failure over two hundred years ago, to trace any heir to his name and title, which died out with him. And it would hve been easy enough to change one's name from Hards to Hardres to make a convincing claim! So many people get the name wrong anyway that few would even have noticed the change....
After lunchtime everybody was marshalled to yhe steps which led up to the raised terrace for the main group photograph by Alfred Garbett. Then after the "official photographs many others took the opportunity of snapping the group before it began to disperse in the direction of the Village Hall at Bossingham.
Upper Hardres is a parish, but there is no village as such. About a mile south of Hardres Court, past Hardres Manor, which had once been the rectory, lies the village of Bossingham, where a Fete and Strawberry Fyre was being held that afternoon, happily coinciding with the day of our Reunion. There many of us patronised the stalls and sideshows, and enjoyed strawberries and cream for tea in the Village Hall. Outside, beneath the welcome shade of the trees, we watched with interest where a number of ladies were demonstrsting the country crafts of lace-making, and wool-spinning with traditional spinning wheels.
In time our numbers began to thin, as those with long journeys home began to leave, bur Hugh weas still kept very busy in the Village Hall signing a Reunion Certificate for every person who had attended. The Reunion finally came to an end that evening with a small crowd round Hugh in the bar of the Star Inn at Bossingham where Jill and Dick Collins, the licensees, made everyone feel much at home. It had been a memorable day.