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A toast to the town

Piper, chef holding venison on a platter and the Town Crier.

Farnham’s 215th Venison Dinner saw a toast being proposed to the town’s ‘rich history, vibrant present and bright future’.

Dating back over 400 years, the historic dinner took place in the atmospheric grandeur of Farnham Castle’s Great Hall on Thursday 16 November.

More people than ever before attended this year’s dinner, which was first introduced in 1605 as a way to discourage local people from poaching deer from Farnham Park. Many of the traditions from the past 400 years have survived, including the chef presenting the cooked venison to the Mayor of Farnham and inviting him to carve the first slice.

Speaking after the dinner, the Mayor of Farnham, Councillor Mike Hodge said: “It was a pleasure to welcome everybody to the 2017 Venison Dinner, including many people who were attending the dinner for the first time.

“After a marvellous meal, we were treated to some entertaining and informative after dinner speeches. We heard from Robert Thompson, owner of the Hogs Back Brewery who has reintroduced the white bine hop, which was last grown in the area in 1926. Traditionally, the Venison Dinner has enjoyed the company of a Bishop as guest of honour and this year was no exception: we were delighted to welcome Revd. Canon Dr. Jo Bailey Wells, Bishop of Dorking.

“Farnham Town Clerk, Iain Lynch is a font of knowledge and gave the toast to the Venison Dinner and the town. He spoke about some of the people who have helped make Farnham what it is today. He also talked about modern day Farnham and acknowledged the many individuals and organisations that give selfless service and the businesses that support and underpin a range of community activities.”

The speeches concluded with a response on behalf of the town from David Gill, Chairman of Farnham Sports Council, Board Member of Surrey Cricket Foundation and Director of Surrey Playing Fields Association. He talked about the significant part sport has played in the town’s culture and heritage and the vital role it continues to play in the physical, mental and social well-being of the town today.

The final thanks of the evening went to Chairman of the Venison Dinner organising committee Pat Frost and committee members.

The 2018 Venison Dinner will be held on 15 November.

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