Society Events

We organise a varied calendar of meetings, talks, walks and get togethers

Events organised by the Society have a blue banner. We include local events, which have a green banner.

S&SES Film Club Night will return in the Autumn   
Heritage Open Days Walks in SonningSept 13 - 15 2pm

If you are new to the area do join our experienced guides as they describe the architectural heritage and development of our village through key buildings and how the river crossing helped to shape the village you see today. The walks start at 2pm, last for 2 hours and you are advised to wear comfortable shoes and bring protectection against inclement weather.

There is no charge for these guided walks but numbers are limited so booking is essential. Please contact Diana Coulter via email to or on 0118 969 2132. Bookings open on August 12th.

The Mill First Night: Towards Zero Aug 8 8.15pm

Summer is that time when the inimitable Brian Blessed visits Sonning to direct one of Agatha Christie's classic thrillers.

The combination of Christie & Blessed has proved a winning formula for The Mill, helped by the special relationship that Brian had with the Queen of Crime. He met and worked with her when he was a young actor at Nottingham Repertory Theatre. Their friendly conversations informed Brian about how she would have liked to see her plays directed. She told Brian that Towards Zero was acclaimed by the novelist Robert Graves as by far her best and most dramatic novel, and in 1956, Gerald Verner adapted it into a play.

At The Mill Aug 8 - Sept 28. For booking information phone the Box Office (0118) 969 8000 or visit:

Berkshire Gardens Trust: Winchester Tour Aug 28 Full Day Tour

Cathedral and walking tour of Winchester. This will be on Wednesday, 28th August. In the morning, BGT will have their own guided tour of the Cathedral. In the afternoon, members of the Hampshire Gardens Trust will show you around some of the city’s varied gardens. You can book for the entire day, or just the morning or the afternoon.

You can book The cost is £10 for the FULL day tour, £7 for the morning and £4 for the afternoon. Or you can book by post – please send the booking slip and cheque to the Membership Secretary, Berkshire Gardens Trust, Sycamores, School Lane, Boxford, Newbury RG20 8DX within a week of receiving your email confirmation. Online booking will give immediate confirmation of your place or if the event is fully booked, an option to join a waiting list. Postal bookings will be processed as quickly as possible.

Talk: To Kathmandu and BeyondSept 13 - 15 2pm

Professor Alistair Driver, who visited the Bardia National Park in Nepal earlier this year, will be giving a talk on this expedition entitled “To Kathmandu and Beyond”.

Amazing photos of tigers, a jeep safari through the jungle, and a truly stunning variety of wildlife will all be covered in this illustrated lecture.

It should be an excellent evening. Do join us for a welcoming drink and bring a guest.

To book a place contact Penny Feathers on 0118 9343193
or email

Tickets £4 for members, (£5 for guests)

The Sonning Village Show Sept 21 2 - 5pm

The Sonning Village Show - the annual fruit & veg, arts & crafts, baking show with so much for all the family.

The Mill First Night: Run For Your Wife Oct 3 8.15pm

If you enjoyed Move Over, Mrs Markham last year you will be delighted to welcome back the King of Farce, Ray Cooney. Ray will once again direct his own play - Run For Your Wife - his funniest and most acclaimed ever!

John Smith is a happy London taxi driver, working shifts. But he has one little problem. He is married. Twice! He has one wife, Mary, in Wimbledon. And another wife, Barbara, in Streatham. John keeps to a rigorous schedule so that never the twain shall meet. Everyone is blissfully happy - especially John Smith!

At The Mill Oct 3 - Nov 23. For booking information phone the Box Office (0118) 969 8000 or visit:

Garden Visit: Walled Garden on the Wormsley EstateMay 22 10.30am

Set in beautiful countryside near Stokenchurch, the Wormsley Estate is the home of the Getty family and the Garsington Opera. The Walled Garden dates back to the mid-1700s and was designed by a contemporary of Capability Brown. It was neglected for the best part of a century but brought back to life by Penelope Hobhouse, the celebrated garden designer.

A private visit has been arranged to see the Garden on Wednesday 22nd May starting at 10.30am. The cost is £6 per person. Car sharing is advised and it will be followed by an optional pub lunch nearby. More details to follow.

Cost of attendance is £6 for members (places are limited) so contact Pauline Simmonds to reserve a place.

S&SES Film Club NightMarch 26 7pm

The Greatest Showman is a 2017 American musical film directed by Michael Gracey, staring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michele Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya.

The film is inspired by the story of P. T. Barnham’s creation of the “Barnam and Bailey Circus” and the lives of its stars.

Cost of attendance is £5 for members (£6 for Guests)
and will include a glass of wine.

At Pearson Hall. Tickets available on the door.
Doors open 7pm, programme starts 7.30pm

Talk: Brunel and the Great Western RailwayMarch 22 7.30pm

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was initially employed as an engineer in 1833 to build a rail link between London and the west country via Bristol but he encountered many difficulties. He had to develop new methods of construction and over the years, as more projects were added, he went on to create a whole range of original designs and technical solutions. Lionel Williams' talk will cover the construction of the great railway.

Cost of attendance is £4 for members (£5 for Guests)
and will include a glass of wine.
Tickets available from Penny Feathers.

Sonning & Sonning Eye Society AGM and SupperNovember 17 7.15pm

Our AGM and Supper will be held in the Pearson Hall on Saturday 17th November.

Tickets remain at £16. There will be a welcoming drink and the AGM starts at 7.15 pm sharp. The guest speaker will be Brigadier Maurice Sheen and he'll be talking about 'Sandhurst in the Sand'

Enjoy a welcome drink before the AGM starts at 7.15pm

Tour of Loddon Brewery October 13 3pm

Following the article in the Summer edition of Bridge we are pleased to confirm the arrangements for the tour of Loddon Brewery which will take place on Saturday 13th October, 2018. The planned tour will start at 1500 hrs. Chris Hearn, the owner will give us an insight into the back ground to the brewery together with an explanation of the brewing process followed by plenty of time for sampling. Taxi’s at 1730hrs!

Tickets: Members - £10.00. Non-members - £12.50; or £15.00 to include single Society membership to December 2019 Tickets available at the Village Show and also from Penny Feathers. Contact her by email to or 0118 9343193.

Sonning Architectural & Historical Walk September 29 2pm

A walk led by Brian O'Callaghan & Diana Coulter

If you have ever wondered why we are so lucky to have so many lovely buildings in Sonning, or indeed why the streets go through the village in the way they do, then our walk exploring the village’s history and buildings will be just for you.

Led by Brian O’Callaghan and Diana Coulter, “Sonning: an architectural and historical walk” will take place on Saturday 29th September 2018 starting at 2pm. Brian and Diana will meet you in the churchyard near The Bull. They will start in the church and then cover Pearson Road and the High Street. The walk takes about two hours, so appropriate footwear is recommended, and it ends back at The Bull, where a choice of tea/coffee venues are then nearby. For safety reasons we need to limit numbers, so please book a slot via Diana on or 0118 969 2132.

John Piper, artist April 20 7.30pm

A talk by The Rev Ian Browne

Former Senior Chaplin of Oundle School

We have decided to take a fresh look at the artist and designer - John Piper. For over fifty years he lived in Fawley Bottom near Henley, where he died in 1992. His work has recently been on display at Dorchester Abbey or the River and Rowing Museum, but in the past his paintings were exhibited in The Gallery in Sonning Eye, so several of you may remember seeing his work on display nearby.

The presentation will focus mainly on his wonderful stained-glass windows, examples of which can be found locally in Nettlebed and Pishill, as well as a variety of churches throughout Oxfordshire and the Chilterns. He also worked on many important commissions across the country, including windows for Coventry and Liverpool Cathedral, but one of the earliest examples of his distinctive style can be seen in the chapel at Oundle School, near Peterborough

We are delighted to announce that The Rev Ian Browne, a former Senior Chaplin of the School, has kindly agreed to give us a talk on the subject. He is an expert on Piper’s work and will explore his interest in glass and the effect it had on his art.

Enjoy a welcome drink before the talk starts at 7.30pm

Tickets: £4 for members and £5 for guests

Sonning Heroes March 7 7pm

A talk on War Heroes
by pupils of Sonning Primary School

Last year the Society provided support to the pupils of Sonning Primary School in a project to research the history of the Sonning Heroes who gave their lives in the wars.

The pupils presented their findings to some of us in December and it was so interesting that they have agreed to repeat it but to a wider audience, including their parents.

Please note that although this is a "by invitation only" event members of the Society are welcome to attend but should contact Annabella Marks at so that the school can cater for numbers. Refreshments will be provided.

Enjoy a welcome drink at 6.30pm before the talk starts at 7pm

Tickets: no charge

Swan Upping February 23 7.30pm

A talk by David Barber

The Queen's Swan Marker

David Barber, the Queen’s Swan Marker will give us an insight into this ancient ceremony – dating back over 800 years. The event takes place on the Thames during the third week in July when the Swan Uppers, dressed in a scarlet and white uniform, man a flotilla of traditional skiffs, row up the river and round up the swans

Over a five-day period they stop at various locks and riverbanks in search of cygnets. They weigh and measure the young birds in each area, check their health and collect data. Fishing hooks, dogs and the changing wildlife along the Thames affect their numbers but this annual event helps to preserve the population, conserve their environment and provide valuable information.

PS. We hope to arrange a visit to watch this event as it passes through Sonning at a later date.

Enjoy a welcome drink before the talk starts at 7.30pm

Tickets: £4 for members and £5 for guests

Birds of Berkshire January 19 7.30pm

A talk by Renton Righelato, one of the authors of 'The Birds of Berkshire' will be treating us to some ornithological tidbits. Details to be published in due course.

Enjoy a welcome drink before the talk starts at 7.30pm

Tickets: £4 for members and £5 for guests

Sonning & Sonning Eye Society AGM and SupperNovember 18 7.15pm

Our AGM and Supper will be held in the Pearson Hall on Saturday 18th November. Tickets cost £16. There will be a welcoming drink and the AGM starts at 7.15 pm sharp. The guest speaker will be Jesse Elzinga, the Headmaster at the Blue Coat School, and he'll be talking about 'Current Themes in Education at Reading Blue Coat School and Beyond'.

Enjoy a welcome drink before the AGM starts at 7.15pm

Tickets: £16

Explore the Colombian Amazon with Professor Alastair DriverOctober 13 7.30pm

In May, under the guidance of the veteran explorer Col John Blashford-Snell, Alastair joined an international multi-disciplinary team on a trip to the Colombian Amazon near the borders of Brazil and Peru. Alastair's brief was to explore this relatively unknown region and record the wildlife for educational and scientific purposes. The team also included doctors, dentists and engineers.

Photographing and filming the wildlife was an important part of Alastair’s role and he has kindly offered to give a talk, with images and film clips from the expedition, in the Pearson Hall on Friday 13th October.

The evening starts with a welcome drink at 7.30pm

Tickets: £4 for members and £5 for guests

Architectural and Historical Walk September 7-10 2017

HERITAGE OPEN DAYS were established in 1994 and for many years now our Society has organised a ‘Village Walk’ to support this important Heritage Festival. Events are held up and down the country giving everyone a chance to explore buildings normally closed to the public, join a guided tour, or just learn more about their local community.

If you are new to the area or interested in history do join our experienced guides on an “Architectural and Historical Walk” around Sonning in September. The walks start at 2 pm in the Churchyard near The Bull and last about 2 hours on the following dates:-

Thursday 7th September
Friday 8th September
Saturday 10th September

Walk On the Wild Side July 9 2017

Alastair Driver was appointed as the first conservationist for the River Thames in 1984 and led on the conservation of this world famous river and its tributaries for 18 years before becoming national Head of Conservation for the Environment Agency. He recommended the creation of the Thames Valley Park wetlands in the late 1980s and has advised on the management of the site ever since. He has also led many guided nature walks here for local organisations.

During this walk Alastair will point out wildlife as we go, catch insects to show in the hand, and explain the history of TVP.

An account of this walk was published in Issue 52 of Bridge

The meetings are now held in the Committee Room of Pearson Hall, on Pearsons Road.
(We used to support the St. Sarik Room but unfortunately the Parish decided to raise its rates by such a degree that we have had no option but to relocate.)

All members are welcome.

The dates for 2019 are:

Wednesday 13 February Wednesday 3 April Wednesday 5 June
Wednesday 7 August Wednesday 16 October Wednesday 4 December
S&SES Executive Committee Meeting 13 February 7.45pm


Will be uploaded closer to the date

S&SES Executive Committee Meeting 3 April 7.45pm
S&SES Executive Committee Meeting 5 June 7.45pm