As usual, the Lions Club of Maidenhead held their annual Combined Charities Fair today, as local good causes took over the Town Hall to fundraise.
Since it began, St Luke’s have set up and manned a stand, and this year was no different. A team of congregation members offered homemade Christmas cakes and jelly, and won one of two awards for ‘best-dressed stall’.
I was delighted to see that Theresa May (Maidenhead‘s MP and, of course, Home Secretary) had come along to support the charities at the fair, and came over to the St Luke’s to buy some of our produce.
The Charities Fair is a staple fixture for me, and marks the first sign of Christmas. Seeing Win Reynolds, brought along by her daughter, Wendy, brought back fond memories of taking my dear grandfather to the fair every year. It’s just under a year since he died, and in his final years it became a major exercise to get him anywhere, but for the satisfaction of seeing his trademark smile, that early bit of Christmas shopping on the first weekend of November was always worth it.
Just as I was about to leave, Mrs May was heading out past the tombola. To her delight, she won the biggest prize there – a giant stuffed toy dog! Although the resulting picture isn’t brilliant photographically, I was there to capture the quite unexpected moment.
Note: Rollover the pictures for captions.
It seems that the fundraising committee at St Luke’s, Maidenhead yet again chose the right day for this year’s summer fair, as the annual event unfolded under beautiful sunshine in the vicarage garden between 11:00am and 3:00pm today.
Jake and I arrived at 9:45am to begin setting up the sound system, with just enough time to lay out the cable for the loudspeakers before the garden became to crowded with stall-holders.
We’d managed to rustle up just enough XLR lead to have a wired microphone out at the front like previous years, but in reality most of the trolley-pushing early revellers had already made their way onto the drive by 10:59am. Without the heart to ask them to go back, the opening of the fair happened at the side of the garden, with Lily (Sally‘s spaniel) making the inaugural footprint on the other side of the cord.
There was, as usual, a great range of things on offer: from a community support stall and the bottle-tombola, to the plant and bric-a-brac stands, it all seemed to keep the crowds entertained.
The PA system worked flawlessly with just one exception (which wasn’t our fault anyway). Just before the brilliant Monica Larose dance presentation, we’d been given a cue-sheet with the names and track numbers of each of the backing songs that the dancers were using. However, the running order had regularly changed, so the girls in the ‘arena’ were not the girls who were meant to be dancing to the second song we played. Ms Larose was quick, however, to smoothly get the right group on, and they started again.
When hunger struck, there were fairy-cakes for sale from the tea gazebo, burgers available from the Baughans’ barbecue, and ploughman’s lunches on offer from Fran Hornby.
Face-painting proved even more popular than last year, and many of the fun-loving people of St Luke’s paid to be canvases for the artistic skills of Ruth Baughan and Serena Tajima. This included Sally, who went for a star design, and Rachel Beaumont who had flowers painted on her face.
One lady who didn’t need her face painting was bearing the bruises from a fall in the town centre earlier this week. Remarkably cheerful, she quipped, “I think they should put me in a gazebo and form a line of the paying public to see my face!”
I was really pleased that my friend Phil Bray came for a short “flying visit”. I first spied him whilst walking around with my radio microphone, speaking briefly to sellers and punters alike, as he reports in his blog:
“During the afternoon we had a brief trip around the corner to St Luke’s Church where their summer fair was in full swing in the vicarage garden. We were only there for a short time, but it was good to see Andrew Burdett again, striding around with microphone in hand, providing a constant stream of commentary in his own inimitable style.”
— Phil Bray, blog post, 3 July 2011
The afternoon was finished by enjoying a pancake, with multiple fillings, prepared by Jennie Bartholomew.
This year’s fair made £1,482.97 in total, traditionally taking into account the £237 raised on the plant sale in May. Proceeds from the plant sale were, in fact, up massively on last year, and whilst the takings on the day were less (2010: £1,456.02 vs 2011: £1,245.97), overall there was just £58.05 in it.
However, although primarily an opportunity to get money, it’s the ‘fun’ that goes into ‘fundraising’ that’s important. I can say without hesitation that everybody at the fair today enjoyed themselves, whilst helping raise an astonishing figure for the church accounts.
It’s Saturday, 19 June 2010, and today was the Cookham Village Fair, organised by the Cookham Scout Group. Regular readers will know I was selected in March to be part of the Berkshire Contingent, representing our county and country, at the World Scout Jamboree in Sweden in 2011. Read more about my efforts here.
Of course, three weeks abroad cost a lot of money (around £2.1K), so a large part of the fun of going to the Jambo is fundraising. As the seven Maidenhead and Cookham Scouts, we organised to attend each other’s group’s Summer Fairs, running a stall and trying to make as much money as possible.
As it was such a nice day, we set up several activities and stalls. One was a wheelbarrow assault course, where the participant had to take a wheelbarrow around the course in the shortest possible time. But there was a catch; in the wheelbarrow was 1 litre of water. A ten-second time penalty was added for every 100 millilitres lost, meaning the member of the public had to balance out the advantages of going really quickly but losing most of the water, against getting a slow time but with almost all of the water remaining. This was the art of this activity, keeping a steady stream of determined people.
In addition to a sweet shop, selling confectionary and sugary drinks, we also had a ‘guess the sweets in the jar’ stall.
But by far the most popular amongst revellers, was the ‘Soak-a-Scout’ attraction. The name speaks for itself, but in case you were in any doubt as to the object of the game, you had to get the poor Scout in the stocks as wet as possible. Still, as the sun was out, it wasn’t all as bad as you may imagine! This picture shows me getting soaked, all in the name of fundraising of course.
We look forward to a similar exercise of raising cash tomorrow at Pinkney’s Green, as PG Scouts in Maidenhead play host to us Jamboreers.