At the end of March, the ladies, who each week provide the floral displays in St Boniface, decided to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday in April by decorating the church with flowers and artifacts reflecting her Majesty’s interests and achievements.
Attics and charity shops provided numerous appropriate items and everyone worked very hard to fill the space available with imaginative and colourful displays. This culminated in the decorated church being open on the Saturday and Sunday of her birthday week.
Many, many thanks to everyone who contributed to a very successful venture – including those who just came to look.
Well what a 24 hours at Basics Bank! On Friday last we fed a whopping 81 needy people – easily a record for Lordshill Basics Bank. This means that during 2015 we have fed 1592 people and provided clothing for countless others.
A sample of testimonies shows how valuable Basics Bank is for some people:
Three families came to us as a result of having purses or wallets stolen over the Christmas period. It was gratifying to be able to show that not everyone is so heartless, by providing these people with some festive cheer.
A young couple came to us: he had recently lost his job and they had significant debts, meaning they couldn’t afford presents for their two children. With the help of our friends at SCRATCH and the Christmas Complete programme we were able to remedy that, to provide them with food for Christmas and also a Christmas hamper full of goodies.
We had a letter of thanks from a recent client who had been unemployed for 2 years as a result of needing to care for his terminally ill parents. Part of his letter of thanks said “I want to say a huge thank you for the wonderful bags of food you gave me on Friday last, at the Ecumenical Church in the Lordshill Centre. Your fantastic volunteers did a wonderful job of making me feel welcome. In short I was treated with great respect and kindness.”
This just shows how Basics Bank steps in to help those in real need.
We barely had chance to catch our breath before we were singing carols in Lordshill Centre, collecting food for Basics Bank. Although some of the voices were a little croaky from recent colds and flu it was wonderful outreach and provided more food for Basics Bank. When one small boy gave us a packet of biscuits purchased from his own pocket money there were several of us with a tear in their eye. It seemed to speak of generosity at Christmas.
Also on Friday we received a substantial cash donation from the pupils at Oakwood Primary School. This was raised at their school pantomime and followed two other significant financial donations in recent weeks. Thank you Oakwood, Bonhomie Charity and Unite trade union for your generosity.
Finally, a big Christmas thank you to all those who supported us in 2015 – the volunteers, those who donate food, money, and those who keep us in their prayers. Without your generosity and encouragement there would be no Basics Bank.
We re-open for business at Lordshill on Friday 8 January 2016.
On October 31st children gathered for a Light Party at St John’s Church, Rownhams. Rather than ‘trick or treating’ in the darkness and fear that Hallowe’en can bring, these parties offer children a chance to join together in celebrating light and joy, and the other good things in their lives.
Like any party, this one included music, puppets, party food and games, but the highlight (!) was a mega-craft activity, finishing off the build of the 12-foot lighthouse. Seen in the photograph, with children clustered around it, it was topped off with a disco ball symbolising Light in the world.
Organiser Andy Ball encouraged the children – ‘There’s no need to worry about spooks and ghouls, as we celebrate the most powerful Spirit – God’s Holy Spirit offering light to our lives’.
Perhaps – at two-and-a-half hours – A Whale of a Time lived up to its name a bit more than we would have liked, but looking back, who could you have left out?
The church was completely full for the fifth in the series of ‘Concerts for Africa’, which was both varied and fun. Eighteen different acts, from young André at the piano
to Grove Place Strummers and Pluckers (a ukulele orchestra), from David singing(?) A Mother’s Lament to Alida Stoman performing songs by Mozart and Jule Styne
– the full programme is reproduced below. Some are already firm favourites – the puppets, Jim Carter’s poems, and the ‘Steady 5’ jazz ensemble, some of whom had come home from university especially to be here – but Alida and the ukuleles were appearing for the first time, as was the Fairy Chorus (with added rappers).
The programme closed with a rousing rendition of ‘Guide me, O thou great Redeemer’; as songs about whales are rare, we chose one from Wales!
It’s invidious to pick out acts individually, so Hilary and Sue want to thank –
every single performer, young or old, seasoned or quaking at their first stage appearance;
all the accompanists (Carol, Sarah and Julian)
all the front-of-house staff (Martin Saunders, Alan Bulpit, Bernard Butcher and Dave Edes) and refreshments team (Vivien Butcher, Sheila Bulpit, Linda Purkess and Simon Purkess)
David Newbitt, for the programme and screen presentation;
the sound man (Andy Cambridge) and roadies (John Holden and Peter Skidmore)
Pat Wills (video camera) and Graham Cowdery (stills photography)
Chris Pritchard, for the video interview with Bishop Jackson;
the Lady with the Candlelighter (Sharon Cambridge)
and the lovely appreciative AUDIENCE, who have helped us raise over £1140 so far.
If we’ve forgotten anyone, please do tell Sue (it’s her age, you know) so we can put it right!
On Saturday October 3rd, rather than chew their nails in front of the rugby World Cup, eager teams of quizzers gathered at the Peter Digby Scouting Centre for the annual Quiz Night. This year Carol Plunkett acted as Quizmaster and she had set some fiendishly difficult questions (as well as some less demanding) which had the contestants racking their brains for the name of the cat in the Simpsons, or what was the proper name of ‘Earth’s second moon?!
Eventually it was the Infamous Five (Jane Coomer, Linda Klein, Jane Carr, Fiona Skidmore and Sue Newbitt) who bore away the coveted Quality Street in triumph, with the Scatterbrains as worthy runners-up. Many thanks to Vivien Butcher, Sheila Bulpit and Linda Purkess for organising the event, as well as to Carol for the questions – same time next year, everyone?
It’s Harvest Festival season, and for children and young people in Rownhams – this time it’s personal!
Back in May, children from years 3 and 4 at Rownhams St. John’s Primary School spent a day at St. John’s Church, turning what had been a compost heap into a mini-allotment. They planted onions, potatoes, courgettes, tomatoes, beans and lettuces, then young people’s groups from the church took over to care for the plot and provide the elegantly turned-out scarecrows!
Throughout the summer, vegetables have been regularly provided to the Basics Bank, run at Lordshill Church on Fridays by volunteers from local churches, and last Sunday over 40 kilos of beautiful fresh potatoes were harvested to benefit families in need.
‘What could be a better use for a compost heap?’ asked John McGinty, who co-ordinated the project. ‘Children love to see things growing, and when these can be used to benefit other people it’s a real win-win situation. Fresh vegetables are always needed and these are as fresh as they can be!’ John also runs the Gardening Club down the road at Nursling CofE Primary School, which regularly sends gifts of vegetables to the Basics Bank.
Tinned and packet food from Harvest Festivals in schools and churches all over the area will also go to Basics Bank, but none will be more joyfully offered than these potatoes.