This is the second of four chapters of our Annual Report, in preparation for our APCM on Sunday 25th October 10.30am at St Giles’ Church, which everyone is welcome to attend.
The Coffee Shop – Tina Edwards & Margriet Wells
For us, 2019 continued to demonstrate the enthusiasm of our customers in supporting all our charity fundraising projects. Below are the top three charities for which you have helped raise money. Thank you!
£880 to Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice – via sale of knitting items, including those sold through Pinewood Nursery.
£330 to Care International in support of Margriet & Charlotte Wells’ sponsored charity cycle through Vietnam. We also sold cakes and bakes.
£150 to Swan Sanctuary based in Datchet, through the sale of jams and marmalades… lots and lots of jams and marmalades.
Nepal Leprosy Trust (NLT)
Each year we set aside 10% of our profit to sponsor a child. In 2019 we have started a 3 year plan to sponsor a child, this time through NLT. We are sponsoring Adika Ramtel who is 5 years old, one of five girls in her family. Adika’s parents are people affected by leprosy. They are from a very remote part of the country, Bajura, but at present they have settled in a leprosy colony in Kathmandu. With no income there is no money for schooling. Even though the coffee shop has paused for a while, we will remain committed to supporting Adika and have enough money set aside to do so.
Saying no to plastics where we can…
In a continuing effort to reduce our use of plastic we started buying our milk from Pinewood Nursery’s refill pantry, collecting it in glass bottles each week.
They began selling some of our knitted items in their shop and we have taken one or two special requests.
Cakes and Bakes
We are still enjoying Bellaroo Bakes. Started by a local entrepreneur Beth, Bellaroo Bakes make special occasion cakes. But this will be on hold in 2020 as Beth is expecting a baby and we wish her, her husband and the new baby well.
Although we had been advertising and searching for new volunteers throughout 2019 we have not been successful. We also lost some of our current volunteers due to ill health or caring duties.
Can we thank everyone who has worked or visited The Coffee Shop in 2019.
Knit and Natter – Alison Wheatley
This year we carried on with lots of projects. We made flannel rabbits, knitted chicks and Bernard Bears. We made lots of Dash Bags for both Children and Adults at different times of the year (which were loaded with masses of donations from everyone at the Church). We knitted cakes and sandwiches as a display for the Horticultural Show.
In the autumn the Knit and Natter group began making giant poppies to be used by the flag pole, near the statue of the dog and returning soldier. They also ran a workshop in October for villagers to come and create a giant poppy or two for the fence. This was a great success and very well supported. Over 200 poppies were made and displayed.
For Christmas, we created Chocolate Orange Snowmen and Christmas puddings and rounded off the year by making Angels, which had adventures around the village during advent. Many of these projects helped in raising Funds for Alexander Divine to a total of £870.00. We were able to involve many in the local community, and had a lot of fun. We would like to thank Pinewood Nurseries for their assistance in our fundraising.
Stoke Poges Men’s Group – Nigel Lowe
2019 was another good year for the Men’s Group with our usual mix of Curry Nights, Breakfasts and our Annual Dinner all with inspiring speakers. And not forgetting the Lads, Dads and Grandads Skittles evening, with a fish and chip supper, when once again the Lads showed the so called adults that it’s not just about how hard you bowl!
Looking to the future, we are planning our future events. Which we hope will include a visit to a local brewery.
Reapers – Mike Wright
We have managed to keep St. Giles Churchyard under control for yet another year.
I personally have been involved for almost 50 years, and I was the youth policy! We are struggling to maintain the nicely manicured look of St.Giles’ Churchyard but luckily we have had an injection of a couple of younger Reapers (Simon and family, Jonathan and Kate), which has made such a difference and it looks great after the Reapers have put in a good shift.
We meet on alternate Saturdays during growing season from 9am to about 11 (which includes a tea and doughnut break!!). We are a pretty laid back, but very dedicated, bunch. We cut the grass, strim around the gravestones and prune the roses, but anything else requires an appeal for extra help one as one-off work parties. Our season ends with leaf clearing.
I need to mention the standard roses. They have suffered from drought in recent times and quite a few have died. We are looking at the best way forward to re-establish the former glory of the approach to St.Giles’.
In the past we also maintained the grounds at St. Andrews. Now Ann, our caretaker, does a really great job. We owe a big thank you to Ann and her family.
I would like to thank all the Reapers for their support and hard work throughout the year.
Bell Ringers – Anne Frank, Tower Captain
We recruited a new ringer this year, which brings the number of members up to 11. Teaching a new person is very time-consuming and also quite scary – Ralph is the only one of us brave enough to do it! Judy has learnt very quickly – she is not quite ready for weddings, but it won’t be long.
We have managed to ring before most Evensongs on Sundays and have rung for several weddings, with more coming up this year. We have improved our communications with Richard to ensure we get the wedding times right! We also rang at Christmas, Remembrance Day and various other occasions during the year.
Our Wednesday practices continue – we try to learn new methods, but it’s a challenge as we are all relative new-comers to ringing. But the evenings are enjoyable – we are an amiable bunch and welcome anyone to come along and try us out. The tower continues to be popular with visiting ringers. The money raised from visitors’ peals is returned to the church for large expenses in the tower, though luckily, we haven’t needed to call on this resource recently.
Our next chapter will go out in a few days time…