Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Christmas Party 2009, Cherington

The Guild Christmas Party took place at Cherington Village Hall on Saturday 19th December. It was preceded by ringing at St John the Baptist's Church, on the delightful light ring of six there.

The weather that night was cold: in fact, very cold! There had been some snow previously and the temperature was well below freezing. The heaters in the Hall struggled. . . . By gosh, it was authentic Christmas stuff!

The party was essentially the product of two 'managers': Peter K organised the ringing, venue and associated hardware; and Sophia Lewis-Skeath sorted the food/drink side and those nice, homely, little bits no man can ever think of, or hope to arrange (Come along gents; you know this is right. . . .. When would Christmas be if we had to arrange it?).

The superb FSG Christmas Cake

As this was the Centenary Christmas Party, it was decided that a suitable cake would be appropriate. Andrew Gunn liaised with Fiesta Caterers at Wickhamford, who produced a cake that had a photo of Todenham Church and two FSG badges on the top that were made from edible rice paper and edible coloured inks. It was decorated with small bells. It was spectacular, as the photos show. Well done, Andrew!

It was a shame comparatively few members came. The nasty, cold weather may have been a consideration. However, you should be aware that you missed the Christmas Fairy in her strapless dress (but she just had to be horribly cold) and the irrepressible Jackie in her mini dress with lacy, see-through extension (and she must have been cold, too. But did either of them show it? Not even a little bit. Female grit: terrifying!).

The evening proceeded with some drinks and then with the food/nibbles. Helen Povey brought warm mulled wine in vacuum flasks. This was popular in getting some heat back into bodies!

Then the cake was paraded in, with candles lit, and was justly admired by all there. Rob Harvey and John Nicholls showed us they still have enough puff between them to blow out four candles (although some of us thought it might be a close-run thing, and wondered whether oxygen masks were available). It was suggested the committee members there should be photographed behind this remarkable, although temporary, bit of Guild history, and such occurred. After this, the cake was cut by Jackie and John (but how did you manage to cut your finger with the knife, John? Were you distracted?)

To get us all going with a bit of gusto, carols around the piano, just like the old days (so the writer has been told), was next on the agenda. This proved to be very popular, with many carols sung and everybody joining in. You may not have realised it, but Rob Harvey has a very fine singing voice!

There were carols on handbells, organised by Richard (see his advert). Chris Povey brought along his set of 12 bells, which had returned from full refurbishment only the previous day and were still wrapped up in their protective paper. He said they needed a memorable event for their first use, and this was as good as any. So he unwrapped them and the shiny, like-new bells were used.

The final event was the raffle, for which Committee members had provided the prizes. This was successful in that most people took home a prize!

The Photos

Robin Hands, Steve Bowley, Robin Walker, and the irrespressible Jackie

Helen Povey, Rob Harvey, Andrew Gunn

Peter Kenealy, Sophia & Richard Lewis-Skeath, Michael Haynes, Maureen & David Adams, John Nicholls

Allen Turner, Paul Marriott

No, your eyes don't deceive!

The Christmas fairy

The cake is brought in by Andrew

Rob and John blow out the candles

Most of the committee (plus Stuart C earlier)

Jackie and John cutting the cake

Robin W tickling the ivories

Carols round the piano

President and Hon Sec in full cry

Carols on Chris's newly-refurbished bells

Paul gives it a try