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Autumn Term 2007 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter (No. 75)

Autumn Term Review

Term began on Monday 10th September 2007 with a fairly relaxed general club evening (GCE). The film provided from Tim’s boys’ library was ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ which wasn’t perhaps the best choice (it’s a bit strange if you’re not into that sort of thing). Trouble is, these days many of the big box office record breakers tend to be well over two hours which makes them useless for a 7.30 - 9.30pm Club evening! Around ten of us stuck it out - not sure what Molly and Pearl made of it! It was the first evening of the Club’s Health & Safety and Personal Protection Policy and Health and Safety Officer Tim duly warned of the dangers of tripping over, cars in the car park and filled in the risk assessment form. There was lots of fun in the music room where Sarah W played the keyboard beautifully (reading the music!) and Kevin showed what an accomplished percussionist he was. The school really does have an enormous number of instruments. Norman was listening to one of his techno CDs and didn’t notice when he came back from the loo that Henry had switched it to Radio 1!

The craft activity on Monday 17th was another one of Sabine’s inventive sessions. Her access to things technical allowed her to produced stacks of CDs with round labels produced by a CD labelling machine on which she had printed a number of different line designs: flowers, animals, birds, scenes etc which we all had to colour in. Having done three or four, these were strung together to produce a hanging decoration. There was much enthusiastic colouring. There was some enthusiastic pool playing in the coffee bar and a few of us had a little tinkle in the music room.

It was bingo time again on Monday 24th September and in spite of a late start we managed seven games. Brian H, an early arrival, put out all the tables and chairs in the hall and coffee bar area single handed - many thanks Brian (almost worth a Greenhalgh award - whatever happened to that?!) . Well, Kevin L and Andrew R emerged as the biggest winners of the night. Kevin took two full house prizes (the ‘Over The Hedge’ DVD and 240 tea bags for the ‘stand-up-sit-down’ game) and two line prizes. Andrew R also won two full house prizes (pencils in a jar and an ‘Art Attack’ set) and three line prizes. Other full house winners were Ian B (10 cans of diet Coke and the alternative of three line prizes), Steven W (a mug full of packet beverages), Amanda W (large tin of coffee), and Nick S (Status Quo Greatest Hits CD). Winners of line prizes included Julia S, Keith T, Mollie A, Kathy W, John C and Brian H.

First of October already and Sabine led another very popular biscuit making activity in the kitchen - they were lovely. Thank you Elva for mine! It wasn’t all that was going on though - there were small games in the hall, the usual ‘chatting table’ in the coffee bar area and pool going on as well. It was a bit of a landmark date because after 35 years, the Club had its first fire drill (All part of our new Health and Safety and Personal Protection Policies). It went extremely well, the entire school being evacuated in less than a minute. Ian C brought out the register and all members were safe. Tim forgot to bring his risk assessment form out which includes the names of helpers present, which is a lesson we’ll learn for next time! We had two visitors from the school, Mandy (a parent) and Cathy (a member of staff). They were there to look at resuming the original purpose of the Club which was to take pupils at the school from age 14 who would then remain with us for the rest of their lives - if they really wanted to!

Monday the 8th was Helen’s Show & Tell evening. It was amazing how well this went - many of us, both helpers and members, brought the most interesting and varied things along. John C showed us all his fund-raising paraphernalia for the Lowestoft Air Show; Henry P brought along his trumpet and played the Flintstones theme; Ian C told us about how he now drives an electric tractor at Tesco; Garry S brought along a series of Scottish £1 notes which his Scottish granny gave him each birthday back in the 1950s (he never spent them - Scots ancestry you know!); Elva C brought along a beautiful doll; Steven W told us about being an uncle; Brian B showed us his collection of sporting memorabilia; Sarah W stunned us with examples of her wonderful lace-making hobby, including some work-in-progress with bobbins; Chris R showed us his stamp and badge collections; Brian H had made the most beautiful embroidered Manchester United cushion at his sewing class - really very good actually. Dick P produced press cuttings of the day he became Man of the Games out of 150 competitors at Fremington in North Devon a few years ago; Kevin L told us about meeting Peter Andrè and Katie Price at Newbury Show; Kathy W surprised us with her encyclopaedic knowledge of TV cooks and her recipes from the internet, many of which she has made at home when it has been her turn to cook; Kira B showed a a picture of her newly born neice; Penny T told us all about an environmental event she went to in Witney; Sabine modelled some Bavarian clothes and accessories; Keith T emerged as a ‘Trekky’ - a ‘Star Trek’ fan with an album and even a shirt; Vera produced some old bank notes and coins; Carla told us about not being able to smoke at the Charlton Centre; Martin C showed us his amazing collection of Comic Relief Red Noses - yes really. To cap it all Julie produced recently-taken 11- week scans of her new baby!!! It’s due on 2nd April 2008! How exciting! Well done Julie and Graham. There was some disappointment when all Tim managed to come up with was Christmas Draw tickets which have just arrived and are desperately waiting to be sold. Everyone felt sorry for him though because he forgot to put his shoes on and turned up at Club in his slippers. He’s getting quite old you know.

On Monday the 15th we had what I believe to be a new departure for the Club - a Beetle Drive! Tables of four were set up round the hall, but rather than moving round the room we all stayed where we were and had table winners and overall room winners. On the word ‘go’ everyone began dice shaking in turn and drawing beetles (6 for a body, 5 for a head etc) and the first to finish shouted ‘Beetle’. Organiser Vera awarded prizes amongst whom were Patrick Dover (highest overall score), Kevin L, Sarah W, Ian B and Sarah F. It was great! A few stayed in the coffee bar chatting or playing pool.

After the half term break we were back on 29th October for our traditional Halloween Disco. Jim S and most of his family turned up for another super evening of dance music, although he did play ‘Sex On The Beach’ three times. I didn’t realise sand was such a turn on - quite the reverse in fact! Those entering into the spirit of Halloween were Kevin L as Spiderman and Carla M, Sarah W and Kathy W as hideous witches. Well done all of you!

2007 was one of those years when November 5th fell on a Monday, so we had to have fireworks didn’t we? It was a cold clear night and Tim and Garry let off just over £60’s worth of fireworks - all the usual volcanoes, fountains, Roman candles and miscellaneous sparkly, crackly things. Under instruction from a Committee who have mostly lost their sense of fun, there were no bangs. Everyone thought the rockets were best (yes by far - ed) and those who wanted them enjoyed sparklers. Next year we’ll just have rockets and sparklers? Thank you in particular to Kira and Elva who made very enthusiastic noises during the display. Although one firework fell over and gave us a few nasty moments, no one was killed or injured during the entire evening. Well, that’s Health and Safety for you - I’d filled the form in before we started! Afterwards we all went in and warmed up with hot soup (tomato or veg) and French bread. A big thank you to the helpers who missed the display to get it all ready.

We had another innovative evening on November 12th, when Helen and Jemma gave us ‘Food For Thought’. It was an interesting talk on healthy eating which included visual aids, quizzes and best of all sampling of healthy foods. These included blueberries, sharon fruits, dates, mangoes, papaya and Physalis (no I hadn’t heard of that one, but I think I’d seen it in Tesco). The baked crisps (not healthy but healthier than the fried sort) were very nice too. In the quiz, which involved tasting and identifying eight exotic fruits plus a test of how much of the talk we’d remembered, the rather inappropriately named ‘Burger Kings’ team beat ‘McDonalds’ by 52 to 45. Towards the end Tim stood up and showed everyone the effects of a lifetime of eating all the wrong foods. Club leader Mark was sadly absent. As one of the most knowledgeable people in the world about how poisonous almost every edible substance is, that was a great pity as I am sure he would have made an interesting contribution!

The Christmas craft activity on 19th November involved a massed collage event. About ten of us sat round a table and tore up bits of coloured paper and stuck them to a large piece of card. (Note the non-use of scissors, thus reducing the perceived risk on the risk assessment form for the day.) Gradually a shape emerged ... a Christmas tree! When all the glue is dry in two weeks, we’ll whip it out again and put the balls on it! Well, collage isn’t for everyone and we had pool in the coffee bar and our short bowls rink was set up in the hall. Towards the end of the evening the Club DVD was bunged on the telly which entertained those helpers and members not otherwise occupied.

On Monday 26th November we were thrilled to welcome once again Ridgeway Harmony who treated us to a wonderful concert in four-part harmony. The ladies looked stunning in their new matching black oufits with gold embroidered tops studded in multicoloured tiny sequins. This was all topped off with gold beaded necklaces. We started off with some community singing of Christmas songs including ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer’, ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ and ‘The Holly And The Ivy’. Some of us (ie Elva C, Ian B, Sarah W and Kevin L) even stood at the front with the singers. Nick S was the luckiest of all - he got to stand with the ladies whilst they sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to him and then he got a kiss from each of them! We then all just sat back and enjoyed beautiful renditions of songs which included ‘The Winter’s tale’, ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘The Celtic Blessing’. Just lovely!

Well, as promised two weeks ago, a group of us worked hard in the hall to decorate the collage Christmas tree. It didn’t take long and looked like ... well... nothing you’ve ever seen before. Someone likened it to an explosion in a doyley factory ... at Christmas. We look forward to seeing it decorating something or other at our Christmas party. Or perhaps it will be a prize in the Christmas draw. Others played a bit of bowls in the hall or just sat drinking coffee and chatting. Helen Harwood had the best idea of the evening - she gathered the best of the left-overs from our Christmas stall and set up a little shop in the coffee bar area. It was incredibly popular and took almost £50 over the course of the evening. Well done Helen!

Monday 10th December and Christmas draw time again so a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who bought and sold tickets and donated prizes. It looks as though we made almost £700 profit so well done everyone! It was mainly, of course, the night of our Christmas Carol Concert, courtesy of Wantage Silver Band who were excellent once again with a wide variety of Christmas music and carols, beautifully played in spite of many of our members grabbing the conductor’s baton or even standing at the front and singing! Sabine and her team provided piles of Tesco mince pies (they are among the best you know) and mulled wine which, I hope made us all feel Christmassy. It was great to see so many of our parents, carers and much-valued drivers in the audience. Winner of the £100 first prize in the draw was Francis Webb from East Challow. If you would like a full list of winners see any committee member or look on the home page of the website.

The Fourteen Club year ended on Monday 17th December with our Christmas party. Loads of free food on offer so of course we had a record turnout for the term - 37. Electroloom Disco was on good form (without Jim who was off on a jolly) but his family rallied round and put on a super show. Sabine and her team laid on a magnificent spread (which squashed it a bit) but there was very little left to take home especially after the helpers moved in. It was Henry’s last evening with us, he having completed his twelve months of community service for his Duke of Edinburgh Gold award. We were very grateful for all the hard work he put in and were sorry to lose him. Well there was the traditional exchange of Christmas cards and before we knew it, the evening was over.

Christmas Stall

Thank you to everyone who supported our Christmas Stall in Wantage Market Place on Saturday 10th November. We had everything set up and ready to go by about 8am and carried on through to 3pm. It was a lovely day and not as cold as we’ve been used to in the past. After a bit of a slow start, things got much busier later in the morning and the stall made over £300 plus a further £30 from sale of Christmas Draw tickets. It was great to see so many of you coming along to support us and in particular we were overwhelmed by the number of prizes for the tombola brought in to Club on the previous Monday and, unable thank to you all individually, I hope that all of you will take this an expression of our enormous gratitude.

Committee news

The meeting was held at Sabine’s place on 22nd October 2007 and a number of issues were discussed. We had received £500 in donations since the previous meeting from the Mayor of Wantage charity fund and Serco Assurance. Tim (via later email) reported on the successful introduction of the Club’s Health & Safety and Personal Protection Policies and medical forms are being updated in line with them. A possible summer outing to Gifford’s Circus in Lechlade was discussed and the programme for the spring term club evenings was sketched out. The new Club website is progressing well and it looks as though everyone will be getting Club rucksacks as Christmas presents.

Notice Board

Don’t forget, parents and carers, to let us know when members will miss Club. Last-minute problems cannot be avoided but when you know in advance please give Garry a call on 01235-764222. We cannot afford to send our volunteer drivers on wild goose chases!!

Parents! Don’t forget to let us know about any medical problems which members may have or medication which they may need to take. We try to update medical forms regularly but we can never be up-to-date on everything. We should also be told if there is anything else which could be relevant - eg any foods to be avoided etc. Also, should we restrict any members on what they purchase at the coffee bar - even though these days it only serves low-calorie drinks. The onus is on you to tell us - we can’t be expected to guess! Thanks!

Drivers!

Thank you for all you hard work bringing our members to and from Club in all weathers. You really are the lifeline of the Club and without you it could not exist. Please let us know when you’ve swapped runs - it could save us ruining Coronation Street for someone!!

Did you know that drivers can be helpers too? Yes, obvious though it may seem, we have been asked to point out that if any of you wonderful drivers would like to give up even more of your time to become helpers you would be more than welcome to give it a try!

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