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Autumn Term 2009 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter

Autumn Term Review

Term began on Monday 7th September 2009 with a general club evening (GCE), the main attraction of which was the film ‘Night in the Museum’ starring Ben Stiller and a host of fading Hollywood stars trying to boost their pensions such as Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke and Micky Rooney (yes he is still alive). Ricky Gervais was also in it. Obviously. It was a fun-filled CGI-fest involving everything in the museum coming to life. When asked if she enjoyed it, Elva said "What’s it called, Tim?". But I think she and the 20 others in the hall enjoyed it a lot. The rest wanted to chat in the coffee bar about the summer. We were very pleased to welcome new member Laura Sykes. We were amazed to find that the building work at the school looked even more chaotic than last term. We were hoping it might have been finished by now. We also discovered an enormous wheelchair ramp taking up about a third of the hall (temporary, apparently).

Well, last week was so good that only 23 turned up on Monday the 14th for the usually very popular bingo evening and many of those preferred to chat in the coffee bar. So there were only three tables of players in the cavernous echoing school hall. ‘Eyes down’ was a bit late too because we had a surprise visit from Tony Whiting, Watch Manager at Wantage Fire Station. He came along with three of his crew to deliver a fantastic new gas-powered barbecue for us. This had been purchased with funds raised by the Wantage ‘999 Emergency Fund’, which is a pot of money to which all three of the emergency services in Wantage contribute. Their main fund-raiser is the ‘999 Ball’ which sounds like fun. If you read the previous edition of the newsletter you will remember the false alarm which has resulted in this generous gesture. We managed to find time for five games of bingo. Main winners were Steven White and Keith Tollit who just seemed to keep on winning and John Morton who won a fantastic digital camera.

Monday the 21st was taken up with a visit from ‘Uncle Wiggy’ who gave us an hour of non-stop hilarity, magic, over-acting and balloon modelling which went down very well with all of us. You can always tell, when no one is left in the coffee bar.

Monday the 28th was described as a gentle GCE with all the usual small games in the hall, although the jigsaw section was particularly popular. So popular in fact that Garry and Tricia had their own romantic little tryst over one. They didn’t notice everyone else queueing up for a try, but they had a lovely evening. At least they turned up which is more than you could say for your correspondent who is writing this bit on the basis of a few vague memories the following week. There were other jigsaws and one or two little indoor games (apart from Garry & Tricia’s). Helper Bernie turned up looking as though she had just been to a wedding (very nice Bernie). The weekly raffle produced four winners, so well done Dick P, Brian H, Andrew R and John C.

On Monday 5th October, Sabine organised beetle drive. The hall echoed with the shaking of dice and shouts of ‘It’s a leg!’ and ‘I only need one eye! There was a variety of prizes from shower gel to handwash and almost everyone ended up with something. Game 1 was won by Stephen W on Table 2 who got shampoo, Game 2 was Barbie who didn’t get a prize! In game 3 Penny on table 2 won shower gel as did Sarah W on the same table in Game 4. There were more wins for Table 2 in games 5 and 6 when Sarah W and Andrew R both won handwash. Table 1 got a look-in on Game 7 when Elva won some shower gel but it was back to Table 2 for Game 8 when Kevin L won shower gel. Emily said afterwards ‘I liked that’ and Brian H said ‘It was good’ (even though they didn’t win a prize).

On the 12th October, newsletter author Tim wasn’t at Club so as is normal on these occasions he has to rely on those who were there to give him reports. How quickly we forget. The following is based on a few scraps which people managed to remember. Andrew did a quiz, which Helen had prepared, but she was unwell, so Andrew did it. There were two teams - I think they were called "The A Team Plus" and "The X Factor" or something like that. One of the questions was name the river that runs through Oxford and at some point everyone had to make lists of all the different flavours of cakes or types of sweets and some other ones too. Probably, The A Team Plus included John C, John M, Ian B, Lavinia C, Amanda W and someone else. We were pleased to see a new member called Otto Baxter. The A Team Plus might have won but nobody was very sure.

On Monday 19th, almost everyone joined in with another of Sabine’s great craft sessions in the hall. This time we made Halloween lanterns which looked really good. We first traced some spooky designs onto tracing paper (cut to size for us) and then coloured them using felt-tipped pens. We had some very colourful and occasionally quite frightening witches, bats, cats, pumpkins and ghosts - you know the sort of thing. We then glued the tracing paper into a cylinder and dropped it into a clear plastic cup. Then came the magical part: Sabine gave us each a battery-powered tea light which we popped inside and put the lid on the cup. The result was very good - it looked as though a real candle was flickering inside, lighting up the spooky designs. Everyone was very pleased with what they took home. It was a very special evening for John Morton who became the first recipient for quite a long time of the Greenhalgh Award for achievement within the Fourteen Club. He was presented with the trophy by Club Leader Mark Clutterbuck together with a replica which he was allowed to keep. He was the unanimous choice of the Committee for the way in which he had become a much-valued member of the club and quickly overcome his initial shyness. He is an example to us all by joining in with everything and being well-behaved. He is a real character and much-liked by everyone. No sign of Otto this week.

After a break for half term, we were back on Monday 2nd November for our Halloween disco. Jim Shoemark and his boys and various hangers-on set up in the hall and provided two hours of excellent non-stop dance music. We were very pleased to see so many members who entered into the spirit (sorry about the pun) of the Halloween-themed fancy dress competition. Worthy of mention for very good efforts were Brian Heath, Andrew Latchem, Sarah Walford, Sarah Fearnley, Kira Beaver and Keith Tollitt but our winners were really brilliant. Emily Humphries won best costume (female), Patrick Dover won best costume (male) and John Curtis won best dancer in costume. They went home with X-Factor mugs and sweets etc and specially made certificates. Well done everyone. We welcomed back Norman Singleton who has been off sick for some time but is now fully recovered.

Monday 9th was our ‘5th November’ party and a large number of Tesco (BOGOF) fireworks were exploded in the only available patch of grass in what remains of the school sports field. No one was killed or injured, so it was another success for us to clock up. It was followed by cauldrons of hot vegetable or minestrone soup which went down very well. We were very pleased to welcome new member Jack Collier. We were also pleased to be inundated with items for the Christmas stall and tombola - thank you very much to everyone who contributed.

On the 16th we were treated to a fantastic quiz by Jemma, who had clearly put in a great deal of work and began by issuing the three teams with a quiz booklet. The three teams were ‘Life On Mars’, ‘Quiz Knights’ (very good!) and, inexplicably, ‘London Eye’. The first round was a memory round - 30 items on a tray which was then taken away. Round 2 involved recognising each of 10 company logos and in round 3 we had to recognise 4 smells from impregnated cotton wool balls in a plastic container (vanilla, peppermint, tabasco and vinegar). In round 4 we had to recognise 12 TV themes and in round 5 we had to put our hands into boxes and recognise cooked spaghetti, a pineapple, brussel sprouts and a ceramic tortoise! We then had a taste round in which we had to tell the difference between such things as standard and diet coke, Sainsbury’s and McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes and nice, reasonably-priced bananas and overpriced organic ones. Obviously, there was no difference in this latter case. (Ref UK Govt Food Agency). We then had a round of guessing prices of various items from the Argos catalogue. Easy winners were the Life On Mars team with Quiz Knights only two points behind. It was a great evening with a big ‘thank you’ to Jemma for all her hard work. We were pleased to welcome three potential new helpers Marie Leverton, Lisa Beardmore and Iain Norburn. We got on very well with them and we hope they enjoyed themselves and want to continue coming along.

All three came back on Monday 23rd November for a well-attended Christmas craft activity organised by the ever-inventive Sabine. The simple bit was colouring in festive bookmarks but we also made little Christmas baskets from card with snowman, reindeer or Father Christmas faces. They were really cute and could be used for sweets and things. Very few of us were left in the coffee bar playing pool or chatting!

On Monday 30th we started off with one of Jemma’s great quizzes -actually some left-over rounds from 16th November! The rounds were: ‘Name that album cover’, ‘Name that song’, ‘Name that instrument’ and ‘Name the singer/band’ which is surely is self-explanatory. Each round was rewarded with a Quality Street for the team members. The ‘Name that song’ round seemed to be the favourite with some fab dancing from Kevin Legge and Jack Collier. There were three teams and final scores were as follows: The Jim Jams (score 35), Six Fishers (score 32.5) and Team John (score 50). But this was a double evening. At about 8.30pm, the gorgeous ladies of ‘Harmony Inspires’, under their musical director Sandra, filed into the hall and entertained us for the final hour with their wonderful singing. (They used to be called Ridgeway Harmony and have performed many times for us in the past). We had some old favourites: ‘The Trolley Song’, ‘Under the Boardwalk’, ‘San Francisco Bay’ etc but then they went into a whole repertoire of Christmas songs and carols. We were all given song sheets and joined in with the singing. Some of us actually went up with the ladies and sang as part of the group and Ian Bedford was even allowed to conduct! I think we all got in the Christmas mood.

We had a really Christmassy carol concert on 7th December. Wantage Silver Band were on great form as usual with a miscellany of Christmas music and carols. Elva Clarke, Kevin Legge, Ian Bedford, John Curtis and John Morton all made excellent conductors and everyone sang along enthusiastically with ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Away in a Manger’, ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ and all the rest. Mulled wine and mince pies were served up during the interval and afterwards the Christmas raffle was drawn. Winner of the £150 first prize was a Mr Shorter of Stanford-in-the-Vale but there were lots of consolation prizes. We made a record profit of £907 so an enormous ‘thank you’ to all who supported the event. It was a sad evening for the Club though because it was Sabine’s last evening with us (see below)

We closed the term on the 14th December with our usual Christmas party. Jim Shoemark & Sons entertained us with dancing in the hall to Electroloom Disco and lots of Christmas dancing music. It was a great atmosphere in the hall with the great Christmas tree beautifully decorated and lit. We then sat down to a lovely buffet with some healthy food and drink provided (but mostly unhealthy stuff). Everyone went home with a Christmas present which this year was a lovely white apron with a 14 Club logo.

Committee News

We said goodbye to Sabine Wood who had been a staunch helper and committee member at the Club. Her final evening with us was at the Carol Concert on 7th December. Sabine had been with the club for 4½ years and threw herself enthusiastically into everything. She ran many craft evenings, took on the responsibility for much of the catering, she was our first aider, hosted committee meetings and often ran the coffee bar. She will be very difficult to replace. A massive ‘thank you Sabine’ from all of us - we shall miss you.

We were also very sorry to lose helper Vera Hollister who resigned as a committee member and helper. Vera was a very enthusiastic helper with our members. The Committee met at Jemma’s in Witan Way on Monday 26th October. The most exciting thing was Jemma’s extension, now completed and mainly to be used as Millie and Archie’s playroom. The chocolate biscuits were lovely! We discussed with some concern the fact that fewer members seemed to be coming to Club this year and the pending possible loss of further helpers. It was decided to ask members about the Club and what we could do to make it more interesting. We also needed a bit of a recruitment drive for new helpers. We put together the programme of events for the spring term and finalised arrangements for the stall. We were also concerned about getting up to speed with the new ISA (Independent Safeguarding Authority) checks which soon will supplement CRB checks for those who work with children and vulnerable adults.

The Christmas Stall

Our Christmas Stall was on Saturday 14th November outside the Bear Hotel in Market place as usual. It was a wet, blustery day and there didn’t seem to be as many people as usual milling about in town that day. Perhaps that was partly why we didn’t raise quite as much money as in previous years - just over £200, including the tombola and quite a few Christmas draw tickets. We also didn’t have quite as much to sell this time, but thanks to all of you donating bottles and cans, the tombola was a great success making almost £80. We all enjoyed ourselves and it was good to see so many of you coming over to say hello and supporting the stall. Thank you!

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!

ANY MORE OF YOU OUT THERE?

We’re always desperate for more drivers. If you can help, or if you know someone who might please call Garry Shand on 01235-764222. It’s really not too bad - one or occasionally two trips per month during school term time.

Fourteen Club Committee

Is anyone out there interested in being on the Committee? We are particularly looking for another parent or guardian. (Parent Jan Collins is already on). If anyone out there would like to become involved in this interesting and rewarding job, please contact any committee member - you could just come along to a committee meeting or two to see if you like it first!

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