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Autumn Term 2010 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter

Autumn Term Review

Term began on Monday 6th September in a torrential downpour which lasted for the whole evening. To our great surprise the kitchen had been walled up for complete refurbishment! What a laugh! So we had to rapidly work out how we were going to make tea, coffee etc (we couldn't) and what to do about our other activities this term involving cooking facilities. So Phase 2 of the school building work has started! Watch this space! We had films in the hall, Tim had brought in a DVD of Laurel and Hardy films which were surprisingly well received by about twenty of us. The films had been digitally re-mastered and artificially coloured making them look and sound really good. Our long-departed pair got into some hilarious situations in 'Busy Bodies', 'The Music Box' and 'Hog Wild'. During the evening our tame photographer Jo very kindly came along again and took a whole series of individual and group photos of all of us. These will be used in a craft activity later this term. Again, watch this space!

On Monday the 13th we had a great indoor sports night. Iain organised the events with helpers Ann and Debbie on hand to assist. We managed to cram in a wide variety of sports. We played a version of basketball - dribbling and throwing and excelling here was Jack C for his kangaroo-impressions when dribbling! We also had indoor rounders - there were two teams, one batting and one fielding. The batting team used their hand/fist to hit a large soft ball then run. The fielding team stumped the bases to try to get people out! The members clearly enjoyed this and we had two teams of six. Then there was a Frisbee game - we paired up and practiced throwing foam frisbees - it was a good job they were made of sponge, due to the number flying randomly around the hall! Worth a mention is John M who managed to both throw and catch after some practice. After this we played tag - this is where you run around and have to avoid being hit by the softball below the knees - there were some lovely jumps and leaps to avoid being 'it'! Members were very keen to tag helper Iain! We also played indoor football - about six members had a go with a soft football. Probably the best was John Curtis, maybe as he trains with Faringdon each week! Other members played catch among themselves - Kevin, Penny, Kira and Stephen. Helper Andrew was busy taking photos, capturing the fun and Bernie and Mark were on hand to serve much needed drinks and watch the fun. All in all, everyone who took part seemed to really enjoy it and we had 3 cheers for Iain. We had two birthdays - Matthew (17th Sept) and Elva (14th Sept). Barbie did a raffle and Charmaine won 3 prizes and John Curtis won one! All members were given forms so they can update their contact and medical details. (written by Debbie Warren - thank you)

Monday the 20th was one of our standard events which we have each term - a good old bingo session. Almost everyone assembled in the hall where Brian H had, as usual, laid out all the tables. Thank you Brian, you deserve a medal! Well we used up a bookful of games each and lots of us won prizes. In the various full houses Keith Tollitt won twice and got a digital alarm clock and a cutlery set, Brian H won a set of table mats and coasters, Andrew R won a jar of Gold Blend, Ian B won a crate of Coke Zero and Amanda W, Steven W and Dick P won the 'last man standing' games. Sarah F and a few others went home with shedloads of line prizes. We were very pleased to welcome new helper Eleanor Weston and congratulated Dick P on his proudly-worn medal for swimming 50 miles (not all at once, I think!)

On Monday 27th we had a brilliant craft activity, led by Jemma which involved using special pens to colour in an assortment of plastic designs. These included wind chimes with jungle, farm and seaside themes. Each came in a ready-made kit which included 4 metal chimes and hanging cord. These proved to be very popular with the members and we quickly ran out of these. We also had sun catchers in the shape of cars, birds and sea life creatures. The photo frames had butterflies, flowers and rainbows. Nearly all of us (including helpers!) joined in the activity and managed to do 2 or 3 different ones.

On Monday 4th October we had another 'Show and Tell' evening. Lots of us brought in things which had some special significance for us. Tim brought in his brick from Morris Motors factory chimney which he had been talking about all week on BBC Radio 4. Sarah W brought in a beautiful piece of embroidery she had been making (rural scene with church), Jack Collier gave us a fascinating talk about life on his farm and showed us some wool from a Jacob's sheep and two horseshoes, one massive from one of their Suffolk Punches and a much smaller one from a pony. Elva brought in her nervous flyer's certificate proving she had flown and Keith T had all his Star Trek Fan Club stuff in. Sarah F brought items in from her holidays in France and Steven W (and many others) brought in photo albums. Well done to all of those who made it a memorable evening. Special thanks to John C who came with over £250 for Christmas draw tickets which he had sold - absolutely magnificent John!

Monday the 11th turned out to be a general club evening as we couldn't get the Ceroc dancers along! Activities included jigsaws, table games (buzz off etc) as well as the BIG Connect 4, skipping and skittles! Notable performances were seen on the skittles alley - Sarah W and Ian B almost getting strikes and Matthew (and helper Debbie) succeeding to get one. Others taking part included Dick, Matthew, Kevin, Brian etc. John M played Connect4 with his helper and managed well. The buzz off game was very frustrating and no-one did very well at managing to complete it without a lot of buzzes! Others of us took the opportunity to chill and chat to friends!

On Monday 18th we had a Karaoke evening. Well, we couldn't seem to find anyone for hire who would bring a karaoke deck along so the ever-resourceful Lisa and Marie went to Argos and purchased an 'X Factor CDG Karaoke Machine' which was excellent. It cost only a little more than hiring one would have been! Tim and Elva kicked off with a duet to 'Do You Know The Way To San Josť' and 'These Boots Are Made For Walkin'!. After we managed to get everyone back in the room, we carried on with a great evening of laughs and fun. Kevin Legge was (of course) Robbie Williams, Penny Teagle was very good giving us 'Don't Stop Me Now' and Stephen B was very powerful. Steven W and Matthew were very good and almost everyone had a go. We'll be getting this out again soon I'm sure.

After a break for half term we were back on 1st November for our Halloween Disco in the now expert hands of Tom Shoemark. The promise of prizes meant we had a very good turnout in horrific costumes. We witnessed wonderful witches (Penny T, Charmaine P, Sarah W, Sarah F and even Dick P) Winner of best female costume was Emily H as The Devil (very good indeed, went to a lot of trouble) and the runner up was Kira B for being a brilliant witch. In the male category the winner was Kevin L who was a terrifying convict/skeleton/zombie (!) and the runner up Chris R who had made his own witch costume and did a lot of work on it. Best dancer was Jack C, dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow. Others who did very well included Keith T (The Scream), Brian Heath (what was that mask!), Steven W (Aaaargh!) and John C (Freddie Kruger). Helper Marie was excellent as a sort of Dead Dorothy (Wizard of Oz). Well done everyone!

Fireworks on November the 8th! Tim, accompanied by son Doug, exploded £65 quids-worth of Tesco fireworks (buy one get one free) out on the unsurfaced bit of the car park. This was ideal because they used the car boot as a store, until, that is, a particularly explosive munition showered the inside with sparks. Fortunately fireworks are less flammable than petrol but in any event closing the boot between each Roman candle improved safety considerably. Letting off the fireworks a little more than arm's length from the car might be a good idea next time! At least everyone else maintained a safe distance, well apart from when they all had sparklers (the most dangerous of all fireworks) to wave about. Thank you particularly to Kira and Elva who were particularly effusive about the display. When it was all over, we went back in the warm where we were treated to hot Cup-a-Soups all individually made for us, soaked up with bread rolls. Not much happened after that so Tim made up for lost time twisting arms for more draw ticket sellers.

On Monday 15th, Marie and Lisa led us all in a follow-up craft session to the photoshoot at the beginning of the term. Because of the high cost of photoframes members produced their own design in cardboard which proved cheap and very effective. However the cost in their pre-club preparation time and bruised fingers was high! (Have you ever tried cutting large amounts of cardboard with scissors!). The craft activity comprised gluing the back and front sections together with the photo in between and then covering the frame with coloured paper. The photographs were very high quality and there was a choice of individual or various group poses. The results proved (I hope) Lisa's and Marie's efforts well worthwhile and almost everyone went home with one or more frames - even the conversational group from the coffee bar! It was probably the coldest evening on the autumn with roads being gritted and thick patchy fog. Even the school was cold.

It was also quite cold on Monday 22nd (and a bit chilly inside too!) but we soon warmed up with Debbie's and Iain's indoor games session in the hall. They had dreamed up a great selection of events following the warm-up. We had relay running and walking races, a knockout walking race round the hall, a broomstick race (ice hockey without the ice!), shot putt (throwing a softball), skittles, over-and-under with foam sticks (use your imagination!) and rounders. All those who joined in thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the blue team won - Ian B, Jack C, Jemma and Debbie! Red were in 3rd place and yellow in 2nd place. Certificates and chocolate coins were presented to everyone by Lisa. Club Leader Mark gave us all a very useful reminder about what the Club was all about, explaining that none of the helpers, drivers or Committee were paid anything and that all of us were equally valued and we all need to treat everyone with respect. It was a useful reminder to all of us and in particular a few who had been involved in a certain amount of unpleasantness recently. His very inspiring talk was followed by a ceremony we haven't seen for some time: the presentation of The Greenhalgh Award for Achievement within The Fourteen Club. Mark awarded it to Brian Heath who gets to Club before many of us arrive and always gets out all the tables and chairs in the hall for whatever activity we are doing so that everything is ready to go at 7.30pm. Well done Brian, you make a big contribution to the Club. The large engraved trophy stays in the trophy cabinet at the school and Brian received an engraved miniature version to keep.

On 29th November a bit of a failed evening was swiftly rescued by Lisa. The plan was for making mince pies, but the problems with Phase 2 of the building work meant we had no kitchen, so out came our new karaoke machine with a new disc of Christmas carols and songs. Sadly the karaoke machine seemed to have developed a fault whereby the screen wasn't working properly so that the words couldn't be read. The situation was rescued by connecting it to the large wall-mounted screen in the hall which improved things enough for an evening of Christmas music, vocals provided by us. Most had a go and much of the music was so well known, the whole audience (who, of course could see the screen) joined in heartily.

On Monday the 6th December we had our traditional carol concert and made the Christmas Draw. The evening was not quite the usual mince pies and mulled wine celebration because we didn't have any mince pies and mulled wine (building work problems - no kitchen available). However the indefatigable Wantage Silver Band more than made up for it with a feast of Christmas music. We all sang along to carols and popular tunes (including the odd solo from Elva) and Laura Sykes and Kevin Legge took the baton for a couple of numbers. Father Christmas appeared from nowhere for the final piece of music: 'Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer'. Thank you Brian Heath! The Christmas Draw was conducted by Tim, Gary and Barbi and we were all very pleased that Club member John M won the £150 first prize! Subject to final confirmation, it looks like being another record year with a profit of over £900! Well done everyone - a truly brilliant effort.

We finished the term on a high note with a sumptuous festival of food and dance: yes it was Christmas party time! We had a very good disco 'The Starlite Roadshow' with DJ Carl. ( starlightroadshow.moonfruit.com ) We understand Jim and Co weren't available. The music was great and about half way through the food was wheeled out with Christmas crackers. Anne, Jemma, Lisa, Marie and Debbie did a great job making sandwiches, doing the shopping and serving it all out. There was not much left. Near the end, Club leader Mark, ably assisted by Father Christmas (aka Brian Heath - many thanks) dished out presents for everyone. We got the same: a blue elastic wrist band on which could just be made out the legend '14 Club'. They were delivered at 2pm that day and Anne had about three hours to wrap them all beautifully as usual. The low point of the evening involved Garry who had to go out onto the Lambourne downs to pick up members and very unfortunately skidded on ice and ended up off-road through a fence with considerable damage to his car. Fortunately no one was hurt and it was also lucky that Garry is a professional driver who is always very careful and safe, otherwise it might have been much worse.

The Christmas Stall

The Christmas Stall was, as usual, outside the Bear Hotel in Wantage Market Place. Garry, Mark and Tricia assembled the stall from about 7.30am in heavy rain. Tim watched with hands firmly in pockets - he would have just been in the way. The rain eased off after a while but it remained overcast and gradually became colder as the day progressed. Anne Alderson was there for the whole day and we were supported by Debbie and Iain for a couple of hours or so around the middle of the day. Greggs and Costa (comfortingly close to our spot) provided much warming sustenance through the day. Thank you to all our friends who stopped by to say hello and purchase something they didn't really want or had a go on the tombola. The weather put many people off as in 2009 and our take was, somewhat disappointingly, very similar : £163.90 including the tombola. In addition we sold 12 Christmas Draw tickets (£12) and were very pleased to receive a generous donation of £10 from Mr Clarke - Lavinia's dad. Perhaps we should do the stall in June next year?

News of Members/Helpers/Drivers

It was with great sadness that we heard of the death of Club founder member Ken Stickley at the age of 78 years who had been with us at Club until three years ago when he had to go into a nursing home in Banbury. He died in the Horton General Hospital on October 11th and Garry and Tricia Shand, representing the Club, attended his funeral in Faringdon on the 20th October. In a packed church Sjoerd Vogt gave a splendid eulogy which summed up Ken perfectly. Garry said it was a lovely service and a fitting tribute. Ken could be an awkward and cantankerous old chap but he was mostly a kind, polite and honest chap who couldn't do too much for you if you needed his help. He was one of the Club's real characters and greatly missed when he left us. He raised large sums of money year after year for the 14 Club (and other organisations) by selling enormous numbers of Christmas Draw tickets, more almost than the rest of us put together. The people of Faringdon had their arms twisted whenever they went out (and often when they didn't) so thank you to them too!

Committee News

The Committee met on Monday 25th October and many thanks to Lisa for doing the honours and providing tea, coffee, dips and nibbles at her new home in Didcot. We fixed an action packed programme for the spring term in 2011 (Valentines Disco, Easter Craft, Bingo, more Karaoke, seeing lambs being born, and Icknield Way Morris Men amongst others) and finalised arrangements for the rest of the Autumn term, including the Christmas Stall, the Carol Concert and the Grand Christmas Draw.

On the 15th November we heard the very worrying news that ROK, the building contractors doing phase 2 of the school refurbishment (including our new storage room), had gone into administration. At the time of going to press we have little idea what this will mean for us and the school but we hope someone else will be able to complete the project, although clearly the timing will be affected.

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!!

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