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Spring Term 2007 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter (No. 73)

Spring Term Review

Term began on Monday 8th January 2007 with a general club evening (GCE) and everyone going on about how wonderful their Christmasses had been and what presents they’d had.  So it was a fairly relaxed evening with most of us sitting around and chatting in the coffee bar area. Norman Singleton spent about half an hour trying to tune the radio in to a footie match but with the radio at full volume. A few of the more energetic (John Curtis, Jeremy Payne & Co) played pool and about 15 were in the hall watching the latest Walt Disney/Pixar presentation of ‘Cars’ - one of the big animation smash hits of 2006. We were pleased to welcome new helper Henry Penfold who came along to do the Community Service bit of his Duke of Edinburgh Award. Hope you’ll stick with us Henry! (Still with us at the end of term – great stuff)

On Monday 15th January we were very pleased to welcome back to Club dear old Ken Stickley. We have missed Ken for quite a while owing to a transport problem, but the excellent fellows from Faringdon Rotary Club (who have managed the Faringdon run for many years) have come to the rescue.  From now on they will bring in and take home the entire Faringdon contingent.  A very big ‘thank you’ from Ken and all of us for taking this on.  Well what did we do all evening?  We had an evening of bingo!  The usual rubbish chat and calling from Pocock and quite a lot of us going home with prizes.  Winners of the full houses were Keith Tollitt (prize: a snowman), Bryn Morris (a crate of Pepsi Max drinks), Sarah Walford (Thermos flask), Sarah Fearnley (16-piece cutlery set)and John Curtis who won two consecutive full houses (Summer Dance CDs and a jar of coffee).  We had lots of winners of the line prizes including Brian Heath, Julia Singleton, Ken Stickley, Kira, Andrew Rowland and Nick Stanton (needed a carrier bag!).  After the second game we had a stand-up-sit-down game where the winner is the last person to get a number called and this was won by Ian Bedford (Men In Black II DVD) with runner up Molly Arthur.

On Monday 22nd we had our annual visit from Icknield Way Morris Men who put on another excellent show for us.  Led by squire Martin Foster and frequently interfered with by the fool Jim Birch they danced their way through their repertoire with sticks clashing and hankies waving furiously.  Amongst many others, we watched and heard ‘Washing Day’ (from Adderbury), ‘Ring of Bells’ and ‘Jenny Lind’ (from Litchfield), ‘Greensleeves’ (from Stanton Harcourt), ‘Long Willy’ (oh dear!) and ‘The Quaker’ from Bampton.  For some reason they picked on helper Jemma for total humiliation in one dance where they danced round her jangling their bells menacingly and finished by hoisting her up in the air.  (they obviously worked out that she was by far the lightest of everyone there!).  We all joined in for the final dance which was complete chaos but fortunately there were no serious injuries.

On Monday 29th January it was Julie’s and Helen’s Surprise Evening.  This is just a subtle way at the committee meeting of saying we can’t think of what to do on this evening but by the time we get there Helen and Julie will have to have thought of something.  Sometimes it means the evening will be so ghastly that we don’t want to put people off coming.  Well, this time it was quite OK – a mixture of questions and a couple of relay races involving bean bags and ball passing.  We were split into two teams (well apart from the pool players and chatterers) named the Valentines (thanks Elva) and The A Team (there’s a novelty!).  In the first half the members of each team had to write on slips of paper the answers to some personal questions eg ‘What’s the most unusual thing you have eaten?’, ‘Who is the most famous person you have met?’ and ‘What’s the most unusual place you have ever visited?’.  These were then put to the opposing team who had to guess who the person was.  Of course, this caused problems: it was difficult to stop the person answering their own question.  So, ‘Who has met the mayor of Faringdon?’ was immediately answered by Ken himself!  No one guessed that Tim had once had his photo in Playboy modelling sweaters or that the most unusual food eaten by Anthony Weedon was baked beans or that Bryn owned a globe. Etc. After the break we all had to make lists of things (food, drinks, places) against the clock.  Eventual winners were Amanda, Kevin, both Sarahs, Vera, Anthony, Louise, Dick, Steven, John and Co aka the A Team by 119 points to 112. 

Monday the 5th February was a gentle GCE.  There were small games in the hall: Tim, Sarah Walford and Lavinia played two games of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ and two games of ‘Frustration’. Sarah won them all! But Lavinia came a close second though. Tim also ran.  There was pool in the coffee bar, but the usual chattering table must have run out of conversation because they all voted to do colouring.  We had another visit from Bill Greenhalgh, the son of the Club’s founder Len, who was home on leave from Nigeria.

After the break for half term, we were back on 19th February for a slightly late Valentines’ Disco. Jim Shoemark and sons entertained us once again with Electroloom Disco and this time one of his lads was actually let loose to drive the equipment!  These events are always very popular and we broke the record again with 39 members turning up.  Ken Stickley was given his own private performance (on video) of Oklahoma and was very happy about that – he’s not too fond of discos!  The music was excellent as usual and most of us burned up hundreds of calories.  For the first time ever, Tim P was asked for a dance – Elva phoned him up earlier in the evening at home to ask!  Thanks Elva, it was great.

On Monday 26th Sabine led a craft activity which had a number of options.  We had tracing and colouring in, or just colouring in and jam jar decorating. The tables were covered with a whole range of different stickers including jewels, sparkly ones, animals, insects, flowers and shapes of all sizes and colours. These were peeled off and stuck artistically onto screwtop jars. These could subsequently be used for all sorts of things. Elva, who decided the stickers would look good on the inside as well, planned to use hers to keep her earrings in. Most went home with something, but it didn’t suit everyone: Norman shut himself away and watched a Kraftwerk concert on DVD in the music room – a most inappropriate place I would have thought!  We also brought out for the first time our new indoor bowling rink which had been previously used and then donated to us by Challow and Childrey Cricket Club (Thank you very much, it went down well!). The rink was unrolled and it stretched the entire length of the school hall.  It was augmented by woodwork beautifully made and painted by Garry Shand.  We had also been given several sets of balls. A number of us had a go and it took a while to get the feel of the balls but Caroline Burson did best (she plays for a local team!)

On 5th March Andrew Harwood produced another great miscellany of games and quizzes which kept many of us occupied for the whole evening.  As usual we formed ourselves into two teams of members and helpers and named ourselves ‘The Wantage Wonders’ which included such luminaries as Tricia S, Nick S, Ian B, Sabine W, Kira, Vera H, Kathy W . sorry I didn’t write them down and now I’ve forgotten and ‘The Woodpeckers’ which comprised Keith T, Carla M, Molly A, Pearl M, TimP, John M, Steven W, Jemma H, Bryn M, and Kevin L.  We were very pleased to welcome new helper Tracy Ingham who is an English teacher at John Mason School. She played for the Wonders. The first round was ten general knowledge questions which finished with naming as many rivers as we could think of in two minutes.  Both teams scored exactly the same!  Round two was a memory game - 18 objects on a table uncovered for about one minute. Both teams remembered 15!  Round three was ‘The Price is Right’ based on a Co-op shop which Andrew had done on his way in.  After several items had been guessed we went into the break at 72 – 72.  After the break most of the games involved naming as many types of pasta as we could, then types of fruit, then cakes. Following much head-scratching and crossing out, Andrew announced the final scores as 127 – 127 – a dead heat!  Er .. I’m sure you were right Andrew!  All members who took part got to pick an item from Andrew’s Co-op shopping trip.

On Monday 12th March we were very pleased to welcome Barry Hopkins aka ‘Uncle Wiggy’ (for obvious reasons!)  He kept us all in fits for about 45 minutes with a variety of jokes, magic, audience participation and balloon modelling. Kira Beaver, Carla Mayall and Steven White acted as his assistants for the evening. Kira had a very long spell in front of the audience with silk scarves, magic wands and magically-changing coloured pictures – she performed brilliantly!  After he finished, we got the indoor bowling green out again and others got down to some intensive colouring.

Well, we’ve done really well for entertainment this term because on Monday 19th March it was another 14 Club première, this time for ‘Cornucopia’.  They are a local group of dancers and musicians who perform Appalachian Step Clogging and British Clog Dancing to traditional American and Anglo-Celtic folk music played on acoustic instruments.  The band comprised two fiddle-players, two guitarists, a banjo-player and a tea-chest base player – all men.  These were augmented by eight clog dancers who were all women. They even brought along their own special floor! The first half was a stunning variety of music and clog-dancing including some of the ‘River Dance’ type.  Everyone was thrilled – it was really great.  The second half was even more fun.  They also do barn dances and that’s what they gave us.  We did a couple of fairly simple dances but even these proved tricky for some. As you can imagine the results could best be described as hilarious chaos! It was a memorable evening which, rarely, got every member in the hall for the whole time!

Our final meeting of the term was on Monday 26th March 2007 when Sabine led an Easter craft activity in the hall.  Most of us decorated paper plates with a coloured drawing in the middle and a vast array of Easter stickers round the rest of each plate. All the eggs, chicks, bunnies and ribbons looked terrific. Jeremy, John C et al played snooker in the coffee where the rest of us sat and chatted. Tim put on a DVD which he had just made from all of his old 14 Club tapes so we all enjoyed (?) being reminded of what we looked like up to 17 years ago! We watched trips to Chessington and West Midlands Safari Park and a whole range of club evenings right up to earlier this year. Everyone wanted copies so that’s something we’ll have to look at when we find someone with a DVD writer on their computer and the time to do it!

BINGO NIGHT MAKES £325!

On Friday 9th March the whole committee got together and put on another fund-raising public bingo session at Fitzwaryn School, courtesy of school head Barbara Harker. The whole thing was pulled together and most of the work for it done by Tricia Shand with husband Garry.  The school hall was full for eight games of bingo and two flyers with an interval for refreshments at half time. The refreshments, by the way, were excellent, so many thanks to Sabine, with her team Vera, Jan, Anne and Helen for all their hard work on the night and for all the baking beforehand. Tim was caller and Tricia, Mark and Garry sold bingo and raffle tickets and helped to check winning cards in the hall.  When we added it all up we had made £325 profit – our best year since we began doing these bingo nights three years ago.

Committee News

The Committee met on 12th February 2007 at The Harwoods’ place in Grove.  Amongst many other things we reported on generous donations from Faringdon Rotary and 41 Clubs and the St Giles Lodge of the Freemasons and all the recent club events and fund-raising efforts.  We discussed the potential next recipients of The Greenhalgh Award for Achievement within the Club and the summer outing which is looking like Beale Park near Reading in June or July. We planned out the programme for the summer term which is a lot of the usual stuff including bingo, craft, a treasure hunt, a musical evening, rounders, barbecue and disco and visits to Grove RFC, The Lamb in Wantage and additionally Wantage Police Station.  Jemma is sorting out a new club flyer and Andrew is going to update the club website.  Tim now has a 20 minute talk about the Club with DVD that he can give to local organisations who might be interested. Have a word if you think you might be interested.  He’s not very good but he tries hard.  We decided that the Club’s AGM would be at Fitzwaryn School on the first Club evening of the summer term, Monday 16th April. You are all welcome.

Red Riding Hood Found in Hanney

On Sunday 4th February a couple of dozen members and helpers went to see the Hanney Drama Group’s production of Red Riding Hood – or rather we went to the dress rehearsal which, apart from a few prompts and a restart of one of the songs, was even better than the real thing which was presented on the following Thursday – Saturday.  Well they let us in for free didn’t they - so the whole thing was well worth the admission price!  Actually it was a splendid pantomime with a cast of 34 plus a similar number behind the scenes and apart from Red Riding Hood herself they managed to include Robin Hood and his Merry Men, witches and fairies and Simple Simon.  There were more songs in it than the Newcastle auditions for ‘X Factor’ and Red Riding Hood herself would have been good enough to get through to the final!  It was a bit of a PC pantomime – the wolf (who looked hideous and in real life lives next door to Mark and Barbi!) didn’t eat Red Riding Hood or Grandma although it was a little disturbing to hear him singing ‘Thank Heaven For Little Girls’ – but it did finally explain why he had a French accent. Grandma ended up looking after the wolf because he was ‘defenceless and all mixed-up’.  Keith Tollit said it was ‘Good’, Sarah Fearnley ‘Couldn’t stop laughing’, Caroline Burson said it was ‘very good, brilliant’ and several people said ‘Gosh three hours is a bit long for a pantomime!’.  Kevin Legg admitted he ‘liked the ladies best’, Ken Stickley said ‘it was better than a real pantomime’ (Yes Ken, see above!) and Kira said ‘Sorry I forgot all about it’. Don’t worry Kira, we got there just in time!

News of Members/Helpers

We were very sorry to hear of the death of 14 Club member Chris Pierce.  Chris was a founder member of the Club having joined on the 26th February 1973.  He had to leave in February 2005 when his mum died and he went to live in the Midlands with his sister and her family. He was therefore a regular attender for over 30 years and was one of the only members to win The Greenhalgh Award for Achievement within the Fourteen Club twice.  He made a great contribution and was an example to us all. He was 47 when he died. Our condolences go from all of us to his family.

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.

 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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