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Spring Term 2010 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter

Spring Term Review

Term was supposed to begin on 11th January but some of the heaviest snow in years forced a cancellation and it wasn’t until Monday 18th that we all got together for the first time in 2010. Work on the school seemed to have moved on considerably and we all enjoyed a cooking activity involving making gingerbread people (not just ‘men’ any more you will notice – tch!) which were suitably decorated. We had a visit from Jeanne Humber of OCVA (Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action) who told us all about how our members could volunteer in Wantage doing such things as working in charity shops and offices and lots more. They can choose any amount of time they can spare and find fun, friends, useful experience and get a ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’. We hope to receive more details from Jeanne which will appear on our website.

On Monday 25th January we had our much-loved bingo session. A shortage of helpers meant that we didn’t finish the entire book of six but there were a number of ‘tied’ games which meant all the prizes went and many of us took prizes home. Laura Sykes went home with a teddy for a full house in the first game which was appropriate as it was her 17th birthday! Steven White won the ‘last person standing’ game for being the last person standing to have a number on their card called. Other full house winners were Kira Beaver. Andrew Rowland (painting by numbers), Steven White and John Curtis (love songs CD and a jar of coffee). Line prize winners included Kevin Legge, Penny Teagle, Jack Collier and Ian Bedford. Lavinia Clarke won the other ‘last person standing’ game.

On Monday 1st February we were treated to our annual visit by Icknield Way Morris Men. About 15 of them turned up and provided their usual marvellous entertainment. Every single one of us was in the hall for the whole evening – yes, they were that good! There was music and dancing to traditional tunes. From Bampton we had Highland Mary (aka "The Bampton Sidestep") and from Litchfield there was Jenny Lind and Ring o' Bells (both of these used 2 sticks per man) and then from Adderbury we had Black Joke and from Fieldtown: Balance the Straw, Shepherd's Hey (aka "Signposts") and from Bledington: Skirmish and Young Collins. From Stanton Harcourt we enjoyed Constant Billy, Maid of the Mill (dancing around a "volunteer" which in this case was helper Debbie) and from Upton-on-Severn: The Upton-on-Severn Stick Dance. We finished with Bonny Green Garters (also from Bampton) and everyone joined in. It was a difficult evening for our drivers who heroically turned out on a freezing evening with icy roads everywhere. (What a winter we had, eh?). Our Stanford take-home driver broke down in the car park so Mark, Garry and Tricia (and our heroic driver) were very late getting home because Kevin, Dick and Brian had to be taken home, efforts were made to bump-start the car and when these failed the AA had to be awaited. Tim missed the evening but wouldn’t have been able to help – he would have been half way to Oxford by 9.25pm!

We had another excellent evening on the 8th with Tom Shoemark (assisted by dad Jim) and Electroloom Disco. Two hours of great dancing music for a slightly early Valentines’ Disco. The bad news of the day was that our new storage room to replace our old garage (now demolished) and more recently our temporary steel container, will not now be built until Phase 2 of the building work. This means it will not be ready for about another year. We have just successfully applied to the Oxford Community Foundation for a grant to replace all the equipment lost or damaged in the building work or just generally worn out. We cannot use this money until we have the permanent facility because any new stuff would rapidly deteriorate in our steel box, so things are a bit uncertain at the moment.

After a break for half term, our next meeting was on Monday 22nd February with another of those very successful evenings where everyone was in the hall and stayed there all evening. We started with a brief talk from Hannah Wolstenholme from ‘Mates ‘n’ Dates’ which is a specialist dating and friendship agency for adults with learning disabilities. It has been going for two years and has over 200 members in Oxfordshire. Tim was told he was much too old and his wife wouldn’t like it. We have leaflets available and Hannah and her team will be running a ‘Surprise Evening’ next term. But for most of the evening ‘Juggling John’ kept us entertained with a mixture of magic and circus. We had some amazing juggling and balancing feats and lots of magic and comedy. He even kept going in the coffee bar area in the interval with some close-up magic with playing cards, cups and balls! After the interval we all had a go at his circus tutorial where we tried to learn juggling with balls or silk handkerchiefs (both very difficult) or the slightly easier diabolo or the old favourite: plate-spinning which most of us managed. He was very good indeed and I’m sure we’ll see him again some time. We arrived to find the whole car park had been tarmac-ed and marked out – at last it began to look as though the first phase of the building work was coming to an end!

Not having much luck this term: on Monday 1st March the school was closed owing to a gas leak! Well the news came quite late and many had to be turned round on the way in but some were marooned at school for a short while. Mark, Garry and Tricia did very well to notify so many and whiz round to make sure no one was abandoned when the news came so late. A special and very large ‘thank you’ to our drivers on the rota that evening – they gave service above and beyond the call of duty and managed to get everyone back home quickly and safely. Sorry to all those who were inconvenienced.

No gas leak on Monday the 8th which was lucky because it was another ‘Harwood’s Quiz Night’. MC and questionmistress Helen kept us all entertained for the whole evening with mental and physical competitions. We were organised into three teams as follows. ‘The Wombling Dolphins’ were John C, John M, Chris R, Jack C, Laura S and Keith T ably assisted by Lisa and Marie. ‘Loose Women’ were Molly A, Ian B, Amanda W, Dick P, Kevin L and Lavinia C assisted by Iain and Tim and ‘Blue Peter’ were BrianH, Sarah F, Penny T, Sarah W, Steven W, and Kira B assisted by Deb. Round 1 was general knowledge questions with multiple choice answers including such stumpers as ‘Which TV soap has a dog called Roly?’ (Eastenders) and ‘Which of the seven dwarves wore glasses?’ (Doc). We then had a floor game which involved throwing quoits into hula hoops lying on the floor. After the break, we had another round of Wantage and Grove local knowledge questions which was very difficult: do you know the name of Jemma’s cat and dog? Or could you name all the pubs, cafés and restaurants in Wantage and Grove? Well it was nip and tuck all the way but after a another deciding quoit and hoop round The Wombling Dolphins came first with 502 points followed by Loose Women with 486 and Blue Peter with 426. Ian Bedford won a special mention for his enthusiasm, Kira was really good on her knowledge of Grove and Jack was brilliant on the quoits!

On Monday 15th March we had another very welcome visit from Cornucopia the Appalachian clog dancing group. Under the leadership of Jim Wells, they turned up with about a dozen mostly female clog dancers and a band comprising three violins, a banjo and a guitar. So as you can imagine we were immediately transported to North America. They were as brilliant as usual performing a variety of dances (they brought their own floor!) to a variety of tunes in the first half including ‘June Apple’, ‘Liberty’, Cherokee Shuffle and many more whose names I didn’t quite catch. They also briefly moved across the pond and did a clog dance from the north of England (different shoes for that one!). In another dance they used crossed brooms like a Highland sword dance and in another they danced unaccompanied so we just had that great sound of the clogs. Elva got very excited! It was explained that the steel taps on the soles and heels of their shoes are worn loosened to make a louder noise. After the break the atmosphere changed because we had half an hour of barn dancing which we all joined in – Kira took a bit of persuading but once we started, she loved it. It was a great evening once again and lots of fun for everyone.

Monday the 22nd was a general club evening (GCE) which involved small games and jigsaws in the hall and pool in the coffee bar. The coffee bar area looked fantastic having been cleared of all the exercise machines (now in the old music room) and newly carpeted. This area will soon be the new library and so our pool table now has to be put away each week – it’s quite heavy and there isn’t much room in the metal box, so that’ll knock that on the head then! Let’s hope not.

Twenty-six members turned up for the final meeting of term on Monday 29th March when the main activity of the evening was once again organised by the Harwoods. This time it was the traditional Easter craft activity which involved making Easter cards. Most of us made at least one card, and some made several. Tim got one from Kira – many thanks, you can drop the chocolate egg off at my house! The cards involved gluing Easter shapes onto coloured cards and writing messages with a blobby glitter pen – they looked very good indeed. Some of us sat round the table in the coffee bar just chatting. There was obviously an end-of-term atmosphere as everything was cleared away and everyone was standing round with their coats on by 9.15pm!

29th March Craft Evening 29th March Craft Evening
29th March Craft Evening the coffee bar and those having a go in the hall.

News of Members/Helpers/Drivers

John Curtis brought in a copy of the Faringdon Folly which had a photo of him with the team in a Boxing Day Over 30s vs Under 30s football match for Faringdon Town FC. Johnny Curtis (as the paper described him) was in goal for the over 30s and apparently made a big contribution to their 8-7 victory. Well done Johnny!

All of us have to say a very special ‘thank you’ to Brian Heath who gets to Club before most of us and always gets all the chairs and tables out just about every week. Whether it’s an entertainer, or bingo or just small games, he does the lot, including the coffee bar tables and chairs. We are enormously grateful, Brian, and you make sure that we are ready to go at 7.30pm. All we need to do now is get all the helpers in by then and we’ll be really laughing!

We were thrilled to collect a donation of £300 from Challow Afternoon Club which had been through Vic Roots who is Chris’s Dad and a driver for the Club. Tim collected the cheque and was very well entertained for the afternoon with tea, biscuits and a game of ‘Beetle’! Thank you to everyone at Challow Afternoon Club, especially Vic Roots, for a very generous donation.

Committee News

The committee met on 15th February at Helen and Andrew’s place, although Helen fell asleep whilst putting Lois to bed and didn’t make it! We discussed the delay in our equipment store and the possible loss of our new equipment grant as a result. We were very pleased that we had recruited four excellent new helpers in the shape of Iain and Debbie, Marie and Lisa who were proving a great help. We planned an exciting programme of events for the summer term but the rest was basically boring admin stuff.

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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