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Summer Term 2008 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter (No. 77)

Summer Term Review

Alert! Alert!

The Club is desperately short of drivers again. Our drivers perform a terrific service for the Club without which, quite simply, the Club would not exist. We are enormously grateful to each and every one of them for reliably turning out in all weathers to bring members to Club or take them back home. Every so often, for various reasons, some of this valiant band move on and we are currently experiencing a critical shortage. If anyone reading this feels they could give up an hour or so each month for this vital service or if they know anyone whose arm they could twist a little, please let Garry Shand know (01235-764222). Thank you!

Summer Term Review

Term began on Monday 21st April 2008 with a fairly relaxed general club evening (GCE). There was a great deal of activity in the coffee bar however (pool, chatting, coffee etc) and Club leader Mark was left to cope all on his own for half an hour or so whilst the rest of us convened in the library for our annual general meeting. (see Committee News below). Tim had struggled to find a decent film for the filmshow in the hall which we hoped would have kept everyone occupied for a bit but his home DVD collection is getting short on suitable films which run for less than two hours. On this occasion he failed and the continuous showing of Tom & Jerry cartoons didn’t exactly hold the attention of everyone. Thank you Carla and Keith for sitting there until 9pm - but how much of it do you remember?! Well after the meeting Tim changed the DVD to one of his Club ones and as soon as the visit to Beale Park and Wantage Museum began, the hall was filled to capacity (-ish).

Monday 28th Jemma put on a very good quiz for us all. She had clearly put in a great deal of effort on the printed question and answer sheets and as a result a super evening was had by all. We had three teams in the hall: The Jackson 5 comprising Keith and Carla, Penny, Kevin, Brian H and Steven B; Shamrock comprising John M, Amanda, Dick, John C, Lavinia, Ian B, and Sarah W; Coronation Street with Sarah F, Nick S, Chris, Pearl and Kira. We had music rounds where we had to identify TV theme tunes, general knowledge rounds, picture rounds where we had to identify cartoon characters, national flags, logos, celebrities and Mr Men characters and a memory game with item on a tray to remember (very difficult.). There were nine rounds in all. It was a closely fought evening but in the end the winners were Coronation Street with 129 points, followed by Shamrock with 125 and then Jackson 5 with 106. Particular star of the evening was Sarah Fearnley in Coronation Street team who was easily able to get most of the answers.

After a break for the Mayday Bank Holiday, we were back on Monday 12th May for a GCE which included one of Sabine’s cookery classes. This time it was vegetable muffins, which looked and smelt delicious, but sadly, although your reporter hung around in the kitchen for some time, a sample was not offered for tasting. There was all the usual stuff for the amusement of those who didn’t fancy chatting in the coffee bar. Sarah W, Ian B, Penny T, Keith T and others played with small games in the hall including ‘Magnetix’, ‘Kerplunk!’, ‘Frustration’ and that laser shooting game which kept Kevin L amused for minutes. By coincidence, Kevin came dressed as Indiana Jones with all the right clothes but, fortunately, no whip! There was also a game of pool in the coffee bar. Kira brought along a guest, Paddy, who apparently was her latest boyfriend!

Monday 19th May was our termly bingo session. It was a little unfortunate that a fairly high turnout of members (33) was matched with a fairly low turnout of helpers, because some of us aren’t too good with numbers and need help. Sabine’s husband Mark very kindly gave up his evening to help and we were also lucky that a few stayed in the coffee bar chatting and playing pool. The evening started with Penny T announcing that she would become an auntie in December - how lovely! Well we managed six games and a stand-up-sit-down game which was won jointly by Kira B, Kevin L and the two Ians. Winners of full house prizes were Steven B and Kevin L who went off with a six-pack of Pepsi each, John M who won a craft set, Chris R (tea bags), Ian B (a jar of coffee), Brian H (March of the Penguins DVD) and Andrew R (a sunflower-growing kit).

After another break for the bank holiday formerly known as Whit Monday, we were entertained on Monday 2nd June at Grove Rugby Club by some of the Club members. It was a dark, wet evening but it didn’t matter too much - there was plenty to do inside but we felt a bit sorry for the rugby club members outside trying to keep everything dry on the barbecue which we all enjoyed later. Everyone had a ticket for a free drink at the bar - it was perhaps a little unfortunate that almost everyone had brought loads of spare cash to buy extra and we did our best to ensure that members didn’t throw up in the cars or arrive home somewhat ‘ammered. Sabine took the register along to Grove which meant we took a pound off everyone, but it may not have been enough in some cases! There were a couple of raffles and Vera came equipped with a quiz for which each table had to put down a list of girls then boys names, each one starting with a different letter of the alphabet. Most teams managed 26 of each but points were scored if your teams name was unique. The darts competition had to be stopped when health & safety jobsworth Tim realised that the throw was directly across the main route from the door to the seating area! In spite of that we all had a great time and many thanks to Grove Rugby Club for a lovely evening.

June 9th was a GCE with pool in the coffee bar and small games in the hall and, because it was a lovely summer’s evening, many of us were outside in the courtyard sitting and chatting in the sunshine. The only real physical activity involved trying to score baskets with those scary, big, heavy basket balls. Highlight of the evening was when Sabine went home and came back with Josh, her beautiful eight-year-old golden Labrador who was very friendly except when Stephen shouted at him and made him cower on the ground!

Monday June 16th was our annual treasure hunt, as usual well organised and executed by Andrew H. This time we had a shorter list of 10 questions, answers to which were to be found in the area bounded by Denchworth Road, Mably Way and Grove Road. However we also had 18 photographs to identify along the way. Questions included such as ‘Stand on the bridge in the Willow Walk Nature Reserve. How many benches can you see?’ (Answer: 3) and ‘What do they have in the garden of 4 Witan Way that might be useful if it rains a lot?’ (Answer: A boat). Photos to identify included a large blue container in Willow Walk, an RAF roundel on the jet on the roundabout and the Royal Mail post box at the corner of Blackcroft. We went round in three teams - the team led by Barbi and Tim (The Barbi Bunch!) were accused of cheating because they picked up a small boy on the way round who knew the area like the back of his hand and found lots of things. Even with this help they didn’t win! Mark’s team and Garry’s team both won, getting everything right!

On Monday 23rd , chief reporter Pocock had the cheek to take a holiday and everyone else couldn’t remember what happened, so this particular paragraph is necessarily short on facts. What follows is copied from the 2006 summer term issue with the cost of the round updated and some specifics deleted. Andy, Anne and son Lee Chalmers were our hosts down at The Lamb in Mill Street for the annual ‘pubnic’. Our long human ‘crocodile’ meandered down to the pub, everyone having given their drinks orders to Mark before we left. Our beloved leader Mark then raced ahead of us to get to the bar first and get the massive round under way. This was the first time in recorded history that Mark had got to the bar first but he was OK because this time the Club was paying for the first drink for everyone. (The round came to £103). We arrived safely and all settled down on the picnic tables in the garden under the covered area. Eventually everyone managed to get the right drink and then Andy and Lee struggled out with burgers, rolls, ketchup and fried onions for everyone which they very generously provided free of charge - as usual. Well, we had a bit of a chat and a laugh and all too soon it was time to stagger back to Fitzwaryn where we all arrived safely at just after 9pm.

June 30th was a GCE with a colouring and laminating session in the hall. Everyone produced great pictures or signs which Sabine then laminated on her special machine. There was pool in the coffee bar, but we were short on helpers and for various reasons a few bits of the driving rota went a bit awry. This meant that some of the helpers actually there had to go out and collect members which made us even shorter, so it was not possible to get too many activities under way.

Monday 7th July was another GCE with the usual pool league in the coffee bar and a multitude of small games in the hall. Particularly popular were jigsaw puzzles with Kathy, Patrick, Sarah W and Kira showing their expertise.

Monday the 14th was another mixed GCE. In spite of the dull weather, Brian B, Sarah W, Brian H, Mandy W, Andrew L and John C (who said he had a great time!) were out on the field with Anne playing rounders. Jo H turned up with camera and took a group photo of everyone at Club, well apart from Dick who was a little late back from swimming and for some reason Elva and Andrew R who didn’t want to be in it. There was pool in the coffee bar and colouring, small games and jigsaws in the hall which occupied Ian B, Kathy W, Andrew R, Sarah F, Dick P (when he got there), Lavinia and Nick S amongst others.

Term closed traditionally with the outdoor disco and barbecue, music as usual courtesy of Electroom Disco. Jim Shoemark handed over the entire evening to one of his sons (sorry can’t remember his name!) but his music selection was as good as his Dad’s! The weather was kind and Garry was kept busy with the burgers and everyone had more than enough. We were please to welcome a possible new member Jennifer T with her dad who both stayed for the whole evening and Rachel who stayed for almost as long.

Summer Outing

This year’s summer outing was a quick half-day jolly down the road to Lechlade. It may have been a short day out, but it was nevertheless one of our most enjoyed outings for many a year with universal praise from those who went. Yes, we went to a small field just next to The Trout pub to see ... Gifford’s Circus! This year’s theme was ‘Caravan’ and it was a genuinely stunning show with some unbelievable spectacular acts which could be thoroughly enjoyed by all ages. (Don’t miss it if you get the chance!). The first act was a tightrope walker who did the most amazing balancing acts and stunts whilst poised ten feet above the circus ring, but this was just for starters. It was followed by acts involving horses and falconry, a shire horse and then acrobats hanging from the roof of the tent with long swags of fabric (you know the sort of thing). But for your reporter on the scene, the most spectacular act came just before the interval. This was a group of Hungarian acrobats who threw and spun each other around and up the air in the most amazing manner. You would have to see it to believe it!

The second half was a little more sedate but a wonderful spectacle nonetheless - this basically seemed to involve a traditional Hungarian Romany wedding with fantastic colours and action. It ended with everyone being invited into the ring to join in the dancing and celebrations. Guess who was first down from The 14 Club - yes Elva! She was soon joined by the others though. Other members who came along on the day were Kira, Nick, Chris, both Johns, both Stevens, both Sarahs, Andrew R, Penny, Kevin, Christie, Patrick, Dick, Brian B, Charmaine, Kathy and Anthony. Organisation was a lot of work and worry for Committee member Anne Alderson but I’m sure she must think it was worth it for the enthusiastic praise from everyone.

Committee News

We had our 35th AGM at Club on 21st April. The only shocks were Tricia’s retirement from the Committee (we think she is not giving up Club altogether!) and Jemma yielding her key role as secretary to Sabine. Thank you both for your unstinting service to the Club! For the 31st year in succession, Tim failed to yield his role as treasurer to anyone. Your new Committee is as follows: Mark C (Club leader), Garry S (Chairman and Transport Officer), Sabine W (Secretary), Tim P (Treasurer), Jemma H, Andrew H, Helen H, Vera H, Jan C (Parent Member) and Julie F.

Our summer committee meeting on Monday 28th July was held in the lovely surroundings of King’s Cottage, Kingston Lisle where Anne and Mike A were our hosts. It was a hot, wet and thundery evening, but sitting at a table in the conservatory and looking out on the garden, we all felt fairly pampered. Mike and Anne’s hospitality was, as usual, luxurious with wines, canapés, dips, coffee and biscuits. Thank you both! We were very pleased to welcome Fitzwaryn School head teacher Barbara Harker whose contributions were useful. Barbara hopes to join our meetings at least once a year in future. The meeting discussed (amongst other things) the autumn term programme (not much innovation here, although we plan to make one of the evenings an open evening with local dignitaries invited), the Christmas draw (same as usual), the Christmas stall, health and safety issues, and the critical shortage of drivers which we will be experiencing from the autumn term and beyond. We also discussed the correctness of ‘learning difficulties’ in the Club’s publications and titling and decided that in line with the realities of the situation and current thinking in the field ‘learning disabilities’ would be more appropriate and correct. It would also avoid the problem of the public underestimating the problems of many of our members and their families.

News Of Members/Helpers/Drivers

Congratulations to Graham and Julie F on the birth of another daughter Lydia Rose on 10th April 2008, a sister for Amy. Come back soon Julie - we miss you!

How Can I Help?

As usual, by selling Christmas draw tickets please! See Tim at Club or return the form below. Thanks!

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!


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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