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Summer Term 2011 - The Fourteen Club Newsletter

Summer Term Review

Term began on Monday 9th May with not a great deal going on. It was a general club evening (GCE) and Tim brought in the traditional start-of-term DVD from the family collection - the great Toy Story 3, said by many to be the best of the three. Sadly the ‘many’ didn’'t include the Fourteen Club. Ian Bedford and Sarah Walford enjoyed it and by the end of the evening the audience had increased to five. Most seemed just to want to chat. Some of us adjourned to the old library for the Club'’s AGM (see below).

Bingo on 16th May didn'’t exactly run as smoothly as usual: Andrew got his dates mixed up and didn't buy the prizes! However thanks to the quick thinking of Barbie, she went to her store of weekly raffle prizes (most of which are left-over bingo prizes) and managed to produce a large number of quite exciting prizes! Tim augmented the prizes with a couple of fivers from the kitty and Kevin Legge brought his usual carrier bag full of goodies which were particularly gratefully received! All was well until the second half when Tim’s voice gradually disappeared - to the long-awaited relief of many. Anyway this other problem was rapidly solved when helper Debbie stepped into the breach and made a more than able replacement. Anyway winners of the main prizes were Kevin Legge who won a shirt and some high visibility stickers, Emily and Linda who both won various smellies, Molly a handbag and Andrew Rowland who won a fiver. In the last game of the evening the full house prize was shared by Patrick, Chris and Penny - £2 each! Line prizes were won by Laura, Molly, Sarah F, Kira, John M, Andrew and Darren.

On 23rd May we greatly enjoyed another visit from Cornucopia who were their usual jolly and energetic selves. The dancers did displays of tap and clog dancing to a number of dances, including Circle Dance, Ladies Dance, Fowl Play, Cherokee Shuffle and June Apple. The men played various instruments, including the violin, banjo etc. After their well-earned break, most members joined in the next 2 dances - Four Round Four and Clopton Bridge. Finally, everyone, including the helpers joined in for the Circassian Circle, which was great fun and all the ladies seemed remarkably in step (the men weren'’t too bad either)! It was a great night as usual.

School closed for the late-May Bank Holiday (that was the one we used to call Whit Monday Bank Holiday wasn'’t it?), so we were back on Monday 6th June for a super quiz organised by Pam Evans. She had put a lot of work into it. There were twelve multiple choice picture questions in the first section and then 100 questions in section two. Both sections required written answers and all helpers were warned only to assist with the writing and definitely not help with the answers! It was more like an exam than a quiz!! Anyway we broke into four teams: Snowdrop (Elva, Ian B, Linda, Emily, Sarah W with Debbie helping), A Team (Amanda, John C, Brian H, Dick, Chris with Michael and Anne helping), The X Factor (Stephen, Kevin, Penny, Sarah F with Lisa helping) and Dreamworks (Jack, Darren, Patrick with Louise and Iain helping). Well, your reporter trawled through all the scripts to find some funny examples of wrong answers but unfortunately for the humorous content of this news sheet (ah, those were the days!) there was none. There was a team who thought dandelions were white and someone thought Mary Queen of Scots was killed in the blitz but apart from that everyone did incredibly well and we obviously have some clever people at Club. The difference in scores is probably down to the speed of writing of the helpers involved! Just taking the scores for the mega round two, The A Team came fourth with 44/100, Dreamworks third with 76/100, Snowdrop 2nd with 81/100 and the winners were X Factor with 87/100. Well done them and well done everyone!

On Monday 13th we had a very original and most successful craft night which was run by Iain Norburn - an engineer by profession, and keen to do something different with the members! It was fantastic! We all made buzzer games - the one with the bendy wire where you have to move the ring along the wire without touching, so it DIDN’T buzz! This went really well and the members had a great time constructing the kits, with batteries, buzzers, wire etc but of course were too keen to buzz as much as possible! It was one of the noisiest evenings anyone could remember apart from the time when Club Leader Mark decided to ban sweets and crisps from the coffee bar! Once constructed, the kits were then decorated using felt pens and we had some lovely finished games. Most members joined in the fun, and at the end a competition was held to see who could do it longest without buzzing - Chris Roots and Sarah Walford were the best with the most steady hands! Thanks to Iain for this excellent activity, and also to Michael and the other helpers for ensuring the games all worked and were constructed safely. Special thanks to Garry for supplying the wire and helping us to keep the cost down! At the end of the evening we wished Chris Roots a happy 34th birthday in the usual fashion and the Bournemouth trip letters were handed out to all.

Monday the 20th was billed as a GCE. Tim and Anne checked the printed programme and appeared to be responsible for the evening although neither could remember being actioned at the Committee meeting. But it turned out OK. There were small games in the hall including ‘Bowl ‘em Over’, ‘Magnetix’, ‘Kerplunk’ and ‘Screwball Scramble’. Darren and Iain had great fun with ‘Butt Head’ (helmet with Velcro, felt ball, catch it on your head). Anne brought the Wii machine along but discovered a vital component was missing - turns out one of her dogs had hidden it under the sofa at home! The situation was rescued once again by a showing of one of the Club’s own DVDs showing outings and Club evenings from 1991 to 2007. This was enjoyed by a large crowd in the coffee bar. It was great to see how young some of us were in those days and to see old faces no longer with us.

On the 27th, we all walked from Fitzwaryn down to The Lamb public house in Wantage for the annual ‘pubnic’ where we were treated to burgers and hot dogs by the landlord and staff. Yes they provided the food free of charge as they do every year. A big ‘thank you’! It was a balmy summer’s evening and perfect for sitting in the garden and enjoying a drink on the Club and free food. Club leader Mark’s high point of the evening was walking Mollie home and we learned that Helen Harwood’s mum lives next door to the pub.

July 4th was the treasure hunt organised once again by Andrew Harwood. I'm sure it was the usual exciting, action-packed and challenging evening but sadly no one felt they could remember enough about it or even be bothered to send me a paragraph on it. Your reporter, almost always on the spot, had a very rare absence from Club that evening. He could have just copied last year’s account into this edition, but that'’s how most of the rest of the newsletter was done so it didn'’t seem right somehow. Apologies!

July 11th was a sunny summers evening and perfect for the scheduled outdoor games. Under the Captaincy of Anne Alderson the first half of the evening was an excellent session of rounders. Everyone put in a great performance and even John Morton got round! After a break for drinks we resumed with a very energetic basketball game. You would be surprised at how fast some of the helpers can move. Anne, Debbie, Iain, Michael and Andrew gave DickP, Patrick D, Sarah W, Laura S, John C and Chris R a real run for their money.

We finished for the summer on July 18th with an exciting and then a disappointing variation on the usual theme. It was our end of term barbecue and disco! Clare Collier, Jack’s mum and parent member on the committee, generously hosted the event in the barn at the family farm. It was a great venue and the sounds of Electroloom Disco echoed across the fields. However the barbecue ended up being crisps and sausage rolls. How did this happen? Our fault. Our beautiful new barbecue, donated by the Wantage Fire Service, remained locked in our metal box in the school car park. Clare had even offered to transport it across to the farm. But none of us had the time to arrange for a gas cylinder. Anyway, the venue more than made up for it and a good time was had by all!

Summer Outing

The Club’s summer outing was on Saturday July 2nd and it was just the day for a trip to Bournemouth - so that’'s what we did! Overall, it was an excellent day, with perfect sunshine and not a cloud in the sky. All went smoothly with the coach and all the other arrangements and 18 members, ten helpers and three children thoroughly enjoyed the entire day. The full group started off in the Oceanarium then split into smaller groups.

Debbie, Pam and Bernie had the largest group, of nine - Kira and all her crowd. They reported that after the aquarium, where they saw giant turtles, sharks, pirhanas, octopus, otters etc, they headed to the park and enjoyed a picnic. They then returned to the beach, where Sarah Walford, Chris Roots, Kevin, Brian and Kira got in the sea and swam! They really made the most of being at the seaside! They then wandered up the beach front so the group could buy souvenirs and ice creams!

Iain and Mike had mainly the men in their group - Dick, Andrew, John Curtis, Ian Bedford and also the new member, Sophie. They spent most of their time on the beach enjoying lunch and also managed to do the train ride along the front, as well as a walk along the pier and a walk around the park. Despite the soaring temperature, Ian Bedford was determined to keep his red 14 Club sweatshirt on!

Andrew and Helen’'s group had a great time and thought the day was a wonderful one for a beach trip, the sun shone, the sea was blue and the beach was golden. It was not until you dipped a toe in the icy sea water that you realised you were still in the UK! The aquarium was fascinating and some of the group got to watch the turtles being fed. Amazing to know they had reached about 20 stone on a diet of lettuce leaves, peppers and maybe some other veg! The group ate a picnic lunch on the beach, Molly and Elva resplendent in hired deck chairs. The kids who accompanied them seemed to enjoy the beach a lot. The group of five went for a walk on the pier and Andrew and Helen were surprised that Elva fancied a go on the Helter Skelter! A quick health and safety survey convinced them that it was probably not wise! Luckily Elva was not too bothered and tried Hook a Duck instead. She won a prize and was very happy with it. Lois also won a prize at Hook a Duck. So they left the pier happy!

Jemma, Ian and Eva reported that their group also ate their picnic on the beach and then had a walk through the park. They popped into Debenhams to get Millie a dress for a wedding and Emily and Linda were excellent fashion experts. They wanted to play crazy golf - however when they got there and they saw the price of £3.20 a game they changed their minds! So they walked back through the park again. Emily, Linda, Archie and Millie had a ride on the merry go around. Emily and Linda bought numerous gifts for family and friends including a bag of pink candy floss and some snow globes. Unfortunately, one snow globe broke before they even got back on the bus. The day went so quickly and before they knew it - they got back on the bus!

News of Members/Helpers/Drivers

We said farewell to Eleanor Weston who came to say goodbye on 11 July. Eleanor had been helping us since September 2010 up to early June as part of her Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Eleanor was a pupil at St Helen’s and St Katherine’s School and she will soon be off to Southampton University to study Biochemistry. Thank you for your help Eleanor and good luck with the degree!

Committee News

We had our AGM at Fitzwaryn School on Monday May 9th. Chairman Garry gave a comprehensive report and Secretary Debbie had sent in a written report - she was out rolling in the aisles with partner Iain watching Lee Evans on stage. Tim’s treasurers report was the usual tired format of doom and gloom but it was pleasing to have another record year on the Christmas Draw (thank you all) and we were also grateful to all those who had given us £500 in donations through 2010: Faringdon Rotary Club, Faringdon 41 Club, SW Oxon Mencap, Pam Clark, Lavinia’s dad and Jemma and her friends. Your new Committee is Garry Shand (chairman), Tim Pocock (Treasurer), Debbie Warren (Secretary), Anne Alderson, Andrew Harwood (H&S Officer), Helen Harwood, Mark Clutterbuck (Club Leader), Iain Norburn, Lisa Beardmore, Pam Evans and Jemma Howland.

We had our regular summer committee meeting on Monday 25th July and Anne and Mike Alderson once again very generously hosted it with plenty of food and drink at King’s Cottage, Kingston Lisle. Enormous thanks to you both and of course to the dogs for their enthusiastic involvement! It was a beautiful summers evening and we spent most of the meeting out in the garden. We were thrilled to have Club leader Mark with us (this can only mean a debate about what we allow members to chuck down their throats). The agenda covered the full range of issues including ideas for fund-raising, the probable abandonment of the Christmas Stall (Boo-hoo - but it doesn’'t make enough cash), the latest news on when our equipment store will be ready (uncertain), health and safety issues (more first aiders!), Christmas presents for members (already purchased and a bit better than last year) and of course, here it is, the great food debate. We decided in the interests of healthy eating to maintain the status quo - no sweets, crisps sugary drinks at the coffee bar but occasional treats allowed at e.g. the Christmas and summer parties. We also put together a comprehensive and largely familiar programme of events for the autumn term and decided to have a Christmas Draw as usual.

There was a long debate about smoking at the club. Fitzwaryn School is a no-smoking site. The Club has a rule that no member shall leave the site whilst at the Club. These rules are for health and safety, personal protection and insurance reasons. Helpers are not expected to smoke during club sessions. An exception was made for those full-time carers who bring their charges to Club on a one-to-one basis. They will be allowed to smoke as long as they are in Denchworth Road and right off school premises and take their charges with them.

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 - e.g. 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!!

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