At last year's Christmas Fayre, while running the Golden Spot Tombola and selling raffle tickets for a Christmas cake, Sylvia was already working on her plan for this year's Tombola. She told me her ideas during the day and I am glad I paid attention. After she died unexpectedly in May, I vowed that we would carry out her plans, as her retail brain and keen observation of people had made her adept at knowing when to adapt a working formula to make it even better.
In early November we asked for Christmas food donations, baskets and ribbons in the weekly parish newsletter and every week I went home carrying bags and boxes of donations - people were very generous. Last Sunday the organ fund team spent a happy afternoon sorting and packing the baskets with all the goodies, arranging them attractively and packaging them in cellophane. This created the Golden spot prizes, all the remaining items were the '0' and '5' prizes. We were very lucky that Sylvia's daughter Vikki wanted to help us, and provided the foam blocks (covered in golden wrapping paper) which Sylvia had borrowed last year to give the top prizes some height on the table. Vikki also filled Sylvia's crystal bowl with nuts as one of the top prizes and contributed some other goodies too.
On Friday the Church was set up for the Fayre, chairs were cleared to the aisles, tables were laid out, the model railway was set up, and the hall was made ready for an influx of hungry, cold people seeking refreshments. We brought the prizes and arranged the table on Friday evening, so all we had to do on Saturday morning was add ribbons tied in bows and set out the pipe sponsorship display.
When the Tombola was ready, it looked splendid, and I reflected that Sylvia would have been very pleased with it. The organ fund team and friends took it in turns to run the Tombola all day, assisted by Vikki who wanted to be with us on the day. I would like to thank Kath, Dai, Jan, Jane, Vikki, Keith and Carol for all doing a tremendous amount during the day to keep the Tombola going, replenishing the '0' and '5' prizes from the store bag and rearranging the top prizes as people won the Christmas hampers. One generous gentleman, on winning a top prize, insisted on choosing a prize suitable for a local Children's charity, so the Gingerbread house was donated to the Ted's Gang Christmas Raffle.
During the day the band played music, children from Russell Street School sang, SMSG school children rang hand bells and Queen Eleanor Combined school children sang. As we started to pack up, Jacob played the organ, so we had music all day in the church providing a seasonal background to the event. Refreshments included soup, hot sausage rolls, mince pies, cakes tea and coffee, and the team in the hall were kept busy all day.
The Christmas Fayre ran from 10am - 6pm, and during that time the organ fund team raised a total of £560.60 from the Tombola and pipe sponsorship. This was a fitting tribute to a lovely person who dreamed up the concept of the Golden Spot Tombola and inspired us all to run it again with her freshest idea.