Christmas Fair 2015
Our little Brantome Police Horses Christmas Fair just seems to get bigger every year. Compared to last year we roasted more than double the amount of Pork, double the amount of mince pies and mulled double the amount of wine. We shall know next year to cook even more and have more staff serving food to shorten the queues.
We prepared for rain but the day was sunny dry and warm. And certainly brought out the crowds.
The car park was full all day and the indomitable Giles Rothwell despite his arm in a sling, kept it all organised and free flowing aided by his son and second in command Christian. Russell gave a hand as our roving helper.
We were delighted to display a superb collection of classic cars on the lawn that looked magnificent in the sunshine and attracted a huge amount of attention.
Music was provided by the talented and tireless Viz a Viz who sang all day. The harmonious Pam and Rick(Hommage) sang through the lunch hour and gave Chris a well deserved break.
In the main marquee we had over thirty wonderful craft stalls. They did a roaring trade, we don’t charge for stalls but they always make up for this by buying lots of raffle tickets and making generous donations especially if they have had a good day. The ‘Chart Gallery’ had three art exhibitors with beautiful paintings ceramics and pastels.
A resplendent Father Christmas arrived by horse and carriage. As Rudolph was having a day off, Paula and John Liddon kindly allowed him to use their lovely driving pony ‘Mere’ called out of retirement for the day. ‘Mere’ is 30 years young and has represented team GB. She was rescued by the police from a life of neglect and has had a wonderful home with John and Paula.
Father Christmas was housed in his festive grotto (Dolly was asked to give her stable up for the day) this was decorated by Santa’s favourite elf ‘David Edwards’ Santa at one point was surrounded by children asking him some searching questions such as does he have Christmas dinner every day, was his Father, Father Christmas? And one little girl was anxious to know how he was going to get back to Lapland as she had just seen his horse and carriage load up and leave. Santa explained that he had a lift to the airport so he could get back in time for Christmas Eve.
From Santa’s takings we are able to give the local school a three hundred euro donation.
Susan Rainbird with Laura Nicholson ran the very successful Tombola and a big thank you to everyone that donated prizes. It raised over four hundred and fifty euros.
We had ‘Guess the Weight of the Cake’, this fabulous cake which we eventually found out weighed in at 3.793kg was baked by Lindsey Mcdowell and the competition was overseen by Kate Coghill and her helpers. Mr Robin Pinkham won with a guess of 3.780kg.
Kathryn Whittle was in charge of the childrens tent with face painting and what wonderful, colourful little faces were running around all day with Liz Abbot in charge of other childrens entertainment.
The cake and mince pie stand was run by Lindsay and Sarah amongst their other duties.
Tickets for the grand draw were sold by Joy Milton and Christine Borie they were seen openly mugging people in broad daylight and raised an incredible 450 euros on the day.
Food was served throughout the day with the odd delay now and then, by Chris ‘Mr. Salvage’ Hills, Dave ‘Princess’ McDonnagh and David “elf” Edwards hindered by me. Roland ‘back in ten minutes’ Phillips
The bar was busy all day and staffed by Nickand Glen and Yvonne Dodd’s, Glenn having been promoted from car park attendant in recognition of his skills in tact and diplomacy. Kat was also behind the bar but seemed to be everywhere else as well and always appeared just when she was needed.
In the afternoon Les Danseurs Country de la Dronne arrived and we were offered a fantastic and varied display of their skills accompanied by Viz a Viz . The dance troupe led by Jan Beynon, Len and Dorothy were joined by Father Christmas, much to everyone’s surprise and amusement and I’m sure this will end up as ‘you tube’ footage. Some of the dancers were novices and kept up with the complicated steps amazingly well.
John Beynon and his jumper acted as M.C. for the day and kept French and English speakers entertained and informed.
Police horse Eden made a star appearance and captured every ones heart with his moving story. He really brought home what the day was all about.
Tony Mcdowell was in charge of the stables and greeted the hundreds of visitors who came to see the horses. He answered their questions, which certainly stretched his French vocabulary. The horses had been groomed and given their beauty treatment by Tony and the steadfast and unflappable Flo Mcmenamin In preparation for meeting their adoring public.
Maureen McDonnagh staffed the ever-popular ‘Summer House’ gift shop.
The grand draw was one by a gentleman from Darlington in the UK, who will be receiving vouchers of his choice to the value of three hundred euros.
We cannot thank our helpers enough, people like Tony and the two Daves who were here with Chris putting up the marquees and infrastructure, Christine and Kat carrying out countless tasks to make the day perfect. Suzie Pearson and others who made hand crafted Christmas cards to sell in the shop. Flo Mcmenamin, Susan Rainbird and Laura Nicholson who turn up week after week to look after the horses. Without whom we would really struggle to keep going.
The biggest thanks though go to the hundreds of people who came to support us this year, without your generosity we would cease to exist and these brave and courageous horses, would face a very uncertain future. We are also pleased to say that the numbers of French visitors have increased hugely and as someone pointed out it makes us feel like one community brought together by a common cause.
We are immensely relieved and proud to report that this Christmas we will be able to bank nearly seven thousand Euros into the association account, which will keep the horses in hay and feed, cover vets bills, farrier and other horse welfare sundries until the start of our new season at Easter. So once again thank you all for your help and support and if we don’t see you before, we hope to see you on the fourth of December 2016. When we can do it all again.
Merry Christmas a happy New Year
From all at BPH