The Christmas period started early this year: on 6–8 December, Smarden WI held their annual two day ‘Memory Tree’ fundraising event at St Michael’s Church. The ‘Memory Tree’ was located amongst the Christmas trees in the church Tree Festival and visitors were invited to write a memory on a star which was then hung on the tree. Emma Sanders, a long-standing volunteer at Catching Lives, was asked by Smarden WI to accept a cheque for £200 on CL’s behalf at the end of the event. Our thanks to everyone involved for organising this delightful event and a very pleasing result for Catching Lives!
Also that weekend, on Friday 6th December, another delightful fundraising event organised by the Kings Mile Association: a Carol Concert held on CL’s behalf. A very good turnout in the Buttermarket, boosted by many young children and tourists, enjoyed the Christ Church Choir begin the carols. The procession moved down The Kings Mile as the Christmas lights were turned on, stopping twice more for carol singing, before reaching The Jolly Sailor walled garden. Decked out with fairy lights and huge red Christmas bows, the garden made a beautiful setting for the main carol singing and raffle draw by CBeebies’ ‘Mister Maker’, currently appearing in the Marlowe pantomime. With mulled wine and mince pies for all and a gift for every child, the organisers had really thought of everything. A total of £275.16 was raised. Our thanks to everyone involved in the organisation and for those who attended the event.
With the festive period in full swing, we were delighted when Peter Roberts, Headmaster of King’s School, Canterbury, proposed that this year’s Christmas Concert, held in The Shirley Hall on Sunday 8 December, should be in aid of Catching Lives. Terry Gore and Glennis Turrell represented Catching Lives at the event, and together with many proud parents, school governors and trustees enjoyed a fantastic evening’s entertainment by the King’s School Orchestra & Choir. A total of £847.06 was raised and our thanks go to the King’s School for their fabulous generosity in hosting this event on our behalf.
Our thanks also go to everyone in Chilham for picking Catching Lives as the beneficiary of the collection at the ‘Turning on of the Christmas Lights’ and Carol Singing held on Sunday evening, 8 December in Chilham square. A delightful setting and a brilliant turnout of carol singers made this a very successful event, and our thanks are due to the generosity of the Chilham community for the £280.00 raised on Catching Lives’ behalf.
As Christmas approached we were overwhelmed by the generous gifts for our clients: donations of food, mountains of chocolates and a ginormous 15kg turkey (kindly donated by Guildford Lodge, the Porchlight-supported hostel)! A special thank you goes out to the members of Hoath’s WI, who kindly bought us a Christmas tree to brighten up the centre and who spent many months’ hand knitting beautiful blankets and hand making Christmas bags with gifts for all of our clients.
Once we wrestled the toddler-sized turkey into the oven on Christmas Eve with the help of our very own Christmas elf, David, the festivities were well under way!
26 clients enjoyed a superb lunch and took great delight in the gifts they each received. Many others came in throughout the day. We would like to thank all the volunteers who generously gave their time over the Christmas period; it was a wonderful to see both old and new faces sharing the day with our clients, who greatly appreciated the efforts by all.
Thank you to all and happy New Year.