It continues to amaze me the immense versatility of St John’s Itchen Abbas, as we celebrated Christmas with our oldest and our youngest residents in the space of two days.
Monday was our last Little Rainbows before Christmas and we celebrated with a Christmas party which was a lovely opportunity for everyone to come together and catch up over coffee and mince pies. It was lovely to see so many children who have moved on from Little Rainbows, returning to visit us and join in the fun and also a wonderful opportunity to invite all of our lovely coffee and cake helpers to join us too.
We have some big thank yous to make for Little Rainbows this year – a particular thank you to Julia Wright who has been telling the story and leading the prayer at most of the sessions in 2018; to Sally Parker who has put together the craft for each Monday; to Nora Haywood who has set up the toys and tables and given us all coffee and delicious biscuits and cakes. Thank you to Claire Hunt (our founder) who has been organising the rota and encouraging our wonderful coffee helpers during the year and to all our coffee helpers themselves. Thank you to all of you. They say that children are very impressionable at such a young age and so I am sure that all of you have had a huge impact on many little lives over the last 12 months.
On Tuesday we had our CAMEO Christmas Party. This is such a special event. Lavinia and Nick Owen and their team of cooks and helpers put on a wonderful and delicious Christmas turkey lunch for us all with wine (kindly donated by Joan Bickerdike’s family) and mince pies. SO delicious. It’s just great to see all our friends again. Alicia managed to spirit Joan Howard away from hospital for lunch which was a huge achievement and greatly appreciated by all of us. We were sad to miss Joan Bickerdike, Rosemary Ross Skinner and Judy Strafford all of whom were regular CAMEO members and who we have lost this year.
It was also great to have the choir of Itchen Abbas Primary School come and sing some carols to us . Wonderful to have some of the younger members of our community enchanting some of the older members – it seemed very appropriate really.
All of these activities in St John’s are only possible because of the reordering of the church which took place a few years ago. Had we still had pews there these events simply would not have happened. However we are immensely grateful to Vernon and Arminel Tottle who keep the chairs in the church in perpetual motion and are continually hoovering the carpet and clearing up after us all. Without them these events would also not be possible. Thank you to them also.