Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Visitors flock to village church for snowdrop teas despite rain

Visitors flock to village church for snowdrop teas despite rain

THE first of this year’s snowdrop teas weekends at Swyncombe church raised £1,700.

Scores of people visited St Botolph’s to see the carpet of white flowers in the graveyard on Saturday and Sunday despite the showery weather.

Volunteers sold tea and cakes as well as second-hand books and cards showing the snowdrops designed by Shelagh Stevens.

On Sunday afternoon, the flowers were blessed by the rector of Watlington Rev Daniel Thompson watched by visitors.

He was helped by five-year-old Caroline Huckvale, the daughter of former parish councillor Rachel Huckvale, and Wilfred MacDonald, seven, from Harpsden.

The children filled a cup with water which was blessed and then they used a sprig of rosemary to sprinkle water on the snowdrops.

Rev Thompson led the crowd in singing All Things Bright and Beautiful and then read a handwritten poem called Song of the Snowdrop which had been left on a pew anonymously on Saturday. There will be more teas this weekend and the one after from 2pm to 4pm daily. A choral evensong will be held on Sunday at 4.30pm.

John Sennett, who helps organise the event, said: “Next weekend promises to deliver rather better weather than the hail and rain the car park volunteers had to endure last weekend.

“Gallant bands of tough walkers reached us from many parts and motorists from London, Yorkshire and Oxford enjoyed the event.”

The snowdrop teas, which are now in their 23rd year, raise money for the maintenance of the church, which dates back to the Normans.

Mr Sennett said: “It’s fervently hoped that last year’s sum of more than £7,000 might be matched to supplement the donations by worshippers to approach the annual £36,000 needed to continue caring for the church and its work in the parish.”

In the 7th century, St Botolph returned from his studies in France and went to Iken in Suffolk, where he asked the local King Anna for permission to start a monastery in “the least pleasant part of his kingdom”.

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