Sunday, 05 December 2021

Villagers celebrate end of covid rules with picnic

Villagers celebrate end of covid rules with picnic

MORE than 100 people attended the Kidmore End parish picnic to celebrate the easing of coronavirus restrictions. 

The event, which was organised by the parish council, Kidmore End Cricket Club and villager Jane Mather, was held at the cricket ground off The Hamlet in Gallowstree Common on Friday. 

Mrs Mather, who founded and runs Local Veg, supplied free strawberries and cream and the cricket club supplied drinks. 

Jez Felwick, from Gallowstree Common, who owns the Bowler Meatballs food truck and the Simply Honest Sauces company, provided pizza.  

Clare Scott  organised running games  for children under five and there were cricket games for older children.

Caroline Aldridge, who chairs the council, said the picnic was a chance for residents  to meet and exchange “covid tales”.

Speaking to the picnickers, she said: “We all know our parish is a fantastic place to live but the response of each and every community in Kidmore End to the difficulties posed by the covid pandemic has left me humbled and so proud of where we live.

“Our community has done all the normal things that neighbours do, like helping one another and telephoning and visiting the elderly, delivering food and prescriptions and following the ever-changing covid restrictions. 

“We’ve taken part in sunflower- growing competitions and we have loved the flower arrangements at the church and the well. We’ve enjoyed outside exercise groups and we’ve volunteered at vaccine centres. I want to thank all the volunteers who have worked hard behind the scenes.” 

Mrs Mather and villagers Sarah Wilkinson and Jocelyn Lynch were specifically thanked for their volunteering efforts. 

Mrs Mather, of Horsepond Road, started her food delivery service shortly after the first lockdown last year began and provided fresh fruit and vegetables for households in Kidmore End, Gallowstree Common, Peppard and Sonning Common.  She was helped by Mrs Wilkinson, of Butlers Orchard, and many others.

The two women now run the Conversation Café at the parish hall in Wood Lane on Wednesdays from 11.30am to 1.30pm.

Mrs Lynch, a retired entrepreneur, co-ordinated the Kidmore End Cook for Carers initiative in January, which delivered more than 1,700 homemade meals for staff working in the intensive care unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

She was also helped by Mrs Mather and Mrs Wilkinson as well as Kristina Stitt, who decided what meals would be cooked and labelled and checked them for allergens. Sue Remenyi produced a cookbook afterwards. 

Michael Skinner, whose family company is Savile Row tailor Dege & Skinner, thanked the three women and presented them with bouquets. 

Mr Skinner, from Wyfold, said: “We can’t tell you how much we appreciate Jane Mather’s kindness when she launched Local Veg.

“She not only communicated with many vulnerable villagers and brought together neighbours as friends but also removed the worries of the elderly having to shop when covid was rampant.  There is no doubt she helped preserve our health, dignity and comfort but most of all she spoiled us with the luxury of being waited on hand and foot during the pandemic — bless you.

“When the hospital canteen was closed during the second lockdown, Jocelyn Lynch organised an amazing team and ensured that the essential, nourishing and hugely appreciated meals were prepared, cooked and delivered to the staff in the intensive care unit.

“On behalf of the old and bold, please join me in thanking everyone involved for a job very well done — you made all the difference.”

Mrs Mather, who lives with her husband James and their border terrier Thwaite, said: “I think we were all so delighted to be doing something together outside and not on Zoom. All these different groups who don’t usually see each other were chatting.

“Michael Skinner went to so much trouble and provided flowers and he did it all off his own back —  what a lovely guy.” 

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