Saturday, 15 August 2020

Few walkers make it through storm to see snowdrops

Few walkers make it through storm to see snowdrops

THE opening weekend of the 24th annual snowdrop teas at St Botolph’s Church in Swyncombe raised more than £1,200 despite being affected by Storm Ciara.

On Saturday, dozens of people visited the churchyard to see the flowering bulbs and enjoy tea and cake.

On Sunday, the rector Rev Daniel Thompson was due to bless the snowdrops but the ceremony was postponed until this weekend.

Eight people still battled though the winds and fallen branches to reach the church.

They were served tea by Shelagh Stevens, Jean Orpwood and Lizzie Christie-Miller, members of the congregation who were sheltering in the porch with kettles just in case any walkers arrived.

Mrs Christie-Miller said: “Saturday went really well and it was a beautiful day. Lots of cakes were baked by various different people and there were jams and preserves.

“There was a lot of community spirit from inside and outside the parish so it was lovely seeing so many people coming to support the church. People feel it’s something to do in the cold winter months in February when it’s often hard to find things to do.

“It’s such a special church and creates a lot of interest. It’s to fundraise, but it brings people a lot of pleasure.

“It was with great sadness, because of the storm, that we had to cancel Sunday but there was a skeleton staff of helpers that were serving tea and cake just in case people came. Normally we have 150.”

John Sennett, who helps organise the event, said: “Since this is the main fundraising event on which Swyncombe Church depends so much to remain open, the ever optimistic congregation and friends hope balmy days on the next two weekends will encourage a huge turnout of walkers on the Ridgeway and Icknield Way.

“Many who have fond memories of weddings and past services have returned to swell the church's coffers and are again offered a treat of hospitality and a warm welcome.”

The teas will be repeated from 2pm to 4pm this weekend and next and visitors will be able to buy snowdrops grown by members of the congregation. The blessing will now take place at 3pm on Sunday and will be followed by choral evensong in the church at 4.30pm.

The proceeds will go towards maintenance of the Norman building.

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