Arriving after the long drive up from Cornwall through rain and fog, the cloud lifted and a beautiful autumn light warmed the sea and beach at Kewstoke, near Weston Super Mare, where the Peace Partners’ Celebration Tea Party was about to begin.
The village hall at Kewstoke was a perfect venue for the annual fundraising event, which had been planned to raise awareness of the groundbreaking work undertaken by TPRF’s Food for People programme and to raise funds for the project.
More than seventy volunteers and supporters of Peace Partners came from as far away as Manchester and Jersey in the Channel Isles to enjoy the inspirational afternoon.
We were warmly welcomed with a glass or two of Bees Knees fizz and a delicious hot samosa. The afternoon began by meeting old friends and ‘putting faces’ to people known previously only online, while a mesmerising magician circulated, delighting us with his tricks.
Our MC, Pete Cook introduced Juli Hammersley who opened the event with a brief summary of the growth of Peace Partners over the past three years. She moved on to talk inspirationally about her personal experience of spending time at the Food for People facilities in India and Nepal, recounting some of the human stories behind the groundbreaking work the charity is undertaking.
While we relaxed as tea was brewed and scones taken out of the oven, we were treated to a set of beautiful songs from Jolene Lawrence, accompanying herself on guitar, Josie Hughes also performed a song from her new CD.
The stunning centrepiece cream tea was served by volunteers on individual place settings, many of them antique, and I can only say I have never seen cakes and scones piled so high, with so much cream and jam to ease their way to digestion. All presented with outstanding style and grace.
A number of beautiful artworks and handcrafted items had been donated for the auction, which David Hughes conducted with wit and humour and with much audience participation. This theme was continued by a raffle for the many other donated goodies, and the traditional ‘weighing of the cake’ competition.
Following on from the auction we were dazzled by a truly outstanding performance by Bill Benham, a renowned concert violinist, who played a series of violin solos from his extensive repertoire. The performance was one of the unexpected highlights of the afternoon.
Tables were then cleared and space created for a performance by the Tim Hain band. Many of us risked life, limb and indigestion by taking to the floor and rocking the afternoon to a close with the band’s unique mix of ‘Bleggae’, a combination of blues and reggae music, and in the process hopefully dancing off some of the calories taken on board during the afternoon.
It was a lovely, inspirational time, full of good humour and good food enjoyed in great company. I would personally like to thank the many people who put so much time and consideration into making the day so special.
An amazing total of £2,718.00 was raised, equating to 5,800 meals served at the Food for People facilities.
Thank you all so much for your outstanding generosity and good will.