Grove Rugby Club was a hive of activity on Easter Sunday, as once again they through open their doors for The Ray Collins Charitable Easter Dinner for local people living in isolation.
Volunteers set out and decorated the clubhouse the night before, ready for forty guests to enjoy a wonderful dinner.
At 10am Sunday morning, drivers left their homes wearing the Trusts purple hi-vis jackets to collect all the guests.
Phil Connolly, Jackie Nicholl and Lesley Tilbury had been at the club since 8am preparing a banquet for all.
The first guests arrived before 11am and were seated and offered tea, coffee or a soft drink.
At 12.00pm chicken & mushroom soup and a fresh crusty roll was served as the starter. All the guests cleared their bowls commenting how delicious it was.
Main course was next: roast beef, roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green beans & peas, and sprouts with Yorkshire puddings and lashings of gravy. All this left at first the guests’ eyes, and then their stomachs bulging.
Desert was a wonderful apple and peach crumble with homemade custard. A few struggled to finish, but most had a very good go.
After a rest and tea & coffee, two of the Trusts youngest volunteers Owen Church (9 yrs old) and Sophia Champ (4yrs old) arrived with their mums.
Ray explained to the guests how Sophia and Owen plus mums Jenny & Lyndsey had spent all afternoon making Easter egg parcels for each guest to take home. Each parcel contained a large Easter egg, small eggs, Easter bunnies & sweets – all carefully wrapped in purple spotted cellophane and tied neatly in purple ribbon.
As the volunteers and Trustees handed out the eggs, guests remarked how wonderful they looked and how happy they were to receive them.
For many this was the only treat they received this Easter. We often forget a simple act of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine in someone’s life.
Several weeks prior to Easter, the Trust had been collecting Easter eggs in Waitrose Wantage. Over three weekends nearly 500 eggs were collected and dozens of small Easter treats.
Sainsbury’s also put out a trolley for the Trusts collection, where a further 150 were collected.
Ray and friend of the Trust Lyndsey Champ delivered eggs to Charlton Day Centre, The October Club, Grove Day Centre, Stirling’s Elderly Care Home.
Ray delivered eggs to Beatbox youth club and the Fitzwaryn School for children with disabilities.
Nearly 100 eggs went to Ronald MacDonald House and the Children’s Hospital Oxford. Far fewer than previously, due to the collection being 250 eggs less than previous years.
A massive thank you to Phil Connolly, Lesley Tilbury, Mick & Jane Rea, Duncan & Jackie Nicholl, Chris McCarthy for allowing us to use the club again, paying for all the food and creating such a wonderful meal.
Thank you to Kellie Walton, Lucy Notman and Tanja Salter for all their help on the day, and to Matthew Donaldson.
A huge thanks to all our drivers: Roddy Bedford and Giles Bedford, Russell & Jackie Stock, Mr Harvey, Katie Buckingham, John Durban, Jan Taylor and Oliver, Sarah Crayford.
We had serval no shows for various reasons such as illness & loneliness. So several dinners were delivered along with egg parcels.
All who attended went home stuffed full, happy to see their friends and very happy with their gifts. As one lady said, “Another very successful day from a very special charity.”