Sometimes Christmas events in Tuttington church can take on a decidedly chilly feel. There have been occasions when it’s cold outside yet colder still when you pass through the heavy wooden portal into the cavernous chamber within. One might think this would be enough to put off all but the hardiest souls.
But, they are made of tough stuff in Tuttington and the annual Christmas Fair in the church was rewarded with probably the greatest visitor numbers of recent memory. Which is just as well as the temperature within was boosted by the collective radiant heat of 200 watts per person from the hoards who attended.
The event was put on by the TTs group whose members worked very hard to organise everything and decorate the church in seasonal finery. There were lots of stalls and features from Guess the Weight of the Christmas Cake and the number of sweets in a jar to wonderous gifts made in Tuttington and beyond. There were homemade Christmas wreaths for sale and good things from a mini version of the Groveland Farm Shop.
The refreshments kept everyone going all afternoon with freshly made sausage rolls, mince pies, biscuits and cakes galore. The mulled wine proved very popular again and rekindled memories for everyone about how much David and Alan enjoyed last year’s offering, though it is doubtful they themselves remember too much about it.
Everything looked very seasonal and jolly and the Christmas mood was enhanced greatly by the magical lights, candles and music, and of course the general hubbub of the attendees. A hush descended as the Christmas raffle was drawn but the big prize of the day – the Christmas Hamper – would have to wait until the Carols on the Village Green event later in the week, no doubt a clever ploy to encourage more folk to attend.
The warmth of the event kept everyone in a cheery mood but this is often not enough to warm the cockles of people coming into the church for every event. Fundraisers for the church are hoping in the longer term to install a heating system that is better than the current greenhouse heating setup that forces church congregations to congregate in huddles in the north pews.
In the shorter term, the TTs have obtained funding via one of our District Council representatives in Aylsham, Councillor Sue Catchpole, who has provided money from her community fund to buy two moveable heaters for use in the church. These are to enable small groups of people from all backgrounds to meet in the church – which is our only community building in the village – and be reasonably comfortable year round. So thanks go to Sue and to all of the village volunteers and the many people who come along to the events they organise.
And one last thing: this year’s Christmas Fair raised over £700. This money will go towards the annual running costs of the church building. Some might ask isn’t this covered by the Church of England? The simple answer is No. Money for running the building needs to be raised from within the community. For reasons mentioned above, the church is used not only for devotional purposes but also for many secular events in Tuttington. Most folk will understand that electricity and maintenance bills need to be paid to keep going the only building in Tuttington that is open to the public. And at nearly 1000 years old the church is in constant need of TLC. So once again, thanks go to everyone involved in contributing to yet another successful village event.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!