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Fund Raising News


Cafe's Donations To The Reading Room Exceed Expectations - posted 17 August 2011


The Village Cafe has donated £700 to The Reading Room in just four and a half months.  The Reading Room Fund Raising Committee is delighted with The Cafe's success.  The money will help enormously with the general running of the hall and will help meet those unexpected bills which any household can face.


Our thanks to The Village Cafe Committee and to all of The Cafe's customers who enjoy their weekly indulgence of tea and cakes.  (If you haven't already been, then do pay The Cafe a visit.  It opens from 10 - 12 am every Tuesday morning in The Reading Room).


Caroline King

Secretary to

The Reading Room Fund Raising Committee

Helmdonites Take Afternoon Tea With Bill And Doreen England - posted 14 August 2011

The sun shone down on a typically English (sorry about the pun!) event on Saturday the 6th August 2011. Bill and Doreen England’s huge tea party in their pretty garden attracted a lot of Helmdonites with all of the proceeds going to The Reading Room.

   Afternoon Tea

           The busy stalls (right: Colin Oakey)


Not only was tea and home made cakes on offer, but there were various stalls including bric a brac, locally grown vegetables, a tombola stall, a raffle and a cake stall.

Bill and Doreen would like to thank all those who helped out on the day and also everybody who donated prizes for the raffle, cakes for the tea, bric a brac etc. Most of all they would like to thank those who came to their big tea party and are delighted to tell you that they raised about £415 … a magnificent amount.

Caroline King

Two New Cookers For The Reading Room - posted 10 August 2011


Catering will be much easier in The Reading Room now that we have two new cookers.  These were bought with money from a grant given to us by Councillor Andrew Grant from Northants County Council.  It's surprising just how often the cookers are used and we will all benefit from this latest addition to the Reading Room's refurbishment plan.  The Tuesday Lunches, under Wiggy Smith's leadership, will benefit more than most.  Cooking for up to thirty people once a month is no easy task - especially with the very high standard that Wiggy demands.  Diners are offered a choice of two main courses and two puddings and only the best food is used!  So Wiggy is a very happy lady.


Our thanks go to Andrew Grant for this generous contribution to The Reading Room's continuing refurbishment project.


Caroline King

Secretary to

the Reding Room Fund Raising Committee

Have Your Cake - And Eat It
- posted 03 June 2011

Helmdon's 'Village Cafe' is proving to be not only a very popular Tuesday morning venue, but a valuable support to the Reading Room with its regular donations of money.

In just three months the Cafe has contributed approximately £400 to the Reading Room, so it looks as though the Reading Room will receive in excess of £1,200 a year from the Village Cafe.

Our grateful thanks go to Chairman Lynn Walmsley, the Cafe Committee, the cake-makers and the 23 fantastic volunteers who work so hard every Tuesday and provide us with not only a wonderful meeting place, but this permanent fund-raiser for the Reading Room.

Caroline King
Secretary to The Reading Room Fund Raising Committee


Tea Dance - posted 05 May 2011
Stop Press: Unfortunately cancelled due to lack of ticket sales.

A TEA DANCE is to be held in the Reading Room, Helmdon on Saturday 21st May from 3.30 – 5.30 pm.Join the latest craze to sweep Britain and dance the afternoon away in our beautifully refurbished Reading Room.  After a delicious tea (sandwiches, savouries, scones with cream and jam and home made cakes) you can take to the dance floor.  If you didn't come to the Tea Dance last year, you missed a treat!  This year's will be even better but please buy your ticket early.  We sold out quickly last year and numbers are limited due to the space.  There will be no tickets available on the door on the day.  Tickets cost just £5 and you can buy them from the Bell Inn, the Tuesday Lunches, the Village Cafe or from me.

Caroline King

Secretary to the Reading Room Fund Raising Committee

01295 768695

The Reading Gets Its First Contribution From The Village Cafe - posted 28 April 2011

The Reading Room Management Committee was delighted to receive its first contribution from 'The Village Cafe' recently.  These regular donations will help the Reading Room with its day to day running costs.

The idea of running a cafe in the village had two main aims:  firstly, to provide a much needed day time meeting place where friends could meet, catch up on the gossip and enjoy an excellent cup of tea or coffee and cake in very pleasant surroundings.  Secondly, the money raised from such a cafe could go towards the Reading Room's ongoing expenses.  You might think that a village hall doesn't need much money to run, but you'd be surprised!  The usual utility bills, insurance, building works and coping with the unexpected expense all adds up ... as in any household.

The Village Cafe is well advertised with a pavement sign which is put out every Tuesday morning on the corner of Church Street and Station Road.  This sign was very kindly supplied by McIntyres estate agents.  It is heartening to see local businesses supporting this kind of village initiative.

The popularity of The Village Cafe has exceeded all expectations and will become an extremely important part of the Reading Room's income. 

Our heartfelt thanks go to the team of volunteers who man the kettles and provide all those delicious cakes as well as to the Cafe's customers - ranging in age from eight weeks old to.... well, let's say eighty years plus!

Please do drop in any Tuesday morning (10 - 12 am).  The Cafe is held in The Reading Room Church Street.

Caroline King

Secretary to

The Reading Room Fund Raising Committee

Fashion Show Raises £475 Towards New Reading Room Curtains - posted 29 March 2011


fashion show models    Some  of the models who showed the clothes


The Fashion Show was, as usual, a very entertaining evening with Ellie and her lovely models.

With ticket sales and the raffle the evening raised £475, which will go a long way towards the cost of the new Reading Room curtains.

Thanks to all who bought raffle tickets, came and supported and hopefully went home with some purchases – I know we did!

Vanessa Vicars & Sue Lidgley.

Fashion Show Will Boost Funds -  posted 9 February 2011

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The Dick Francis Night Was A Sell Out  - posted 20 November 2010


Felix Francis
Felix Francis


The last Reading Room fund raising event for 2010 was the very popular ‘Dick Francis’ night which was held on the 11th November.

The audience enjoyed a hot supper in the attractively decorated Reading Room before listening to author, Felix Francis, talking about his father, Champion Jockey and best-selling writer, Dick Francis.  Felix is a very accomplished speaker and delighted us with tales of his father’s early life as the Queen Mother’s jockey, the ill-fated Grand National runner Devon Loch, and how Dick started to write for the national newspapers which was a great training for his later life as an author.

Felix started to co-write the books with Dick a little while ago and now, after his father’s death earlier this year, he explained how he copes with writing alone and the big responsibility he feels in

Bill England and & Felix Francis
Bill England (left) Chairman of the Reading

Room, talking to Felix  Francis                                

assuming his father’s mantle.  For aspiring authors it became apparent that writing books  is not an easy option!  Felix explained how he sets about the process of trying to produce another best seller and he then read the very poignant first two pages of the latest Francis book ‘ Crossfire’.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening to which Felix contributed not only his time, but generously made a donation to the Reading Room with every book that he sold on the night.  The evening made a wonderful £393.50.

Our thanks go to Felix Francis and to all those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make sure the evening went without a hitch.

Caroline King

Secretary to

The Reading Room Fund Raising Committee 

Wonderful Donation To The Reading Room From The Young Husbands - posted 10 November 2010

The Reading Room Fund Raising Committee was delighted when it learnt that the Young Husbands intends to donate a large sum to their refurbishment campaign.

It must be extremely difficult for the HyHo's to divide up, between the different village organisations, the proceeds of the wonderful events they stage but they certainly didn't forget the Reading Room!  This extremely generous contribution to the Reading Room refurbishment fund raising campaign will do a great deal to help us complete all the work in a timely fashion and then we will all enjoy the new chairs, better lighting, a sound system, new curtains, repainting etc. etc.

Many, many thanks Young Husbands for all you have done for the Reading Room - and the rest of the village.  Not only do we get to enjoy the events you put on, but we benefit from the proceeds of those same events.  Can't be bad!

Caroline King

New Fundraising 200 Club - posted 4 November 2010

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Talk By Felix Francis - posted 15 October 2010

There will be a talk by Felix Francis, author, on 11 November in the Reading Room at 7 for 7.30 prompt start.

Felix Francis will be talking about his father, Dick Francis (champion jockey and best selling author), writing the last few books with him and now 'going it alone'.  Tickets (£6), available from the Bell, Bill England and Caroline King from mid-0ctober, will include a hot supper.  Wine & soft drinks will be available.   Mr Francis wil be selling and signing his recent book which came out in October 2010.

Caroline King

New 200 Club - posted 11 September 2010

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Ernie's Fun Afternoon Entertained On Bank Holiday Saturday - posted 7 September 2010


scarecrow competition
            Children's scarecrow



You missed a treat if you didn't go to 'Ernie's Fun Afternoon' on Saturday 28th August!  The event was organised to raise money for the Reading refurbishment campaign. The weather was kind to us at first, tailing off rapidly towards the end!  Ernie Cline's garden look absolutely lovely ... the perfect setting for this kind of event.

There was much to amuse and entertain including a Putting Tournament supervised by Philip.  The winner in the Senior Section was Mark Stubbings and the Junior Section was won by young Alfie Adhemar.  Those feeling peckish went to the BBQ stall overseen by Curly and Eddie and those with a sweet tooth went to the Cream Tea tent where Sally and Patricia served up delicious scones, cream and jam.  We had a beer tent which Dave and Bill looked after and there was also a raffle with Philippa selling tickets (the first prize was a round of golf for two at Silverstone Golf Course).    At times there was quite a queue

Caroline King
Caroline King, secretary to the Reading Room Refurbishment  Committee. Enthusiastic

and tireless, she has been co-ordinating the highly

scccessful campaign from the start

for the face painting table while parents browsed through the bric a brac, sampled the sweets on the homemade sweet stall, bought jewellery and home made cards.

The centrepiece of the garden were the scarecrows made for the Scarecrow Competition.  Great job kids ... thank you for taking the time to make your scarecrows ... they all looked fantastic.   The icing on the cake was an anonymous donation of £200 given by a generous individual which resulted in the total profits from the afternoon reaching approximately £450.  Not a bad afternoon's work!   Ernie's 'Fun Afternoon' was yet another innovation for the Bank Holiday weekend and one we hope to repeat next year.  Our grateful thanks go to Ernie Cline for lending us his lovely garden.  Thanks also go to the stall holders for generously contributing donations from their hard earned profits and, most of all, thanks to all of you for coming and supporting this fund raising effort for the Reading Room.  There can't be many villages that would back this campaign as loyally as Helmdon does!  

Caroline King

Secretary to the Reading Room Fund Raising Committee


A New Bank Holiday Attraction For Helmdon - posted 4 September 2010

Although, sadly, there was no traditional Helmdon Carnival on the 30th August a new attraction kept us all entertained.

On a glorious morning about 28 walkers took part in the Helmdon Fun Walk (in aid of the Reading Room).  Taking part were the very young and not so young.  We were led by Roger Miles who took us via beautiful footpaths to Weston.  We stopped there for much needed refreshments (chocolate cake included!) and then we went back to Helmdon following a different path.  We started our walk at 10.00 a.m. and finished back in The Bell at about 12.40 p.m. where we all fell upon a glass of something nice and a delicious BBQ. 

The Reading Room Fund Raising committee was delighted that our Fun Walk was complemented by the  Helmdon Hurlers – a proper athletic race which attracted more than 100 runners.  The two events seemed to go together very well.  A race for the     truly young and fit and a walk for the rest of us!

The ensuing party at The Bell (with much talk of time, routes, sore feet, etc.,) was great fun and there must have been at least 150 people there.

The Fun Walk raised about £180 for the Reading Room and concluded a fantastically successful weekend in which we raised over £680.

Many, many thanks to all the organisers,  helpers and participants.  Especial thanks to Roger Miles for leading us bravely through the wilderness.  I think we all made it back!  Let’s hope this hugely enjoyable day will be repeated next year.

Caroline King

A Thank You From The Reading Room Committee - posted17 August 2010

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Fantastic Result From Garden Fete - posted 11 August 2010

bric a brac table
Bric a brac aplenty


A  fete was held in the garden of Doreen and Bill England on Saturday. We thought we were in for a bad day, when the heavens opened up just as we had set everything in place, but with quick action by all (and a few expletives from Bill) the day was saved. After the panic, the weather changed for the better and a great day was had by all.


cream tea
                                      Enjoying a cream tea

Cream teas were available for anyone feeling a bit peckish. The children’s corner proved to be very popular, especially when an impromptu visit from a ferret  and a very small tortoise called Charlie arrived on the scene.

The face painting was good fun, especially among the much, much,  much, older children (one ended up as a strawberry, or was it just sunburn?) and if you fancied a bit of the old mystique, Sally was there with her Tarot Cards.

The raffle, tombola, cake/produce, books, homemade cards, and the bric/a/brac stalls were  soon doing a brisk trade, and thanks to all those involved in making the day a success, a fantastic total of  £676 was raised for YOUR READING ROOM.

Bill England

Family Fun Afternoon: August Bank Holiday Saturday - posted 10 August 2010

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Helmdon to Weston Fun Walk On 30 August - posted 19 July 2010

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Summer Fete On 7 August - poste16 July 2010

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Helmdon Dips Into The World Of Ballroom Dancing At Tea Dance - posted 30 June 2010

participants at the tea dance
Everybody on the floor


Helmdon’s first Tea Dance took place on Saturday 26 June in the Reading Room and was a roaring success!


Having consumed vast quantities of tea and cake (not to mention sandwiches, sausage rolls and scones with cream and jam!) we attempted to take to the dance floor.  Most of us were a bit nervous at first but inspiration and encouragement came in the form of Gill Locket who runs a series of local dance classes and who got us all up on the floor.


We may not have been quite as polished as Strictly Come Dancing, but we had a great time all the same and the Reading Room looked lovely with sparkly lights, potted palms and glamorous decorations.


Margaret Reardon and Pauline Payne
    Margaret Reardon (facing) and Pauline Payne

                                                    enjoy a joke


Even better, the event raised over £200 for the Reading Room refurbishment campaign (that’s enough to buy at least another four chairs).  The Fund Raising Team hope to hold another Tea Dance before the end of the year and if you couldn’t come last time, make sure you come to the next one.  I think ballroom dancing is about to hit Helmdon big time.


For those of us who have two left feet, Gill Locket is interested in running a dance/fitness class in Helmdon.  Look out for details and get yourself into training for our next Tea Dance!

Caroline King

Secretary to

The Reading Room Fund Raising Committee


Reading Room Refurbishment Campaign Raises £980 In Just A Few Weeks - posted 1 June 2010

  • The Reading Room Fund Raising Committee is delighted that the Helmdon Parish Council will be generously donating £300 towards the on-going refurbishment campaign.  This is yet another example of the wonderful village support the Reading Room is receiving.
  • Also, Helmdon Presents have promised us the proceeds from their very popular Indian Evening held a few weeks ago.  They are donating a fantastic £273 towards the campaign for which we thank them very much.
  • The Pub Quiz and Meat Raffle held in The Bell on Sunday 30th May raised a staggering £207; thank you so much for supporting this great evening.
  • Last but absolutely not least, we are about to be given a personal cheque for £200 by somebody living in Helmdon who wishes to remain anonymous.  This is a large amount of money to receive from an individual and we are extremely grateful.

We think this proves that calling our campaign 'Are You Up For It? couldn't be more appropriate! Helmdon certainly is up for it.  Thank you so very much.

The Reading Room Fund Raising Comittee


Magnificent 'Awards For All' Lottery Grant For The Reading Room- posted18 May 2010      

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More Donations for the Reading Room Refurbishment Campaign - posted 22 April 2010

The Reading Room Management Committee is delighted to have received more donations to its fund from individuals. Money was raised by:

Mrs. Joan Hadfield who sold some of her garden produce

Mrs. Lesley Kinghorn who donated the money she would normally have spent on Christmas cards

The Helmdon Walkers who buy homemade cakes in the Reading Room after their weekly walks (is this really what ‘health’ walks are all about?!)

These simple fund-raising schemes are greatly appreciated and once again show how the people of Helmdon are not only thinking of the refurbishment scheme, but are coming up with ways to help.

The Fund Raising Committee has come up with a whole host of enjoyable events for 2010 so have a look on the Village Diary section of the Helmdon website and make a note in your diary.

Many thanks,

C. King
Secretary to
The Reading Room Management Committee
April 2010

Reading Room Refurbishment Campaign Races Ahead! - posted 14 April 2010

The Reading Room’s ‘ARE YOU UP FOR IT?’ campaign is still doing brilliantly well. In the last few weeks alone we have received almost £400 from local organisations and a private donor (details to be announced later!) has promised us a further £200. We are just about to hear from Awards For All (Big Lottery) who might – fingers crossed – give us a £10,000 grant and Northants Council have promised us nearly £1,000. It’s all happening! Meanwhile the newly formed Grants Sub Committee is actively seeking further funding ... not an easy task.

So our special thanks for their recent, generous donations go to:

The Drop In Centre
The Fellowship
Helmdon Presents

Caroline King
Secretary to
The Reading Room Management Committee

Grants Sub Committee - posted 27 March 2010

A Grants Sub Committee has been formed to help with the complex task of searching for grants for the Reading Room's refurbishment project. The Committee consists of:
Richard Foster e-mail

Judy Cairns e-mail

Jan Harrold e-mail

Special Pub Quiz - How Clever Are You - posted March 2010

On Saturday 13th March at 7.45 p.m. in The Bell Inn, Helmdon, there will be a special pub quiz. This is part of the Reading Room’s fund-raising campaign. If you can’t answer the tricky questions, you might just win a wonderful raffle prize instead! Please come along and enjoy a great evening and support the Reading Room. All welcome.


WishWish List

Wish List - posted 13 February 2010

Main Hall

  1. Install new lighting hidden behind new woodwork
  2. Install regulation fire alarm
  3. Install audio/visual unit
  4. Replace curtains, to latest fire regulations
  5. Replace sliding doors
  6. Replace funiture
  7. Hide majority of electric wiring
  8. Redecorate


  1. Box in all surface pipe work
  2. Redecorate

Other Works To Be Considered

Remedial and energy efficiency as laid out in a paper

composed by Mr Neil Buckley

Bill England


Helmdon Reading Room

Thank You Waitrose And Thank You Waitrose Shoppers - posted 4 February 2010

Waitrose in Brackley are about to send a cheque to the Helmdon Reading Room Refurbishment Fund for £244 after we entered their 'Community Matters' campaign last December. Godwin Court pipped us to the post by getting the most number of green tokens and we came second.   Many thanks to those of you who went out of your way to shop at Waitrose. Our grand total of money raised now stands at a magnificent £4,525.


Up-dated Results for Reading Room 2009 Fund Raising Campaign - posted 3 February 2010

The Reading Room Management Committee is delighted to tell you that YOU have raised (in just six months in 2009)  a magnificent


This wouldn’t have been possible without your amazing hard work, organisation, generosity and time.  Now that we have raised a substantial amount of money, the Reading Room Secretary can begin to apply for grants because we can prove that Helmdon supports the renovation plans and sees the Reading Room as a vital part of its community.

We have listed below the names of those who have made a big difference to our campaign but we are certainly not forgetting all of you who contributed in your own invaluable way with your time, generosity and skill.  Thank you everybody.

The Drop In Centre

Conservative Club (local branch)

Helmdon Fellowship

Doreen England’s card sales

The Bell Inn BBQ

Caroline King’s cake sale

Alex Corrin’s bread sale

Bill and Doreen England’s summer fete

Pamper Me Party


Thursday Health Walkers

Helmdon Studies Group

The Fashion Show

The Oktoberfest

Church sale for the Reading room

Bill England’s party donation

Womens Club ‘Greek Night’

Garden Club’s ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’


Helmdon Presents

Philippa Lloyd’s Christmas Sale donation


Waitrose tokens

We hope you felt that most of the events held in 2009 were not only for a good cause, but FUN!  The Fund Raising Committee is busy planning an enjoyable schedule for 2010 so watch this space and, of course,


C. King

Secretary to



                                          click to 2009 fundraising events

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