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Our Lady's church was the ideal venue for the parish barn dance organised by a skilled and ingenious team. As a place for Mass, the setting is bright and uplifting - then clear away the benches, use the generous space around the worship area, and bring people together for fun - with a purpose.
Marion speaks for the team - -
"The Dance was organised by our Make a Difference in Bosham team - MAD - to raise funds for the development of church facilities - more of the purpose later!"
"Early on, the team were ready for action - Ian cutting the cheese for a ploughman's supper - backed up by Ros"
At reception they wait for the first arrivals - over 100 tickets sold before anyone bought at the door. Only £6 in advance - £7 on the night.
"Our experienced caller is Helen Floyd - leading us through complicated dances with patience and humour. Into the first number - and we're off!"
"Father Kieron joined the dancers all evening. So did fellow parishioners from St Richards, including two of our nurses from the Philippines."
"A good many were ready for a breather - waiting for supper. And glad of the toilet - handy tonight, but awkward and embarrassing to reach during a service - especially for the elderly. We feel we need a multi purpose toilet, to disabled standard, and better kitchen facilities with hot water. So MAD is raising funds to make it possible - but so far we have no plans for siting or ideas of the costs. This is just a start! "
"We enjoyed beautiful singing from Liz McNally - an unaccompanied Irish folk song had us all enthralled - not to mention her change of style to songs like Bette Middler's "Hero"!
"Next on was Fr Kieron - again singing unaccompanied. His Irish song "The Town I Loved So Well" by Phil Coulter. It was written about Derry in the troubles of the 1970's."
...There I spent my youth and to tell you the truth
....Now the army's installed by that old gasyard wall
"Some of us admit to tears in our eyes!"
"Before the last dances, Fr Royston raised hopes with his amusing draw for the raffle."
"At eleven o'clock many still vigorously showed the spirit of our parish".
Then a presentation of thanks to Liz and Fr Kieron. And thanks to Helen.
A presentation also for Marion - a gift of a portrait of Mother Theresa, won at auction by a well wisher.
Applause came for the MAD team - Marion Coombes Shrubb, Susan Line, Finola Hyland, Mary Eveleigh, Angela Griffiths, Ros Davies and Yvonne Bishop, with Ian Griffiths and Nick Shrubb.
Thanks came, too, from Fr Kieron -
"The Barn Dance brought together a good mix of people of all ages from our three church communities, as well as ecumenical friends from Bosham. The friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the Bosham Church lent itself well to this most enjoyable social event. Some visitors (non-Catholic) on the night were so impressed, that they came to Mass the next day!"
And a final word from Marion - "One lady, brought up in the Salvation Army, turned up to Mass the next morning..She brought a Thank You card for all the MAD team - 'We felt welcomed and the atmosphere was very friendly and warm. It was the first time for my husband and friends at a social at a RC Church but I explained to them 'Yes, the building is sacred, but the people are the Church. Thank you again...' I thanked God for being with us!"
Marion's good news is that so far, they have raised almost six hundred pounds! She and her team have plans for other events and a further barn dance in the autumn.