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Parishioners entertained our Priests

The Parish's best kept secret - an entertainment to celebrate The Year for Priests:

The show was proposed and steered through by Maria Whitehouse and her team - and was surely the largest event ever staged by parishioners from all our three churches.

The venue was the Jubilee Hall at Oving, where final rehearsals were as surprising as the show itself - the ladies performing song and dance here are transformed later on.

The stage background was designed and completed by Mel Burgos, with the show's title.

A newly formed Morris side saw Martin Downy in authentic floral kit, armed with stick - he was also set to deliver a monologue.

Helen Floyd rehearsed the team.

Full house at Oving

At 7.30, there were at least 200 people packed into the hall as the Morris side, sporting bells, sticks and floral hats opened the show.

The Fiesta Dance was choreographed, and costumes designed by Mel Burgos.

Every act was recorded on video by John Hutchings, using two cameras - a dvd that will surely be in demand as the official record of this unique presentation.

Francis Casey compèred, carrying through his theme of encouraging priests to"widen their public image", with his tongue-in-cheek humour sustained throughout the evening.

There was 'A touch of Magic' from Chris Dwyer, the Youth Band performed with gusto, and the 'Witterings Boys' rounded off part one with an Irish singalong.

Interval - for refreshment

The catering team, led by Penny Finn. ensured that tables were loaded with party food throughout the show.

Performers Mary Boyd and Sheila Brown, (their 'Spinoffs' pieces well received tonight), with Fr Kieron, were ready to enjoy the second half.

Fr Tony complimented producer Sally Morley. Fr Alexander met Barbara Morris.

With the children on stage, Niki Harman called on an experienced singer for the next item - and up stepped Fr Kieron, ready for "Rise and shine and give God the glory".

There were instrumental solos and songs, then a dazzling costumed Abba number from The Witterings Girls - 'Almost Grandma-mia!

Finally, the mystery of the ladies' rehearsal was revealed with a miraculous costume change and heavenly voices from 'the Sisters of St Jude' - with a startling switch of style.

The finale, "You shall go out with Joy", brought everyone together.

Fr Kieron, speaking for all our priests, thanked everyone, and said that he really had no knowledge of this well kept secret to provide a joyful and memorable celebration.

Then into the limelight, for warm thanks, stepped the organiser, Maria Whitehouse, who reminded us of the contribution of our priests - and (as the programme says) "this celebration was our gift to you in grateful recognition of all that you do for us."

Maria notes: "Most performers were shown on the programme - unfortunately two names were missed off, Mick Thompson, one of the founder members of the Witterings Boys, and Susan Line, who provided musical accompaniment throughout the evening and was a key member of the production team. Other performers (whose names were inside the programme) were Anne Shardlow, Chris Dwyer, Sheila Brown, Mary Boyd, Kay and Simon De Halpert, Tom Galloway and Alexandra Fryday."