The Church Hall has had a fairly good year financially it seems, especially from being hired out for children’s parties and local club meetings. These were interspersed with the usual crop of the latest exercise classes that mushroom through the winter - yoga, Pilates and Zumba each enjoyed a predictably short run in our village despite the initial bouncy enthusiasm of the organiser.
Brian, as treasurer, soon turned to the Hall’s fund-raising events held through the year, and again, the news was of unparalleled profit. He distributed copies of the Profit and Loss statement and Balance Sheet to all those present as he spoke, delivering his report with a professional ease.
In our village, there is also a certain predictability to which fundraisers are held each year, and who holds each one. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to say the assumed ‘rights’ to a particular event are jealously guarded. A few years ago, the youth club committee even threatened to sue the football club for threatening to run a second Easter egg hunt that year, a week before the youth club’s regular hunt. The football club backed down, and contented themselves with the fireworks display and bonfire in November which they always lay claim to.
Similarly, every year the local school runs the summer fete on the green, while the gardening club organises its late summer BBQ (this year they are ringing the changes, slightly, with a hog roast, but no-one is sure if this is a wise move). The cricket team tried a winter 'barn' dance last year in their pavilion, but with little success – just as they have been unable to rally enough men to field a team this summer, they found it difficult to encourage men to come to a dance, even one where a caller shouts the moves.
To raise money for the church, and to tap into the more moneyed classes whose social calendar spares little room for lowbrow village events, Judith and Donald have always arranged a summer opera evening, with Pimms, on the lawns of The Manor (or in their real barn if it is raining). Once the Manor is sold, if it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if a covenant wasn’t written into the contract binding the new owners to continue to arrange the opera night.
All these competing events through the year make it difficult to come up with new ideas for how the Church Hall might raise funds for itself. And so, at the AGM the fall back position was re-assumed - the quiz night, the autumn ‘party’ (avoiding the gender-divisive word, ‘dance’ at all costs), and the Christmas murder-mystery were all scheduled.
‘These events all brought a tidy profit last year,’ said Brian, ‘so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t do so again this year.’
That said, a vote of thanks was proposed and seconded to the outgoing committee, and duly minuted. The same committee members were then re-elected with unsmiling formality. Like our village’s social calendar, no real changes were made; but there would need to be a fairly drastic set of circumstances to justify any alteration to what has become the status quo. In any case, it meant that proceedings were over fairly quickly and we could all adjourn to the pub – having ‘phoned ahead, as usual, to make sure the landlady had opened up.