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Well, what a strange year! Our AGM meeting usually is in March to coincide with the financial year, but this year both Dorothy and I were going to be away for that meeting so we planned it for April.  Little did we know that April wasn’t going to happen either.  So I thought the best plan would be to put the report in the magazine. At this time the magazine is going to be online, which means some people will still miss it, but please do your best to share it with others who aren’t on the Internet.

So 2019 began with the usual Epiphany party, this time led by our MU leaders as we were inter-regnum, using a service from the Iona community. It was an opportunity for people to get together and share food (always a good idea) and find out who their new Prayer Partner is for the year.

In June we held our joint annual Strawberry Supper as usual, and this was a huge success with quizzes, scones, cream, strawberries and lots of cake.

In July the evening group went to the New Victoria theatre in Newcastle to see  ‘The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart’. None of us really knew what to expect, and at the interval we all looked at each other (over a cup of tea and a biscuit) and said “What was all that about?!” The second half was less confusing, and I have to say that the actors were very talented, all taking many parts as well as singing and playing instruments. It was a good fun evening out with friends. Perhaps a buffet next time???

The afternoon group experienced a successful afternoon tea in the Church Hall provided by Cobbles Tea Room, with tea-sets being supplied by The Lovely Little Vintage. We had a good turnout of members, and very little food was left over!

The September meetings were both in-house discussions, but I think these were the most successful. The evening group discussed ‘Friendships’, while the afternoon group, by request from Christine Jones, discussed ‘Loneliness’. She had invited Fiona Bruce MP along to the meeting, and we discovered how fortunate we are as a village to have so many opportunities for people to meet. Fiona gave us a talk and an update on how the Government is dealing with these issues.

October brought an open evening with Rev George Lane, chaplain at Manchester Airport, who told some interesting stories about his experiences of working at the airport. The wonderful ‘Making Music with Handbells’ with Susan Hawkes and the Middlewich handbell ringers came for the afternoon meeting. Some of us had a go and realised it wasn’t as easy as it looked!

November’s meetings were entitled ‘Christmas memories’, but we were very lucky to have been able to get the Hearing Dogs volunteers to come in with their training dogs. They visited us for the afternoon meeting and the evening meeting and were very informative.

In December the evening group returned to the George and Dragon for a meal and the afternoon group joined in Christmas carols and readings, with Christine Jones playing the piano for us. This was concluded by the sharing out of mince pies and Prayer Partner presents.

January is the time when we empty our Literacy boxes, and the money raised is sent to Chester for the Literacy Fund abroad. We raised £80.74 this year.

In April and November we have started holding a cake stall at coffee time after the Morning service in order to raise money for the Away From It All holidays. These are caravan holidays which MU provides for families who can’t afford them. These raised £305.30 this year, so we will try them again next year.

We would like to thank you all for your help over the past year in making our MU group a very successful and enjoyable one. Every little bit helps – and as you know we are a Committee-run group who needs a lot of support from you all in whichever way you can, including bringing your friends along. However we are now down to 6 committee members, so if any of you feel you could contribute to our meetings, which we only hold 3 times a year, please let us know. We do need some new ideas!

We discuss the preparation of the Easter Cross which we do each year, as well as decorating it on Easter Day. The Strawberry Supper arrangements are organised at another meeting, and the year’s calendar is planned at the other meeting.

Our Committee members are Dorothy Wood (Treasurer), Carole Elliott (Secretary), Caroline Burd, Christine Land, Ann Stafford and Jane Thomson. We have extra help for our Prayer Circle from Jean Paton, who is happy to help us ring round members when we know people are ill or need our prayers. We don’t have any indoor members, but we do have a list of people who are no longer able to attend our meetings and still need our thoughts and prayers.