It’s as easy as ABC ……….!  A night of great fun and fundraising for Minsteracres was held on the evening of Friday 19 October 2018 in St Bernadette’s Church Hall.  This was organised by the ABC Churches of Wallsend, which include St Aidan’s, St Bernadette’s and St Columba’s.  Parishioners and friends attended from all three churches. A similar event had been held two years ago at St Columba’s which was a great success.  Minsteracres is indeed a place that is held in both affection and appreciation far and wide by many of our parishioners.   The Retreat Centre has provided so much inspiration and help to so many people over the years. The planning began two months prior by ABC churches – with team members Angie, Marie, Mary, Mary B, Mary C, Olive, Pat, Shelagh and Vron.  A date was set, the hall was booked and tasks were allocated according to strengths.  Tickets for the event were sold out!

On the night, the hall and tables were dressed for the festivities and tickets included a glass of wine and selection of tasty cheeses and nibbles. Feet were tapping and reels were reeling to the three live musical acts led by Tom & Marge, Paul & Catherine, and Joan, Tony, Mick, Gerry, Peter & Lara with guitars, violins, mandolins and a penny whistle in accompaniment.  The raffle table was weighed down with prizes as indeed was the tombola table – massive thanks were expressed to all who had donated gifts. A party of guests came from Minsteracres including Sr Cecilia and Fr Mark, all driven by Paul in the Minsteracres minibus!  Margo and Paul drew the raffle in style with lots of brilliant gifts (Liz, John and Sr Cecilia were lucky winners!!). Fr Mark gave a sparkling address to everyone’s delight!  Claire Morgan, Chair of the Minsteracres Board of Trustees, gave an informative talk on Minsteracres and its work including the incredible work our Outreach Team accomplishes.

At the end of the event £2000 was raised (including a couple of very generous donations) and with gift aid this will reach an incredible £2500.  This will achieve two refurbished bedrooms in the Retreat House, with engraved plaques on the doors.  Warm thanks were extended to Maureen who welcomed us at the venue and looked after us so well, along with Sheila and Andrea – as well as to Jeanette who had the hall spotless for the evening.

Claire Morgan sums up the warmth and success of the evening at Wallsend:”We are so grateful to Marie and her helpers for organising such an enjoyable fundraising event and to all the kind people who helped set up the hall, provided entertainment, prepared the quiz and supported the raffle/tombola. The amount raised was beyond expectations!  This will greatly help to support the day to day running costs of Minsteracres – a place which means a great deal to many people who have found comfort there from the hospitality, welcome and spiritual refreshment which the community, staff and volunteers all work so hard to provide.”

It really is as easy as ABC………. and a lot of fun!  So why not give it a go in your partnership or church?

by Marie Rice, Hospitality Volunteer