WATFORD HOSPICE RECEIVES CHEQUE FROM FLOWER FESTIVAL PROCEEDS

9th November 2017

Watford's Peace Hospice was the grateful recipient of a cheque for £6,200 during the main church service on Sabbath 4 November ‒ half of the proceeds was from a Flower Festival held last July at Stanborough Park. The church already sponsors 'The Stanborough Room' at the hospice through the fundraising activities of the festival's organiser, Audrey Balderstone, so it was no surprise that it should be the recipient of her latest effort.

Audrey, who has been organising flower festivals at the church since 1981, chose the words 'Soli Deo Gloria' ‒ to God alone be the glory ‒ as the theme for this year's festival held to commemorate the laying of the church's foundation stone in 1927. A total of 36 floral arrangements, most of them sponsored by church members, were on display, each depicting an aspect of the church's life, such as Sabbath School, baptism, communion, the deacons and deaconesses, the Music department, the Pathfinders and Adventurers, the outreach activities and so on, as well as some representing the building of the church and the laying of the foundation stone.

As in past years the flower arrangers of the church were joined by arrangers from other churches and from the The National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS). Fellow Chelsea gold medallist Geoff Fox, was one of the arrangers and assisting with the designs was another Chelsea gold medallist, Yolanda Campbell, an NAFAS demonstrator and National Teacher.

In accepting the cheque from Audrey Balderstone, Gemma Shortman, the Hospice's Community Fundraiser, remarked how "everyone was astounded by how much had been raised...it was a lot of money and was really going to help." She calculated that the amount would fund an in-patient bed for eleven days. She pointed out though that the Hospice provides more than just a room, it gives patients privacy with their families, peace in their last days of life and 1-2-1 care with nurses. Also, the Hospice runs a Bereavement team, a 24/7 Hospice at Home team for those with life-limiting illnesses and the Starlight Centre. To keep these services running it needs to find £4 million a year and as there is a lot of competition with other charities for available cash "we couldn't do what we do without people like you in the community", Gemma remarked.

Also accepting a similar cheque for £6,200 was the church's senior minister, Pastor Jacques Venter, who thanked the members of the congregation for their generosity in supporting the event. He also expressed his thanks to Audrey and her committee of five, all of whom are experienced flower arrangers, for the hours of hard work they had put in to make the event the success it was.

In closing he reminded his listeners of the reason behind holding the event ‒ the church's 90th anniversary ‒ and that the cheque would go towards paying off the debt incurred as a result of its recent extension and refurbishment.

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