Drumming Mayor’s benefit gig with a difference

Some members of the fund raising group for St John's Read and St Peter's Simonstone. Back row John Aizlewood and the Rev. Robert Fielding, front row Daphne Rix, Lynne Clarke,  Susan Liles, Joyce Andrew and Zena Jeffries.
Some members of the fund raising group for St John's Read and St Peter's Simonstone. Back row John Aizlewood and the Rev. Robert Fielding, front row Daphne Rix, Lynne Clarke, Susan Liles, Joyce Andrew and Zena Jeffries.

Ribble Valley Mayor Richard Bennett, who lived in a vicarage in the 1960’s when his father was the vicar of Read, is putting on a benefit gig with a difference.

Coun. Bennett, a drummer in a rock band Fisher T Fish is the borough councillor for Read and Simonstone, and is adopting, as one of his charities, an appeal to ensure that a Ribble Valley church continues to serve the community for generations to come.

The vicar of St John’s at Read and St Peter’s at Simonstone, the Rev. Robert Fielding, is teaming up with the Mayor, who will play a gig at a Mayoral garden party opened by a BBC Radio Lancashire presenter. The members of an enthusiastic fundraising group for St John’s, Read, and St Peter’s, Simonstone, are also appealing for help from the local community.

“Church buildings have stood in the heart of the community for years to celebrate important moments in our lives and provide for private prayer and contemplation,” the Rev. Robert explained.

However, to guarantee that the local church serves the community for generations to come residents’ help is needed.

“Last Christmas we floated the idea of an attractive warm space open every day, for courses, films, a café, hire, library and adequate car parking,” said Rev. Robert. “Village surveys suggested people thought this was needed. Generous donations from people with a connection to Read and Simonstone, and sponsored events including a non-stop walk from Blackpool to Read have created a starting fund of £16,500 for phase one – the internal decorating, repairs to the heating at St John’s, and a glass front door to let in the light. There may also be work on a car park. But while St Peter’s serves as a school hall, so the school take care of building maintenance, St John’s gets no funds at all, so just to complete phase one would need £10,000 more.”

To help meet this target, Coun. Bennett is picking up his drumsticks and adopting the cause – Readstone Community Centre which is based at St John’s – as a charity during his year as Ribble Valley Mayor.

And members of the church’s fundraising group have organised several events this year to boost the appeal. These fundraisers include a Super Suppers event. This is a home made dinner of the person’s choice for six people. People are asked to bring their own wine and the cost is £20 per head. To book or for further details call Chris on 07747 512615 or Susan on 07827 913100.

On Sunday, August 20th, the Mayoral Garden Party will be held at Dugdales Barn, Worston, at 3pm. All are welcome and tickets priced £10 include an afternoon tea and a live gig by the Mayor’s band Fisher T Fish, opened by a BBC Radio Lancashire presenter. Tickets are available from Olwen on 01200 414408.

On September 16th at 7pm, there will be a fundraising hoedown with the Kitty Hawk Ceilidh Band. Everyone is welcome to join in the harvest fun at St John’s school. There will be a licensed bar and tickets cost £10 including pie and peas. Call Joyce on 771463.

And finally, on Friday, November 10th, there will be a dinner dance at the Higher Trapp at 7 for 7-30pm. The dress is smart casual and Ribble Valley Mayor Richard Bennett will open the evening. For tickets, priced at £30, call Zena on 01282 778070 or Lynne on 771832.

Other fundraising initiatives include two Heritage Walking Trail booklets produced by Daphne Rix that combine local history with a family friendly walk. There is one for Read and one for Simonstone. Priced at £5 they are available at St John’s. There are also greeting cards with a local theme, priced at £2 each. People are also asked to keep a look out for a local cook book. For more details visit: www.readstoneparish.com

Readers can also make donations via: www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/stjohnread-stpetersimonstone/community

Alternatively, simply text COFE02 £xx to 70070 (xx being the amount from £1-£10).

For anyone who cannot attend any of these events but would like to make a donation, envelopes are available by request, and those who pay tax are also asked to fill in the Gift Aid section so that the church can claim 25% of the gift back from the tax man.