Congratulations: Boston Spa Oxfam group turns 40

Posted by David Hewitt Regional Fundraising Manager in the north of England

23rd Feb 2012

One of our most dedicated groups is marking an amazing 40 years of fundraising for Oxfam. Their flagship event, the annual Christmas Coffee Morning (with the help of a few satellite events) last year raised an astonishing, record £2,800! Maureen Williams (pictured here with husband Norman) started her Oxfam 'career' as a schoolgirl in the 1950s, collecting clothes for the Greek earthquake appeal. Thus Maureen was already a seasoned supporter when an Oxfam event in nearby Wetherby asked for people to start a local fundraising group. The handful that said 'yes' were from Boston Spa, and Maureen volunteered to be the group's first secretary.

One of their first events was a Tap Tax, charging people 2p per tap in their homes to fund a water project in India. Many will remember Oxfam's famous Hunger Lunches, and the group organised several. Though members came and went, the group was given a huge boost when Ken and Judith moved to the town just three years later. Judith and Ken, who had worked as the assistant finance officer for Oxfam HQ and a voluntary local Oxfam group treasurer, brought fresh energy and new ideas. A wide variety of events followed, including fashion shows, temporary Christmas shops, produce stalls, awareness-raising talks, choral concerts and more.

The group has a solid core of members, with two couples who joined the group 30 and 25 years ago - Graham and Kathleen, Barbara and David, Eva and Jim, Roger and Chris. The group is of course also backed up by many 'ad hoc' members who help at events. The group's main focus is now the annual Christmas Coffee Morning where Kathleen and Barbara knit hundreds of scarves to sell, Christine sells handicrafts, and Judith and others bake scrummy cakes and apple pies. Additionally, there is a quiz, a raffle, a hyacinth sale, book stalls and much more. The event is now known and loved by Bostonians and well worth a visit (as is the town) - mark your calendars for this year's event on 10 November.

40 years on from its humble beginnings, Maureen has decided to retire as Chair of the group, though the other members are sure she'll continue to be generous with her considerable wisdom and support. Everyone at Oxfam is incredibly grateful for what she and the group have achieved, contributing more than £50,000 to our work over the years. The group is very keen to welcome new members who would like to join and help kick off the next 40 years!

Fundraise for Oxfam

Blog post written by David Hewitt

Regional Fundraising Manager in the north of England

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