Trustees Sue, Robina and Andrew were guests of the Ashleworth and Hasfield WI, where they gave a well-received talk about their experiences and in particular the events leading up to the formation of the charity. To their great surprise, many of the the WI members made very generous individual donations. All in all, we raised a very handsome £140. Many thanks to those WI members for being so generous.
We gathered at The Royal Oak, Andoversford and set off on a circular walk of around 5 miles which included the charming villages of Whittington, Sevenhampton, Brockhampton and Syreford. In between the villages we were treated to a very varied walk along tracks and paths over soggy meadows, arable fields and through woods and even a harvest festival churchyard, all including some wonderful views over the Cotswolds.
The weather was glorious. Alas, we discovered only hours beforehand that the pub was not able to provide lunch but stalwart Grippers supporter James rolled his sleeves up and cooked up a feast for all the walkers at very short notice. Big thanks to James.
With twenty-one walkers and five dogs, we had the best turn-out we have had for some time. Attached is a photo of the group just before we set off.
The four-mile walk itself took place in warm, windless weather and was a great success; firstly south along the little-used valley lane in Cockleford from The Green Dragon before striking off on tracks up the hill until we were on top of the Cotswold scarp with views for miles in all directions as we made our way towards Elkstone. Here we paused by the lovely little church before exploring the paths through the village and thence across open fields and down through Cowley woods with some close encounters with muddy puddles, rewarded with the completion of the circle at the pub car park.
Eighteen stalwarts joined together at the Crown of Crucis to enjoy a delightful walk around the fields and lanes of the Ampneys. The weather on the day was fine but as it followed a period of torrential downpours, the main challenge was avoiding the many flooded paths and field tracks.
Most of the group were able to end the morning at the home of Trustees Andrew and Robina where they had a lovely lunch of roast pork with all the trimmings, prepared by William while we had been walking. The Annual Walk was originally a sponsored event starting in 2006, but it has morphed into a celebration of Grippers and it is wonderful to have so many Service Users and Grip staff taking part as well as the Trustees and main supporters of the Charity.
With only one previous exception, The Autumn Annual Walk has enjoyed wonderful weather. Alas, the 13th such walk proved to be unlucky! The forecast of fog followed by steady rain on a strong northerly wind on the top of Cleeve Hill deterred many. In the event, seven stalwarts and two dogs set off and were rewarded with a break in the rain and because of the clear conditions, magnificent views of the Winchcombe valley as we passed close to the historic Postlip Hall and later across the Severn Vale all the way to the Malvern Hills. The steady climb up to the top of the escarpment warmed us up but we could only pause for a brief appreciation of the view before we were quickly cooled down by the wind and hastened on.
Just as the rain returned we arrived to a warm welcome at the Rising Sun and were soon steaming and glowing after a drink and roast lunch.
We are particularly pleased that several service users braved the elements and joined in what turned out to be a successful and very satisfying walk.
We were entertained to a moderately complex plot “Murder at Hill Crest House” which actually involved a double murder and another attempted murder (or was it an accidental poisoning?). The audience applied themselves to the task of eating and drinking as they were entertained and all too soon they had to commit their suspicions and reasoning to paper and submit the answers to the players from The Purton Amateur Dramatic Society for appraisal. In addition to giving up their evening, the PADS actors bought a lot of raffle tickets, so it was rather fitting that they took away most of the splendid prizes. The winning sleuths then stepped up on stage in recognition of their skills of observation and deduction and to receive their prizes to applause. Finally, the actors and their producer and all who had contributed to the success of the evening were thanked.
In addition to the fun, we are delighted to also report that the evening raised over £650.
The Rose Ball was a very well attended and happy occasion held in the really lovely garden and grounds of Poulton Fields Farm. After drinks and canapes in the garden, we sat down to a very tasty dinner. Our chairman introduced the guests to two recipients of Grippers funds. Firstly, he read out a letter of appreciation from Alex who wrote very movingly of her journey of recovery back to free expression of abstract art. One of her striking paintings was later auctioned at the ball and raised £650. Then, James very bravely took the microphone and entertained us with the story of how Grippers paid for a suit so that he could attend an interview. He too paid tribute to the importance of the practical and caring helping hand extended by Grippers.
We would like to thank Rosie Arkwright and her team who inspired and organised the whole evening and raised an astounding £6,500 for Grippers.
Our intrepid fund-raiser, Eric Davis, returned safely from the most arduous trek he has ever done. As December is the middle of the Argentinian summer, the climbers set off in extreme heat, but by the time it came to the day of attempting the summit, Eric woke to minus 26 degrees C inside his tent.
He did not feel any effects of the high altitude, but as he climbed, the extreme cold began to affect his toes and so he had to turn back around 1800 feet below the summit. We are incredibly grateful to Eric for climbing for Grippers. Thank you to everyone who has donated through MyDonate.
The 12th Annual Grippers Walk took place on another gloriously warm Sunday morning high on the Cotswolds around Foxcote, near Andoversford.
It was particularly pleasing to have a complete range of Grippers stalwarts taking part; Service users, carers, NHS staff and Grippers trustees and of course two lively dogs. Near the village we were greeted by a number of racehorses but then climbed gently through woods until rewarded by splendid views and a solitary roe deer stag who didn’t detect us until very close. The last mile or so brought a new vista with the added incentive of the Kilkeney Inn getting closer. Here we were made to feel very welcome by the owner Jules and enjoyed a really excellent roast lunch.
Even more satisfying is that we raised almost £400