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					AUGUST 2005

3

point

The magazine of

TOC H
Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page Page 2 3 4 5 6&7 8 9 10 11 12

Inside:
Participate online Anchors away Scheme gets thumbs up Honour for first Toc H Chairman Poperinge - a special spread Forward to a new challenge A Curley Wyrley treat A song for Tubby Something to talk about The Toc H universe

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Participate online in the Toc H volunteering experience
A new Toc H website is to be launched later this year, allowing members to find out about new projects, see what volunteering opportunities are available and chat to other users online .
The ‘Participation’ website, which will run alongside the current Toc H site, is being designed by Yorkshire-based MindWave Media Multimedia Director at MindWave Richard Briggs said: “The concept behind the new website is to build a virtual volunteering online Other highlights on the Participation site include a message board, chat room and forum, connecting Toc H members from all over the globe. The site will also house an online shop and allow visitors to donate directly to the charity online. It is hoped the increased online presence will encourage more young people to get involved with Toc H, and volunteering generally. Richard said: “Through the site, it will be simpler than ever to become a member of Toc H. People will be able to sign up quickly and easily. “There will also be a content management system allowing any new information to be updated, either from individual project managers or Central Services directly.” Past editions of Point 3 will be made available through the site, which will go live in September. Check www.tochparticipation.com to see the current version.

From left Richard Briggs, Daryl Walker-Smith and Mark Taylor display the new site

after the team was approached earlier this year to develop ‘a volunteering portal’- a site offering a broad array of resources and services in that sector.

community. This means members can find out news about both Toc H volunteering events, and events planned by other voluntary organisations.”

Singing the praises of Alison House
The Humming Birds, the school choir from India who performed at the Toc H 90th anniversary service at Coventry Cathedral, were also among special guests at a ceremony to mark the reopening of the refurbished Alison House Talbot Centre. Centre manager Tim Chillman said: “We were delighted to have the choir here as our guests.” In addition to its training and holiday facilities, Alison House, set in the beautiful Peak District countryside, is a popular residential venue for artists. The refurbishment included replacing electrical and heating systems and complete redecoration of the building, once called Oak House, which was the dower home of Sir Richard Arkwright, inventor of the renowned Spinning Jenny which revolutionised textile production throughout the world. It was renamed Alison House after the inspirational Alison McFie who founded the charity’s women’s movement.

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Boat building project prepares for anchors away
Toc H has joined forces with a Plymouth sailing school to help young adults from deprived communities learn a range of practical skills by building and sailing a range of maritime vessels including a 24 foot motor boat – the Aquastar.
The school, Horizons (Plymouth), is currently in negotiations with the Devonport Regeneration Company in Plymouth to secure funding for the project. Fifty educationally disadvantaged young people a year stand to benefit. The scheme will invite 14 - 19 year olds to spend a minimum 26 weeks with staff from Toc H and Horizons, and a number of volunteers, learning how to put boats together from scratch. Toc H’s South West Regional Development worker Mark Trotter said: “These are young people that have been told they haven’t got a chance in society, but we want to show them that actually, they have lots of options.”
Some youngsters benefiting from a Horizons sailing programme

way round a boat’s diesel engine, they can do the same on a motor vehicle. Both the practical and personal development skills we will teach will serve the young people for life.” While Horizons is leading on the project, Toc H will play an important role as a delivery partner, concentrating on the development of the children’s basic and key skills. Ahealthy life style, good diet and other life skills will be emphasised and Toc H will encourage people to start volunteering, getting involved in developments such as Lindridge, the Toc H residential centre near Plymouth. Mark added: “The best way for the young people to keep developing their skills, and put them to good use is to get involved in worthwhile projects, and that’s exactly what we’ll be looking to do.”

The training will give the youngsters the skills to secure an apprentership with a larger maritime organisation, take their new abilities into the more general marketplace, or even set up their own social enterprise. Mark said: “Many of the skills, such as carpentry and plumbing, are transferable. If people learn their

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Chernobyl visitors
This summer Toc H welcomed another group of children from Chernobyl in Belarus. Ten youngsters came over in June and July to spend some time in Lindridge, the Toc H farmhouse, before staying with families in the area. The trip is a chance for the children to escape the poverty of their homeland and have some fun. The clean air also allows their bodies to flush out some of the radiation they have accumulated from the infamous fall out. Vanessa Rattlidge of the Teignbridge branch of Chernobyl Children's Lifeline said: "We are always interested in hearing from anybody who would like to help with fundraising or hosting."

Toc H lifeline gets a new home at old inn
The ‘Thumb a Lift’ scheme, which Toc H support in partnership with Worcestershire County Council, has seen tremendous growth over its 17 year existence, with over 900 registered users of the service currently on the books.

Camp gets grants
Derby Toc H children's camp is one of the charities to benefit from the Mayor of Derby's £16,000 charity pot. The money, donated by businesses and organisations in the area, was split between 17 charities. The camp has also received £3,000 through the Derby City Partnership 'Small Change' fund to provide a day trip to Alton Towers for 100 disadvantaged young people.

Individual attention: Vince Taylor, administrator of the ‘Thumb a Lift’scheme

Obituaries
Elsie Spencer Greenbank George McQuire East Midlands Marjorie Turner Greenbank Edward Binner Skelmorlie & Wemyss Angus Laing Scotland / retired BOAR staff member Marjorie Pearson Bramley Joan Cliffe Lincolnshire District Stanley Cooke Great Harwood Frank W Rogerson Yorkshire & Humberside

‘Thumb a Lift’ recruits volunteer drivers and their vehicles to provide a lifeline to those who find access to public transport a problem. This enables the elderly, disabled, or parents of young children to travel for doctors’ appointments, visits to the library, shops or hospital visits in North Worcestershire. Vince Taylor, administrator of ‘Thumb a Lift’ said: “With this scheme, people don’t just get transport, each individual gets personal attention. It’s entirely in keeping with the Toc H ethos. “The scheme has grown at a very significant rate. In 1999 we drove 270 passenger journeys over 4000 miles. This year we expect to undertake 10,900 journeys covering 94,000 miles.” An important part of the scheme is the Toc H ‘Chairman’, a wheelchair accessible car for the disabled community which has found a new home in the oldest coaching inn in Bewdley. The George Hotel offered a parking space for the vehicle when its previous place at a county council hostel expired at the end of June. Manager of the George Nick Seabright said: “We were delighted to be able to assist Toc H. The ‘Thumb a Lift’ scheme is of huge importance to the people of the district, and car parking is difficult to come by. We knew if we didn’t help, many lives would be affected.” Although the volunteer base has risen from ten to 50 since the beginning of the scheme, there is always a demand for drivers, who will receive expenses per mile for the use of their cars. If you can help, contact the scheme on 01299 405820 between 10.00am and 1.00pm Monday to Friday.

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Back Toc H’s founding member to get a ‘people’s plaque’
The residents of Southwark, London, have nominated Sir Alexander Paterson to be immortalised with a blue ‘people’s plaque’, and a campaign is now underway to ensure this happens.
Sir Alexander was the first chairman of Toc H, helping Tubby Clayton draw up the original statement of aims and four points of the compass. A devout Christian, he held a firm belief in human redemption, and that prisons should concentrate on rehabilitation not punishment. Introducing many reforms, he gave inmates certain basic freedoms and self-respect by allowing ordinary haircuts and clothing, and more visits from the prisoners’ families. The blue plaque scheme, set up in 2002, gives the public an opportunity to celebrate the people, places and events that shaped the borough of Southwark. Eight plaques will be awarded from a shortlist of 24 and the winners will join Michael Caine, Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Michael Faraday among the many notable residents of Southwark to be honoured. Voting is open to anyone not just residents of the district, so anyone can help to honour this key figure in Toc H’s history. To vote, post your nomination to Blue Plaques, Communications Unit, Town Hall, Southwark, Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UB or email it to vote4icons@southwark.gov.uk. You can help the campaign by collecting signatures, handing out voting slips or encouraging members/friends/customers to email with their votes.

Sir Alexander Paterson, one of 24 names put forward for one of the prestigious plaques

Initiative values the ‘Third Age’ volunteers
Toc H is helping to raise the profile of volunteers over the age of 65, by working on the steering group of a new Home Office Project - Volunteering Initiative for the Third Age (VITA).
The initiative was launched in March by Fiona McTaggart MP, Minister for Active Communities Directorate and Volunteering, at the Commonwealth Club in London. Toc H members and volunteers Anne Fletcher and Philomena Bach attended the event on behalf of the organisation. Anne, who has been a member of Toc H since 1939, was praised for her commitment and enthusiasm as the longest serving volunteer at the launch. VITA aims to promote the value of older volunteers and increase the number of over 65s volunteering. It will promote best practice within organisations and encourage older people to use their valuable skills in their local communities. VITA and Toc H recognise the added benefit of recruiting older volunteers who often have a wide range of skills, maturity and reliability which are highly valued.

Please note, voting closes on September 2 2005

Sir Michael Caine seen with his blue plaque in 2004

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Special report on activ

Fun for children at carnival weekend
Carnival time took on a different theme this year - instead of taking part in the parade, Flanders Toc H members decided to concentrate their energies on a children's party and team-building activities. Two separate groups of British volunteers joined the Flemish members for a successful party for 20 children on the Saturday. Some of the youngsters were from a home for socially disadvantaged children and others from a youth movement for disabled people. Sunday was spent relaxing with party games at Talbot House, a visit to the museum and lunch before watching the carnival parade. On Monday some of the British visitors had to leave for home, while the rest of the group went to Lille in France for a guided tour followed by a meal. In May members were in London, where they organised a "Belgian afternoon" for the Hackney residents.

Small, but we never s
Toc H Flanders is very much alive and well - that's the message to Point 3 readers from branch treasurer Martine Boone, who says: "Tubby's Poperinge Group tries really hard to keep Toc H alive here and it would be great if members in Britain could learn more about that. We are particularly proud of our involvement with the 'Pops 17' cultural walks in Poperinge, and the children's party at our Carnival Project of Greetings from Poperinge." On these pages we give a brief taste of some of the activities in Flanders. Martine says: "We are still a small group, and yet we never cease to confirm our commitment to the people and the causes that have been close to our hearts for so many years.

Don’t panic just make tea
A crew from Belgian national TV news arrived to film the Toc H stall which had been set up in the square at Ypres on Armistice Day to serve cups of tea to the many visitors who were there to observe the ceremonies at the Menin Gate.

Songs in attic
'Zingende zolders' or 'Songs in the attic' was an initiative of several Poperinge cultural organisations. Five different choirs from the town and surrounding villages performed at five different locations - for example, one in the tower of St Bertin's Church and another in the attic of the Hop Museum. The Talbot House Concert Hall was another venue where Toc H volunteers raised money for funds by selling cakes and drinks.

Unfortunately, the equipment to boil the water for the tea broke down. Martine explains: "It turned out to be a problem with the electricity. We didn't exactly panic, but were expecting hundreds of visitors who would all want a cup of hot tea. Armed with electrical wires and extension lines, the men went to find the fault and mend it, while others ran backwards During two weeks in April, amateur actors performed life the history of the town and remembering people w and forwards with kettles. "In the midst of this, the TV crew arrived and I had a microphone at my face giving them a five-sentence explanation of what Toc H is all about (you should try that, in five sentences!) and why we were offering this free tea to the pilgrims. But all's well that ends well. We even got the

Light ahead
Plans are underway for a "dynamic" celebration of World Chain of Light in this the 90th year of Talbot House. Tubby's Young Group has been asked to put together a "grand" programme.
Pass the parcel - Carnival time took on a different theme this year. Instead of taking part in the parade

v i t i e s a t To c H P o p e r i n g e

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stop trying
We look for new initiatives and try out new ideas. "We never stop trying to make our movement better known and better understood here in Poperinge and further afield. And we do manage that quite successfully. Other local organisations seek us out to work together. What bigger compliment is there to our efforts?"

Back in time: Toc H members re-enact life as it was during the First World War.

Acting out dramatic challenge
Toc H members helped Poperinge historical society to stage four walks through the town where people were brought face-to-face with life as it was during the First World War when many civilians had fled to France and many soldiers were passing through on their way to or from battle. During two weeks in April, under the title 'Pops 17', amateur actors performed short plays depicting the scenes of 1917, bringing to life the history of the town, remembering people who had been involved. Martine says: "When our Toc H group was asked if it would help to set this up and take on some of the acting parts, we couldn't resist such a challenge even though most of us had never even attempted amateur dramatics. But we all had great fun and it was a very rewarding few days"

Flemish greetings
Every Christmas, for more than 25 years, the Poperinge group has visited the residents of rest homes in Poperinge and Steenvoorde, just across the border in France. Everyone is given a present and time is spent with people, chatting. This was one of the first initiatives ever undertaken by Tubby's Poperinge Group and it is still an important part of the Toc H programme. Some of the older people in Steenvoorde still speak a Flemish dialect, and they enjoy speaking Flemish to their Belgian visitors.

short plays depicting scenes of 1917, bringing to who had been involved in those difficult times.

TV sound man to help us get the boilers working and, just in time, managed to get enough hot water to make 600 cups of tea."

If you would like more information about Toc H Poperinge and Tubby's Poperinge Group, or if you wish to support the group or have ideas for joint activities, contact: Gregory White, Koestraat 69, B-8970 Poperinge, Belgium. Or email gregory2000be@yahoo.co.uk or katrien.kestier@scarlet.be or tubbysgroup@hotmail.com

, members decided to concentrate their energies on a children's party and team-building activities.

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Accept the Toc H challenge
June and July have been extremely full for members and staff, and have again demonstrated the richness of Toc H.
Toc H was fully represented in the events in London celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the end of World War II, by members who were veterans themselves. Also in the month there were tea dances, rallies, canal boat projects and events involving veterans and young people. In June I was involved in events celebrating refugee week, including two marvellous events in Croydon and Leicester (on the same day), when all the rich variety of life in Toc H today was demonstrated with the choir from Cochin, drummers from Africa, dancers from India and an audience drawn from twenty or more nations. In July I engaged in a 'board room' to the 'shop floor' experience by taking part in the canal boat trip. This was a powerful reminder of the richness of the Toc H experience, the dedication of Toc H staff and the commitment of Toc H members. member and volunteer from Bedford, is a campaign to encourage people separated by cultural and faith divides to share time together and in which Toc H can do what it does best - put the kettle on. By offering simple hospitality we can make a difference. The campaign will be active between the 11th of September and the 11th of November and will aim to promote - just by chatting over a cup of tea - a welcome in friendship.

Commitment
The boat carried a forty foot banner proclaiming 'Toc H Building Better Communities' and at each stopping point and lock I was told by passers-by: "Toc H! I used to know you when …" It was always their own or an immediate family member's experience that they recounted. Now we look ahead with two new national initiatives for Toc H. The first suggested by Mark Trotter, Development Officer in the South West, 'Do Something for a Change' Day, a national Toc H action day when every Toc H centre, branch, area or project will undertake an activity of community benefit on the same day. The date has not yet been set but will be shortly after Easter 2006. The second idea from Madeleine Fone, a Toc H

Friendship
I know how difficult change is and has been but there is nothing to be gained by cutting ourselves off from what Toc H can offer us. What we have in common is a commitment to 'the good thing thus begun' and to serving society in the future as Toc H has in the past, so please accept the challenge from Mark and from Madeleine and let’s get Toc H going again in 2006.

Geoffrey Smith

Point 3 deadline
Articles and letters from Toc H members are always welcome but the Editor reserves the right to shorten or amend them. We will try to include all material we receive but cannot guarantee publication. The deadline for the next Point 3 is October 6 2005.

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All aboard for the ‘Curley Wyrley’ canal boat treat
This summer Toc H arranged a month of memorable canal treks in the heart of England.
The trips ran throughout July from Leighton Buzzard to Derby, picking up groups of disabled children, their brothers and sisters, and carers. On 14 July, the boat sailed a stretch of canal known as the 'Curley Wyrley' - so called because of its many curves and bends - which runs from Wolverhampton to Brownhills. Children from Woodgate Valley Nursery School were among those enjoying action-packed trips drawing and playing games before docking at Bentley Bridge, Birmingham.

From left to right: Toc H inTOuCH Development Officer Maggie Gittleson and inTOuCH Youth Mentors David Hall, Rudolph Forde, and Patric Lewis visit the Toc H barge

Charity trustee Chris Williams said: "The trip gave children the chance to experience something very

different and was a real treat for everyone involved. It was a terrific success."

Helping Toc H beyond your lifetime
When I was asked to write an article about legacies, I decided to attempt to get to the heart of why they are so important to the future of Toc H by defining my own thoughts before I decided to leave money to Toc H. I have decided to leave some money to Toc H, and therefore I've been through the thought process which others - who are likely in the main not to work for Toc H - are likely also to have done. That means I hope I can understand and reassure you and others about points of information or clarification. or disadvantage in the same way as it would help poorer individuals, with fewer life chances.

How will my legacy be managed?
I am convinced that Toc H's mission is a worthy one. Its financial management is prudent and its volunteers, staff and trustees are passionate and committed. I am sure my legacy will make a difference to the people who will need my help. For more information please give me a call on 07970 376409, or e-mail me at joeg@toch.org.uk. Alternatively, you can write to me at Central Services, The Stable Block, The Firs, High Street, Whitchurch, Aylesbury, Bucks HP22 4JU

How will it affect Toc H?
I know that many people want details of how their legacy would make a difference to Toc H, positively affecting peoples' lives. There are many examples of how Toc H abides by the wishes of legators. In the last few years Toc H received approximately £90,000 from the will of a Toc H member in the West Midlands.This legator asked that the money be used for the general development of Toc H in that area, and it was used to buy a building in a deprived area of Birmingham, and to develop neighbourhood projects. Another Toc H member, who bequeathed £50,000, left instructions that the money be spent in Leigh. The legacy received was used to refurbish the Talbot Centre in the heart of Leigh, which continues to serve the needs of a very deprived community.

How will a legacy to Toc H affect my family?
I certainly thought about the economic impact on my own family. Ultimately, I drew the conclusion that whilst my family would enjoy a higher standard of living by benefiting from my estate without the legacy I had made to Toc H, the money would not save them from extremes of poverty

How to donate
If you would like more information on making regular payments, please contact the Finance Team on 01296 642020. Please remember that there are other ways of donating money. Give me a call if you need to know more. Joe Greene, Small Grants Fundraiser.

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Bringing people together
Madeleine Fone, who lives in the same village as Toc H Chief Executive, Geoff Smith, joined as a member two months ago. Madeleine, an accountant from the East of England, said: "I'm looking forward to the 'National Tea and Cake campaign', where I will invite people from different faiths to socialise. This will be taking place from the 11th of September to the 11th November. "I think that Toc H can make a big difference; they are very friendly, committed and definitely going places." Olive Bird, aged 77, has also joined. Olive has been aware of Toc H and its work for many years, and recalls going to her first group with friends about 18 months ago before recently deciding to join as a member. Olive said: "The group is well organised and very pleasant. I liked meeting everyone and enjoyed it thoroughly." Latest newcomer Sueanne Richardson has been a member of the organisation for just three weeks. Exnursery manager Sueanne, from Higham Ferrers, attended meetings for six months before deciding to join up. Sueanne said: "It's a really friendly group that does a lot of work helping the community. I enjoy helping out, and I'm looking forward to encouraging young people to sign up too. Toc H helps us to stay in touch with the local needs within the community, and helps bring people together." The full list of new members is: M R Christmas Felsted, Essex Linda Parker South East Robrecht Boone Belgium Madeleine Fone East of England Sueanne Richardson Higham Ferrers, East Midlands Olive Bird Cambridge

Tubby song gets Royal approval
Listening to a taped tour guide of Talbot House inspired singer/songwriter Les Sullivan to pen 'Forever in peace (the ballad of Tubby Clayton)' - a song which received a seal of royal approval from her Majesty the Queen Mother.
sat down to play directly outside Tubby Clayton's former bedroom. Les said: "When I finished playing, I was amazed to see the door from the bedroom slowly open, and I smelt the strong aroma of smoke in the air. We all know Tubby Clayton was a pipe smoker, and it was very mysterious."

Returning to the UK, Les recorded the song and sent a copy to one of Tubby Clayton's most famous Les became aware of Toc H seven friends, the Queen Mother. A short years ago when a friend studying the time later First he was World delighted War to receive returned a letter from a from her visit to office Talbot thanking House, him for the and song, and advised saying Les to how it go there Old friends: The Queen Mother and Reverend Tubby Clayton reminded himself, her of her and experience the special friend and founder of Toc H. atmosphere first-hand. Les has since been back to Talbot Les said: "Before my first trip to House 12 times, and plans to go Talbot House, I was given a taped again in November with a group of tour guide of the building. The history over 20 musicians. of the place and the way it was He said: "Every year we meet there, described on the cassette inspired and show the new visitors round the me to sit down and write the song." house and the battlegrounds. On the Les took his guitar to Poperinge and Saturday we sing, dance and play played it for the warden's approval. music and have a great time." What he didn't realise at the time, Les can be contacted through was that he had inadvertently his website www.howlingtoad.mysite. wanadoo.co.uk for any further information.
Inspired: Les Sullivan, who wrote the song

• Thanks to Point 3 reader Terry Gray for letting us know about Les and 'The ballad of Tubby Clayton'.

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Newspaper is the talk of the town
When the Toc H Enfield branch recorded Britain's first ever talking newspaper over four decades ago, little did they know how popular it would become - recently celebrating its 1,500th issue.
The Enfield Talking Newspaper (ETN) - which inspired a number of similar titles throughout the country was first recorded in 1961 from stories in the Enfield Gazette and Advertiser. Toc H member Patricia Allbutt was one of the original team of volunteers that recorded the news for the blind community. She said: "The idea was very innovative at the time. Our listeners were just glad to be able to catch up with local affairs. Blind people could get the news the same week it happened just like everyone else."

The serious business of spreading the news can have its funny side too (both photos by Anne-Marie Sanderson)

Toc H Enfield initially decided to produce the newspaper after hearing the blind community - which included three branch members were feeling increasingly cut off from local affairs. A team of ten branch members would record the news from weekly papers onto large spool tapes before driving the huge tape players round each home of 12 subscribers, leaving the machines The next edition of the Enfield Talking Newspaper being recorded overnight with

each listener. The free service became increasingly popular over the next 18 months, until it was eventually taken over by North London Tape Club, who were better equipped to deal with the increase in demand. Today the service - which became the Enfield Talking Newspaper company in the 1970s - reaches over 300 blind and partially sighted people in the borough, and is sent out on cassette tapes. Patricia added: "Talking newspapers are a feature of regions throughout Britain, but people don't necessarily know it was started by Toc H. It's been an amazing experience to be involved from the beginning and watch the paper grow."

New magazine to make a Point
Toc H is producing a new quarterly magazine that will inform people in the organisation and beyond, keeping them abreast of what's happening in society and the wider world. Readers of the magazine, Point Four, will be invited to contribute articles on contemporary issues based on their own experience and thoughts on current social policy. The new magazine will reflect the fourth point of Toc H's compass: 'to witness humbly, to work for a better world through the example of friendship, service and fairmindedness' in its various articles. Toc H Chief Executive Geoff Smith said: "Point Four will be a forum to offer reflection on general issues in society and, in particular, allow us to set the particular concerns of Toc H in the context of that reflection." Point Four is available through Central Services (details on the back page) and costs an annual fee of £10.

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A column in which we ask people connected with Toc H to reflect on...

Life, Toc H, the universe and all that stuff!
In the series which invites people with Toc H connections to talk about themselves, we meet Anne Puddicombe, who first became interested in Toc H activities when she was a teenager, and is now a member of the board of trustees.
hooked! In fact only last weekend we were at Odsall on Friday, Castleford on Saturday and Huddersfield on Sunday. And if that wasn’t enough to occupy any free time I might have I’m also a birdwatcher and I love reading. Against the backdrop of your past experience in Toc H, how do you view its current position? Toc H has undergone big changes and sometimes members, who rightly have a strong sense of ownership, have not liked all the changes. We all struggle with change, but it is my view that Toc H is moving forward in the right direction even though it may be a few years before all the positive effects of the changes are appreciated.
Anne displays some of her fancy needlework

How did you first become involved with Toc H and why? It was when I was 17 and at school in Brighouse that Bill Baines of the Toc H staff and Nigel Pratt, a long-term volunteer, came to talk to the school and Toc H sounded good. Nigel used to drive a double-deck bus - “the Plus Bus” - encouraging people to become involved. At first I wasn’t sure, but I had friends in a local action group and I decided to become a volunteer. And that was that. I haven’t looked back. How has your role changed over the years? Starting as a volunteer with an action group, I subsequently worked on various projects. I became a central councillor and, when I was 25, was appointed chairman of the North East Region. Young and keen, I graduated to the Central Executive Committee, but then I stepped back from it all for a while. My father died and my mother was ill. I was a match as a bonemarrow donor for my brother who had Hodgkinson’s Disease. Unfortunately, my brother died before I was able to be a donor. After a period away from Toc H activities, I decided I wanted to

get involved again, particularly with the TalbotCentre work. I was co-opted onto the board of trustees and am enthusiastically looking forward to the contribution we can make to the Toc H movement. What are your main interests? I have lots of interests, including needlework and paper craft. When things are a bit traumatic I like to relax by creating things, using different techniques. I have also a great interest in the Western Front which has continued from my visit to Talbot House. And rugby - I married a Bradford Bulls fan and now I’m

What ways can Toc H encourage new membership? Just through activities and demonstrating that Toc H is a movement which is alive and developing. I think in some ways it has stood still, with people feeling safe with where they are. The way to encourage new members is for Toc H to constantly challenge itself and to emphasise the opportunities and rewards of participation. What are your hopes for Toc H in the future? What better way of expressing those hopes than “With gallant and high hearted happiness move forward” from ‘The Happiness Poem’ by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Methods changed, but the Toc H spirit lives on
Hospital work which provided film shows, radio commentaries on local football matches, and home visits to the housebound were all part of the fellowship, service and fun shared by members of the Exeter branch. As its members have regretfully announced its closure, Chief Executive Geoff Smith says that today's Toc H continues the tradition of what was, in 1922, only the second branch to be formed outside London. He said: "Members still do so many of the same sort of worthwhile and selfless activities today, evolving into a modern Toc H which has new strengths and delivers in partnership with the government - but doesn’t forget the values of its founding members. The spirit hasn’t been compromised but the methods have changed and moved on."

Central Services: The Stable Block, The Firs, High Street, Whitchurch, Aylesbury, Bucks HP22 4JU T: 01296 642020 / 01296 640011 F: 01296 640022 E: info@toch.org.uk W: www.toch.org.uk Charity No. 211042


				
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