Countdown To Christmas – Episode 03

HEADS around the room nodded. The fund-raising had occupied the whole village over months. Everyone had become involved, from the youngsters in the Brownies to the residents of the sheltered housing flats, and it was a point of immense pride that the community had pulled together and achieved their goal.Now here they were, sitting in one of the meeting-rooms of that very centre, a modern multi-purpose facility for the village that had been very well used ever since it opened.“So it was built a little late . . . but it was built, that’s the important thing,” Ted finished, to a small round of applause from the assembly. “And it was built to celebrate the millennium, hence the name.”“I see. Thank you.” The young woman who had posed the question smiled round the room and sat down.“If I may continue,” Ted said, an officious little tone creeping into his voice. “Can I have some suggestions for a suitable celebration? We ” he glanced right and left to include his fellow committee members “ thought perhaps a panto.”“Oh, no!” a voice from the floor protested, and a plump young woman stood up. “The school always does a panto. It’s ‘Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs’ this year my laddie told me at tea tonight. They’ve already done the auditions! He’s playing Dopey,” she added with maternal pride.“How about a dance?” someone else suggested from the back of the room.“Can’t be done.” A male voice spoke up. “The bowling club’s having a dance-fundraiser. We can’t be dividing the ticket sales with a second Christmas do. Folk don’t have the money for two dances at that time of year.”“Fair point,” Ted agreed, to nods from the committee. “Anyone else have any ideas?” he asked. “Something different, perhaps, original?” “We tried that in summer, with the village mini-Olympics, and look where that got us,” a gruff voice muttered. “The cottage hospital was overrun with strains and sprains!”There was a long silence as everyone looked at everyone else, until finally the young woman who had queried the timing of their celebration raised her hand, looking diffident.“Well, you I mean we, could always put on a show.”Ted glanced at his tablemates for help, and got raised eyebrows and curious shrugs in return.“A show?” he asked, looking out to the assembly again. “What do you mean, lass?”The woman stood up and reddened as she realised everyone was staring at her some curious, some sceptical, but, thankfully, some with genuine interest.“Well,” she began, and cleared her throat. “My name’s Megan Stubbs and as I said, I’ve only been here since last month. I came to teach at the junior school and I take the Rainbows, too.” “Nice to meet you, Megan. Welcome to Helmshill.” Ted gave her an encouraging smile. “Now tell us about this idea of yours. What kind of a show did you have in mind?”His warm words seemed to give her courage.“I was thinking of a Christmas variety show. I know from taking the Rainbows in one of the rooms here that the hall is used by all sorts of organisations the Brownies and the Scouts, fitness and dance classes, sports clubs and the history society. I’m sure that, between us, we’ve all sorts of unsung talents.“For example, I know the Brownies and the Rainbows would love to put together a little dance routine . . .”“Dolores’s tap-dance class could do one, too!” someone put in.“The choir could maybe do some show tunes,” a woman in the row behind Megan suggested, nodding eagerly. “We rehearse here because it’s warmer than the church.”A buzz ran around the room as more ideas were thrown into the mix.“My Daniel could perform some of his magic tricks!”“Paul and Susan from the bowling club sing just like Peters and Lee, I’ve heard them on the karaoke nights. They could do a turn!”“I bet old Charlie from the pub would tell us a few jokes though we’ve probably heard most of ’em already!”“Twice!” one wag quipped.Ted sat back to fiddle with his pen and let the ideas flow around him while the secretary took rapid notes.When the hubbub seemed to have died down he stood up, looking pleased.“It sounds like we have a plan. All in favour of a show?” Every hand in the place shot up.“All we need now, then, is an organising committee. Can I have some volunteers, please?”


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