News and thank you's; 2017 WRA Hogroast

Our community Christmas Hog Roast on Saturday December the 2nd, was once again great fun, well attended and a wonderful way to meet our neighbours and start the festive season.  This was our 7th Christmas event and we get a little better organised each year. At the same time there is still a lot of work, as well as fun, involved for a great many people so it's important to include a long list of 'thank-yous' while we review the event and admire the pictures.
First on the list has to be the volunteer team who helped to put up the marquees, string the lights, move all the equipment and get things ready before the event. Particularly thanks to Gabe and Rob for helping put up the marquees, in the rain, at lunchtime on Saturday. Stuart came along with Kathy to put up lights, and Raquel, Alex,and many more helped to build our amazing marquees. 
The two new marquees were purchased with a grant from one of our ward councillors, Tom Landell Mills. Thank you Tom!

Father christmas inviting dhildren to choose books
Alex helped Father Christmas cope with his heavy December schedule this year.  He also keeps track of WRA finances and puts the newsletters together. 

The WRA spiced apple juice and mulled wine team
Diane, Raquel, Moira and Kathy made and served mulled wine and spiced apple juice for at least 200 people.

The WRA Roast Hog team
Richard, once again, created the amazing infrastructure we use for these events and then served food all evening and directed the clean-up.  He is here with Roy from the Arden Pig company, who provided the delicious roast hog and carved it on the night.

Henry McGuinness was the solo guitarist who provided delightful, unique guitar music for all of us. You can sometimes also hear him play on Cornmarket in Oxford.

Oxford University Brass Band
The Oxford University Brass Band played more gorgeous music and volunteered 3 intrepid members to sit and play on top of the narrow boat that delivered Father Christmas to our event.

Claus provided the wine, supported the drinks team, ran hundreds of errands and helped to keep the MC sane before and during the event.

Father Christmas arriving in style on NB Songlines
Mike gave Father Christmas a lift in his narrowboat, Songlines with the 3 brave OU Band members on top! Vic and Gabe helped him crew the boat, string the lights and rig up an amazing spotlight!  Songlines is moored a little further up the canal, towards the St Edwards playing fields and Vic’s boat is closer to EJ Way bridge.  The narrow boat community are an important part of our neighbourhood and help to keep the towpath route to Wolvercote open and safe for walkers and cyclists.

Father Christmas arriving in style
Lovely picture from Sarah of Father Christmas arriving on the boat with the band.

Serving crepes to lots of hungry people
Alexandra and Marek kept the crepes coming even when faced with massive line-ups.

the green beautifully lit up for the WRA community Hogroast with NB Songlines in the foreground.
An big 'thank you' to Sarah Sturt, the Values Champion, from Carillion construction. Carillion provided the lights and generator that make this event possible.

Santa's Elves

Santa and his elves
Monica, Viv, Hilary, Pat, Eddy and Clive, all helped Santa make sure that Waterways children could choose a book for Christmas.

Carol singing with the band
The Woodstock road Baptist Church team came along to lead carol singing and dispense Christmas treats and seasonal good wishes for the event. If we go back in time a little way, WRBC arranged for youth leaders for the Waterways when the neighbourhood was brand new and young families had just moved in. This leadership helped us to grow our sense of community and it was Justin, one of those youth leaders, who first suggested a Hog Roast event and helped us plan the first ever Waterways Christmas event back in 2011.
Adrian took all these lovely pictures for us to share and remember an enjoyable evening.

Father Christmas says goodbye for this year
Eventually Father Christmas had to move on to his next appointment of the weekend. He's a busy man at this time of year.

Probably the biggest 'Thank you' goes to the extra volunteers who stayed behind and, in one case, came along specially, to help us take down the marquees and lights, move the furniture, load all the equipment and clean up the site.  It was all done in an hour this year because we had such willing help from  Gabor, Geoff, Pat and Eddy, Gabe, Eban, Roger and Andy as well as the WRA team.

The clean-up continued the following day as Diane spent the morning clearing the litter from the green. She reported there was very little this year – well done everyone for using the black bags! Later in the day Richard, Moira, Claus and Wendy continued the process of drying equipment and marquees and packing them away for next year.

The WRA volunteer team, plus all the extra helpers who come along, make our community events possible. Ben and Donna Lipsky have also been stalwart helpers at WRA events for several years. They will return to the US in 2018 and we will miss them.

The donations collected during the evening fund part of the costs of running this event. Further support comes from significant cash donations from two Waterways residents. In previous years we have also received equipment donations from local charities and contributions from our councillors.

The bulk of this year’s WRA funding came from the rental fees paid by the individuals and groups who use the Waterways Community room.  It’s very rewarding to see our community space used so regularly and we are grateful to Claus who donates his time to manage the room, organise the booking system and co-ordinate requirements for everyone who uses the facility.

The WRA planning and organising team for this year’s event were Richard Dorey, Raquel Stremme, Alex Stremme, Claus Spoerel, Kathy Mumby-Croft, Wendy Stone and Diane Wilson.  Please let any of them know if you have suggestions for future years, and if you can help with future Waterways community events.  This team each donate several days of their time to make the arrangements for community events every year, so all feedback is helpful in the planning process.

The WRA team would like to wish all our Waterways neighbours a Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. We look forward to seeing you all again at our community events in 2018.