Me and Meghan Markle
28th May 2018
Ok so the post's title is well sexier than the content but here's the thing. I'm on the village church fete committee. I know, can it get more exciting than that? However, it's a bit like the Vicar of Dibley but in the real world.
In short, I am charged (with the committee) to organise the church fete to raise funds to oversee the repair works of the four churches in our parish.
Am I religious? No. Was I raised in a religious family. Yes. Do I understand the value of a vicar in our village? Absolutely. He visits any newcomers and welcomes them in a way that suits them, not our middle class values. He visits the elderly who are lonely, he works with foodbanks and comforts the many who lose their loved ones in this village. We are of a certain age.
So every year, yours truly is in charge of publicity. There was the year you could sign a shingle that would then be attached to the roof of the church forever - we've got four tiles up there although some families went with one. Every little helps.
Last year - dear Lord - I ran the fashion stand. I'm blaming the poor takings on the weather but it's highly likely to be my lack of aptitude for fashion. I have no idea over fashion.
Anyway, this year, I've written to the new Duchess of Sussex. We haven't had one for years. Our nearest Duke is down the road - Duke of Norfolk - which none of us can understand why his seat is in Sussex? Clearly, must be some sort of rumblings around the Tudor time but it does seem very odd.
So, quick run through for the new Duchess - Sussex is made up of East and West. Two counties, both of whom think we are superior to the other. We love each other, but we each know we are top dog. East has Brighton, West has Petworth House. Need I say more? Prince Charles doesn't stay in Brighton but he does stay at Petworth House - just saying.
Anyway. The point is Church fetes need to raise funds. We have to do so to pay for the upkeep of the churches and one of the ones in our parish has the oldest medieval paintings in the UK. Can't let that go.
So, yours truly wrote to said Duchess as follows:
"We are but a small parish in the counties of Sussex who wanted to both congratulate you on your recent nuptials and to invite you to open your very first Church Fete in Sussex.
"The Church of England Parish of St John the Evangelist, Bury, has been in existence since the 11th Century. We oversee the health of four churches including one that has the oldest medieval church paintings in the UK.
"Hoorah! We are lucky enough to have a vicar, which isn’t a given these days but, alas, we have to raise an amount each year to keep him. We, in our Sussex village, know that you would not want us not to have a vicar.
"Our church fete is on Saturday 28th July and we cordially invite you to open our fete to help us raise funds for the diocese.
"We have traditional stalls including Splat the Rat, which, we think HRH the Duke of Sussex would thoroughly enjoy, a cake stall, a “boutique” (sadly not quite like Harvey Nichols) and the Petworth Town Band to jolly us along. In short, would you consider opening it?
"Think of it as a Tailgate with other things to purchase.
"Church fetes are the mainstay of funding Church life throughout England and we do hope that if you make a foray into these events, you pick a Sussex one first. However, if you feel unable to attend would you possibly consider sending us a very small item that we could auction instead? A small notebook, an old scarf, indeed one of your first autographs as the Duchess of Sussex would do very nicely indeed. We are asking all our friends for items to donate so thought we’d ask you, as a friend to Sussex Churches, as well.
"We accept that our cause isn’t as newsworthy as some, but we are a small group of village volunteers working hard to assure the survival of our churches. We have many elderly residents here and our vicar is a good sort with an extraordinary ability to keep quiet while they chat whilst administering the right noises without interrupting. What a man!
"In short, welcome to Sussex, one of the loveliest parts of the UK and we wish you well. If you can help us in any way, we would be absolutely thrilled.
Let's see what she says shall we?