The Lay Reader's Letter (written by Gordon Gray) extends the tradition of the Vicar's Letter which has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002
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Lay Reader's Letter

August/September 2010

Carnival Day may seem a lifetime ago, but my house today (7 July) has Carnival equipment to be put away and washing up from the Tea Tent still to be done. I have a long list of Carnival jobs, so please forgive the Carnival related theme of this article.

I wrote, in July, about my hopes for my grand-daughter and observed that, whilst the life we have been given is a wonderful gift, it is one that flies by all too quickly. That thought has been with me since, and it came to mind on Carnival Day. This year was my 22nd on the Carnival Committee and I realised that I have been 'doing' Carnival for more years than many of the youngsters who helped on the Green have been alive. Some I knew as new born babies - like my grand-daughter - yet, in what seems like only a moment, they have grown up before my eyes, becoming confident young adults capable of challenging and demanding jobs. It is so easy for us oldies to worry what will happen when we retire - well, on the evidence I saw on Carnival Day, I believe there are young people in our village community who will be entirely capable of building on what has been created.

Carnival, for me, is often about individual stories: A young teenager asked if she could help in the Tea Tent. I put her on the rota not even sure that she would turn up; but I saw her blossom on Carnival Day as a confident, smiling, enthusiastic adult - the classic fairytale story of the frog who turned into a Prince or, in this case, a Princess. Two young men behaved like superheroes, helping out all day, everywhere, wherever help was needed, and young girls worked all day, with a smile, at a hot BBQ.

Near the end of a long and tiring day it was a joy to see so many youngsters grab black sacks and help clear the Green of litter - we always try to leave it cleaner than we find it. To them, and to all who helped, my thanks along with those of the Parish Council, who wrote "Very many congratulations ... for tidying up the Green so efficiently; just a few hours after you would not have thought anything had been happening on the Green."

And when most people had gone, there remained a substantial pile of rubbish in front of the pavilion to be put in the skip. This has happened before and we have asked for help from teenage boys having a kick around. Usually they (very) rudely decline our request, and it is left to weary bodies to make one final effort. But this year the youngsters helped and the rubbish was quickly cleared.

Finally, on Carnival Day we had a considerable amount of 'found' property handed in by young people, some of which contained substantial sums of cash. Well done and thank you to all those honest youngsters.

I give thanks that God has showered us with so many blessings on Carnival Day, and pray especially for the coming generation who will pick up the baton from the present Carnival Committee. If you would like to help in any way next year please get in touch with me.

-- Gordon, Reader, St Mary's Eaton Bray


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About the Vicar's Letter

The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.

The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the area for these.