Christmas spirit in Crawley

Mayor's column
Mayor's column

Last week I was beaten by time in completing my log of the week’s activities,

I will start this from Saturday 29th November, on arrival at Tilgate Park I was met by a crowd of runners from Tilgate Saturday Park Run, who had come to see the opening of the Crawley Green Gym, an array of very sturdy gym equipment set outside for anyone, young or old, large or small to use. After cutting the ribbon, I was invited to try out the equipment and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was, of course one or two pushes is not going to turn me into a gym bunny, but as someone who does not enjoy a conventional gym I can certainly see the attraction of exercising outside in the beautiful surroundings of Tilgate Park. Just another great idea for public benefit from the borough council and the Wellbeing Team.

In the late afternoon I duly attended in the High Street to welcome, the annual London to Brighton Sleigh pull, after waiting for over half an hour, with just one mother and daughter, we decided that our venue information was incorrect, I subsequently learned that the sleigh pull had gone straight to Crawley Town Football Club, missing out the High Street. Nevertheless I wish them well in this amazing feat and hope they collected a large sum of money along the route for wounded service personnel.

Saturday evening saw Jim and I attending Maria’s Grand Charity Dinner and Dance in aid of the League of Friends of Crawley Hospitals and Manor Green Schools. Some 450 people had bought tickets for this glittering event at The Effingham Park Hotel. With great entertainment from Eve Ozmen and Debs Belly Dancers, after a three course meal and a wonderful raffle and auction, most people took to the floor to dance of their dinner.

The magnificent sum of £4,500 was raised for these local charities. Congratulations once again to Maria and her team of helpers.

Sunday afternoon, we were invited to attend a charity bazaar at Maidenbower Community Centre, organised by local Muslim mums to raise funds for Ummah Welfare Trust, which supports adopting a orphan for education funding, Clean Water for the World. Encouraging business venture and growing their own food in poorer countries across the World. Three cousins had pulled together an amazing array of stands selling beautiful jewellery, cloths, toys, books, and food from several countries, Sri Lanka, Pakistan India, and others, the food was amazing, curries, barbecue lamb kebabs, spring rolls, beef patties, samosa’s, cakes deserts jellies sweets, even the children had their own stalls selling sweets all donated for the charity, running a ‘decorate your own cup cake’ stall, face painting glitter tattoos.

Three Bridges playgroup ran a crèche and play centre for the children and there was a brisk trade in chips, which had been donated along with the cooking oil for the charity funds. These young women and their families, run the own business’s, do full time jobs, raise their children, look after their families and combine all this with their faith, tradition, cultures and still find time to work for those less fortunate than we are in Britain. The warmth and generosity to us was heart-warming. I am so proud of all our young volunteers and charity workers, I say this every week, and every week, I learn more and more about our amazing town.

The new weeks and new month started in true Christmas spirit with an invitation to Gatwick Airport to Launch their 40th Annual Christmas Charity Appeal, local dignitaries and Gatwick staff and officers were joined by Sally Gunnell who is Patron of The Chestnut House Children’s Hospice, one of Gatwick’s Charities this year. Children and families were also on hand to receive gifts from Father Christmas. Ifield Community Choir and Drummers, played and sang Carols and Traditional songs around a huge sparkling Christmas Tree. Gatwick’s other two charities are Cancer Research UK and Gatwick Travel Care, a charity which supports the needs of distressed passengers at Gatwick. Three very worthwhile causes. I hope they raise lots of money for them.

This week continues to be very busy and I will continue this column next week before it becomes too long.