A poem for Capel Ladies’ Club

Hope everyone reading this is keeping well and safe in these strange times. By now we are getting used to this different way of living, but at the same time we all miss normality and seeing neighbours, friends and family up close and personal! I’ve been really impressed how the situation has brought out such a wonderful community spirit in Capel! People looking out for each other and willing to help with shopping or be a friendly voice on the phone…

My hope is that it will continue when this is all over, which I’m sure it will. I personally am missing Capel Ladies Club and the outside interests and friendship connections it brings us members each month, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. So, Ladies, chin up – stay safe and carry on! In the words of the song –

“We’ll meet again
Don’t know where
Don’t know when
But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day!

Keep smiling through
While you’re hand-washing too
‘Till the Doctors drive the virus far away!”

Sue Woolgar

5th Mar | My Tutu Went AWOL – Iestyn Edwards

Our March meeting encapsulated both a visit to the ballet AND the opera, with some comedy thrown in – so it was an all-round experience! This was thanks to an extraordinary performance by Iestyn (pronounced Yes-tin) Edwards, a stage and TV writer/performer, and also a published poet and journalist. He has found fame as the character Madame Galina, Prima Ballerina, and he has even entertained troops in Iraq and Afghanistan!

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Quite a career – and an evening with a difference for Capel Ladies! Adorned in a white tutu, tights and pink satin ballet shoes, Iestyn made his entrance with a graceful ballet display ending in a pirouette and graceful curtsy, to the sound of enthusiastic applause!

He astonished us further by singing two or three songs, a couple to some recorded piano accompaniment and then one totally unaccompanied – in an operatic style. We were amazed by the power and depth of his singing voice, but of course he is Guildhall trained and he knows his stuff!

He says he enjoys entertaining others although he gets very nervous before performing, even though he has been doing it for nearly 50 years! His father was a country and western singer who used to take Iestyn on stage with him when Iestyn was only four. Later, Iestyn was a member of Southwark Cathedral choir and eventually attended the Guildhall School of Music.

20200305_202257Prior to this he worked for a year as front of house at London’s Covent Garden Opera House, and it was there where he saw his first ballet, Swan Lake. He befriended the lady who ran the bookstall in the foyer of the Opera House, who happened to be an ex-ballerina herself, and she would teach him some of the moves and routines from Swan Lake in the foyer during performances! Thus he added the ballet moves to his repertoire, and the tutu followed!

He loves to tell anecdotes about his colourful career… he has entertained the Queen on board HMS Victory at a special dinner for the Battle of Trafalgar, and this got him noticed by the armed forces. He imagined that he would be giving shows to the Combined Services Entertainment gigs for the officers’ mess at the Hilton, Park Lane, but was shocked to find that he had agreed to go out to war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan to entertain the troops there!

His act became very popular and he has since written a book about his experiences, some of which we heard about at our meeting. Sufficient to say he gave us a very entertaining evening with lots of laughter and amusement as well as admiration for his singing and graceful pirouetting!

Iestyn’s grand finale was ably assisted by his glamorous assistant Mary Butters!

20th Feb | Indian meal at Zaynab

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In mid-February a small group of Capel Ladies gathered at Zaynab, our local Indian restaurant, for an evening meal. It was a very enjoyable occasion with delicious food and friendly service. For some of us it was the first time we had tried Indian restaurant food but I’m sure it won’t be the last!

6th Feb | Talk on Oxygen Therapy Treatment

Our February meeting began, unusually, with a deferred AGM, due to poor attendance at the official AGM in January where not enough members were present for a quorum, so we could not vote on any official business.

However, even after a heartfelt appeal from our chairlady, Rose Chiverton, no-one volunteered to be on the new committee or to take on any of the main jobs. This resulted in the sad decision to close the club after this year’s final meeting in December. The whole of the 2020 Programme has already been arranged and the present committee said they will oversee the running of the club for its final months to see this out, but as from January 2021 Capel Ladies Club will no longer exist!

This momentous decision, although agreed on by all those present, comes after another successful year in 2019 and a celebratory 50th birthday in 2018! Maybe it’s still not too late, if a whole clutch of new members was to join us… so watch this space!

Now to our Speakers for the evening…. Audrey Sparling and Victoria Barber had come to talk to us about a charity which provides the little-known treatment of Oxygen Therapy to people suffering a wide variety of conditions.

Audrey Sparling and Victoria Barber of the Suffolk Oxygen Therapy Centre accept a cheque for £50 from Capel Ladies’ Club. The Centre is the Club’s chosen charity for 2020.

Oxygen Therapy involves breathing pure, medical grade oxygen for one hour at a time whilst sitting in a pressurised chamber. The idea was founded 36 years ago by a Dundee deep-sea diver and Multiple Sclerosis sufferer who, when recovering from “the bends” in his pressure chamber, found that it helped relieve symptoms of his M.S.

For more than thirty-five years this charity has been providing Oxygen Therapy at their centre near Ipswich, (one of 65 such centres in the country), treating conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, some forms of cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, Parkinson’s, Arthritis and many more. In addition they offer post-operative therapy, and also treat professional sportspeople, footballers, motorcyclists and marathon runners who are keen to speed up injury recovery times. This technology is well-established and has a long history, and while it does not claim to cure any condition it has been found to be of great benefit to many of them.

The centre began as one chamber on the back of a lorry in Ipswich Docks, first as a Multiple Sclerosis therapy centre, but expanded as it was found other conditions needed help too, and it moved to an industrial estate in Great Blakenham.

On site they have three spacious, purpose-built chambers in portacabins, which can provide therapy for up to 16 people at a time, and the centre is staffed by fully-trained operators and supported by a team of willing volunteers. A doctor’s referral is not necessary by they do ask that you notify your GP if you wish to undergo some Oxygen Therapy. One of the Speakers, Victoria Barber, is a Lupus sufferer, and has found the treatment has helped relieve many of her symptoms

They are currently engaged in a programme of improvements to upgrade their premises, and their eventual aim is to have a permanent brick-built centre, although this could take up to ten years! The organisation is funded entirely by donations from their members and supporters, and through fund-raising events – they receive no state funding whatsoever.

This good cause has been adopted by Capel Ladies as our charity for 2020, and after a most interesting talk a cheque for £50 was presented to Audrey and Victoria on our behalf. If you are interested to find out more about Oxygen Therapy please visit the charity’s website at www.SuffolkOxygenTherapy.co.uk or give them a call on 01473 830359.

16th Jan | A.G.M.

Unfortunately, the attendance was rather poor at our scheduled A.G.M. and there were only 14 people present, not enough for a quorum. We decided that we would do all the A.G.M. business at our next meeting, starting 15 minutes earlier than usual.

In spite of this we had an enjoyable evening with a “Raucous Raffle” game followed by refreshments with home-made cakes and special biscuits provided by the outgoing committee members.

Fingers crossed we will have sufficient numbers at our February meeting to form a new committee and keep the club running!

10th-12th Jan | Festival of Trees & Lights

The regular biennal Festival of Trees & Lights was held in St Mary’s Church as usual this year. There were over 20 beautifully decorated Christmas trees which, following this year’s theme of Famous Buildings Round the World, were each displaying appropriate items to give clues to their particular building. Quiz sheets were available at a cost of £2 each to fill in the correct names, and monies raised will go towards the restoration of the East window which is in need of repair.

Three members of Capel Ladies – Di Barker, Shirley Ward and Pat Bradford, decorated our tree to represent the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona.

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19th Dec | Christmas Social in the Vine Lounge

As the evening unfolded at our Christmas Social we were entertained by Jonathan Huggins, an Origami expert, and his twin teenage daughters Shannon and Georgina.

The first thing Jonathan told us was that he works with the Chinese method of Origami, also known as 3D Origami, which uses small pieces of folded coloured paper that slide together to form modules and shapes.

20191219_194301In 1993, a group of Chinese refugees were detained on the ship Golden Venture and held in an American prison, where they began making elaborate models using traditional Chinese modular paperfolding using materials such as magazine covers, and then these models were given to those helping the refugees and sold at charity fundraisers. Media coverage of the refugees helped popularize this traditional Chinese modular folding worldwide, which became known as ‘Golden Venture folding’.

We first had to learn how to make the basic triangular modules, and then Jonathan and his very talented daughters helped us each to create our own Origami flower from multiple modules. After this – which was fun and took a great deal of concentration, we had the chance to buy some of the very attractive and colourful Origami models which Jonathan and the girls had made, and which were on display for us to see. They donated 10% of these takings to Capel Ladies Club.

Then it was time for the tasty buffet, after which we each chose our Secret Santa gift from the sack. The Christmas multi-prize raffle was drawn, and finally came the Members’ Draw for the well-stocked Christmas Hamper, which was won by Pat Bradford. An enjoyable evening, which ended with a piece of advice from Jonathan Huggins – “Don’t water your flowers, Ladies!”

Our next get-together is the AGM when we will select our new Committee.

– Sue Woolgar