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St Columba’s Church H.A.N.D.S. Ladies and Pearey House

On the day of the Féte, cars were loaded with scones, cakes, crockery, cutlery, folding tables and anything else needed.

In 1978 a new group for the younger ladies of St Columba’s Church was formed and took the name H.A.N.D.S. (Here And Now Doing Something) with the aim of being active in the church and in the local community. Shortly after our formation we were approached by Alan Rowley who asked if we would take over providing the teas at the Pearey House Féte from the ladies of Howdon Methodist Church, and we agreed.

Photo showing Pearey House garden prepared for the summer garden fete

Pearey House garden ready for the fete

Photo of the Lord Mayor at the summer fair.

The Lord Mayor at the summer fair

We served individual plates of sandwiches, cakes and scones made by our members, and cups of tea were poured. Teas were served in the garden unless the weather was unsuitable. After a few years it was realised that people would prefer to have things offered separately, so we started selling sandwiches, cakes and scones at 5p each. Cups of tea were 20p. Over time the number of sandwiches sold reduced, and they were eventually discontinued.

On the day of the Féte, cars were loaded at St Columba’s Church in Northumberland Square with scones, cakes, crockery, cutlery, folding tables and anything else needed for the day, and transported to Pearey House at Preston Park. Some of our members volunteered to serve teas, while others worked in the kitchen making pots of tea and doing the washing up. Other church members served on the cake stall in the garden.

The arrangements have continued for over 40 years, although with some changes. Pearey House now provides all the equipment needed and the teas are served in the house.

The young ladies of H.A.N.D.S. are not all quite so young and fit now, and we have fewer members these days, but we hope to be able to continue to bake cakes and scones and serve teas at the Féte as long as we are needed.

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