Christmas gifts for Weston lads at front in 1916

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The small village of Weston raised money to send Christmas presents to their “lads in khaki and blue” in 1916.

More than £40 had been raised, testament to what could be accomplished in a small village “when there is enthusiasm and unity”, according to the report.

It had been decided at a parish meeting to hold a social and sale of goods, and also to make collections in the village.

There was a common fund for both Weston St Mary and Weston Hills, though the latter village organised their own collections.

Miss Nellie Smith, Miss Thorold and other helpers who had been successful the previous year for the same mission had been entrusted with the arrangements again.

They had succeeded in collecting £9 7s in cash as well as a large quantity of goods which were sold at the social.

The vicar, who presided at the social, announced the reason for the gathering and hoped everyone had come “with their pockets well lined”.

The report said: “The schoolroom was crowded and it soon became evident that the audience were going to respond liberally to the chairman’s appeal.”

There were songs by Miss H Laws, Miss Truman, and Mr Fletcher, recitations by Mrs F Smith and Miss Dorothy Fletcher, and a violin solo by Mr Crampton, accompanied on the piano by Miss Cragg.

A variety of guessing competitions followed involving a pin cushion, a tea cosy, a doll, table centres, as well as a cake competition given by Mr J A Gibson. The “handsome” sum of £5 9s 7d was raised from the competitions, and a pig donated by Mr R M Fletcher brought in £6.

After the interval money “rolled in in shillings instead of coppers” as Mr T A White, of Spalding, sold everything from a puppy to a bag of potatoes.