The Abingdon Peace Group gathered at St Ethelwold’s House on Sunday afternoon to celebrate 43 years of campaigning for peace. The event was attended by past and present members of the group and friends from other peace groups nearby.
A display of photos, leaflets, and newsletters from the group’s history gave a glimpse into the group’s work over the years. A few of the people in attendance had been involved with the group since its early days.
One of them, Sally Reynolds, the group’s secretary, was presented with a Pax Christi Peace Award, which celebrates the work and commitment of peacemakers in the UK. Sally said she received the award on behalf of the group and thanked everyone for their support over the years.
The group also held a vigil at 8:15am on Sunday morning, the time the bomb exploded over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. This vigil was held in memory of the victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to call for a world without nuclear weapons.
The event also included a tribute to Mike Bloom, the group’s chairman and editor of the newsletter, who died a few days ago. His loss will be deeply felt by the Abingdon Peace Group.
The Grand Easter Raffle, in aid of Abingdon Community Hospital League of Friends, was drawn today at St Helen’s Church Hall. The Friends raise funds for equipment which is not provided by the NHS. Now more than ever, our local hospital needs the community’s support in these difficult times.
In 1998, a new committee took over the fundraising from an ageing committee that retired “en bloc”. Now that the ‘new committee’ has reached retirement age, they are looking for younger volunteers to work with them to continue the excellent work the charity has achieved.
If you would like to support the hospital and help the charity, you are welcome to become a member for a subscription of £5.00 a year. Please contact Phil Selby, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for more details.
At the recent Abingdon Town Council parish meeting, there was a report by the Abingdon Citizens Advice Bureau. (Here are my notes.)
South and Vale Citizens Advice is a local charity with advice hubs at Abingdon, Didcot, Henley and Thame, and they have to fundraise locally. They received funds from Abingdon Town Council, the two district councils, most other parish councils, and other groups. 123 volunteers help give free impartial advice, and a small staff team support the service.
Demand for advice has soared because of the cost-of-living crisis; the complexity of cases has increased. Some people are overwhelmed by problems. Citizens Advice have about 4000 clients in the Abingdon office, and the biggest demand comes from the Caldecott area. The most frequent issues are: benefits, fuel debt (a new issue and now second most frequent), and council tax arrears. More people need food banks and fuel support.
The data they collect on issues locally help in campaigning nationally. In 2022 Citizens Advice saw more people who couldn’t top up their prepayment meter than in the whole of the last 10 years combined. This helped lead their recent campaign on pre-payment meters.
There was mainly online support during Covid restrictions, but now more support is being given face-to-face.
Bob was a popular entertainer, with singing and a few jokes, at the Trinity Evergreens Christmas Party. Bob said it had been his first performance in three years, since the start of the Covid pandemic. The afternoon also included a Secret Santa gift exchange, food, and carols.
The Evergreens at Trinity Church meet on the third Monday of every month. They have been able to arrange transport by taxi to and from the Club when and where it was needed for members, thanks to the generosity of a grant from the Oxfordshire Community Foundation. At the end of the summer, this enabled a visit to Millets Garden Centre.
The Mayor of Abingdon, Cllr Andy Foulsham, will host a party for Abingdon residents aged 70 and over at the Hilton Garden Inn. The Hilton Garden Inn has generously provided a free venue and refreshments.