National Volunteers Week started on 1st June 2015 and to celebrate, Ferne Animal Sanctuary volunteer Gemma Beaton and Volunteer Co-ordinator Amanda Thornton decided to host a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at their site in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset.
Amanda Thornton said: “The Mad Hatters Tea Party was a celebratory event to say a massive thank you to all our fantastic volunteers. What better way to mark their dedication and generosity than to take them on a slightly bizarre adventure to Wonderland!”
“It was a fantastic event, beautifully planned out with a full cast of Wonderland characters from Alice to the Sleepy Dormouse, all played by members of staff and a few willing volunteers.
“The function room was gloriously decorated and laid out with teacups and cupcakes. There were quotes from the book all over the tables and playing card bunting in abundance making everyone truly believe they had fallen down the rabbit’s hole.
“Most of the volunteers turned up with crazy hats. Best Hat was awarded to Mo Cunnold from Chard for a fantastic teapot and tea cosy construction precariously perched upon his noggin!”
Many volunteers entered their homemade cakes into the Great Wonderland Bake Off, judged by none other than Mary Berry (Anne Richards) and Paul Hollywood (Paul Strawbridge, Ferne Animal Sanctuary’s Estates Manager).
Winners of the bake off were Emily Roberts and Jenny Broadly from Chard, with the group Sweet Surprise taking home the prestigious award of Star Bakers.
The tea party was swiftly followed with croquet in the sunshine. The lawn was laid out with a croquet circuit and a crazy croquet set, provided by top-notch croquet players, Stephen Custance-Baker from Taunton Dean Croquet Club with help from Sue and Alan Lyn from Dowlish Wake Croquet Club.
“Everyone agreed that trying to get the ball into the bucket in the Crazy Croquet was harder than first thought, although highly entertaining. Nobody wanted to win though, as the Queen of Hearts (Elaine Hayes, Ferne Animal Sanctuary’s CEO) was playing and would probably have been less than impressed.
“There was, however, a tasty bottle of wine for the winner, Vicki Yellowley from Lyme Regis. She happily reports that she was not harmed by ‘Her Majesty’”, said Amanda.
She continued: “We must thank Recycling In Ottery (RIO) for kindly lending us crockery, all the volunteers, croquet tutors and everyone who pitched in or donated their time and teapots in order to make this event possible.
“The party was a massive success. We hope to see our volunteers around the same time next year for another fabulous event. But how do we top this one….?”