Miracles do happen -

but usually because of much planning and sheer, tough hard work. Thus we raised £25,321.13 (after expenses £24,192) at our 10th GIANT CHARITY BOOK FAIR in April 2011, so the total went up again, as it has done every year, from the modest, but, even then, gratifying figure of over £2000. We were bewildered in 2001 by the quantity, and often the quality, of donations and struggled to cope with the organisation. Year by year we have learnt by experience and usually found solutions to problems, such as how to profit considerably from the mountains of left-overs! More space and selling-time have helped us to cope, though not yet completely, with the sheer volume of the "stock" (we talk rather like shop-keepers now!), we have built good relationships with a lot of book-dealers, successfully encouraged able-bodied donors to bring their piles to EMC rather than involving our busy collectors unnecessarily, and extended and improved our advertising.

Those are some of the reasons for our steadily increasing success, but the bed-rock of it all is the dedication, energy and cheerfulness of our volunteers. We reckon at least 100 people were involved in various ways this year. Some of the jobs need specific time-commitment, such as shifting books from the sorting area to the stalls for selling, taking money at the entrance or the tills or the raffle, doing the excellent catering, for hours, and setting up the tables for displaying books and music. Other jobs are on flexi-time, with no clocking on or off (just "Sorry, I have to water the plants/ visit my mum/ meet a friend at Gatwick/ look after the grandchildren for an hour/...?... Back later!)

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the sorters who do such an essential job. Our careful organisation, unusual at charity book fairs, is widely admired and a strong factor in our success. And then there are the "road walkers" with handfuls of our orange leaflets, which really are genuinely looked out for year by year by many people; there was some real disappointment when the leaflets did not come through letterboxes early this year in preparation for our usual February date.

There are many other jobs with which we do have some help, secretarial, for instance, or delivering specifically targeted advertising, and others such as putting up labels at the Fair and collecting tables which we borrow from, and have to return to, schools and other churches. Occasionally, people think we're so well organised that we don't need any more help! Not so! To use a familiar analogy, there's sometimes hectic paddling beneath the surface of the swan's serene swimming. We'll be glad of more help.

Our Book Fair Celebration Lunch on May 8th had a bit of a warm after-glow, with the phrase "It's fun" being frequently heard, but there were also some welcome ideas for improvement to consider. Another key word is "friendly", used of our big team of workers and often by our customers. The Book Fair enhances our reputation as an outgoing and approachable church.

Over the years we've shared the profits, in varying proportions, between the EMC Development Appeal and Action for Children. This year 10% - £2,420 - has gone to Action for Children; over the 10 years, we have raised £24,903  for Action for Children. We have greatly valued the hard work of those whose main objective has been to support Action for Children and in 2012 all the profits will go to that vital organisation.

Next year's selling dates are THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16th to SATURDAY 18th, with sorting beginning on WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8th. See you there?

The Book Fair Committee: Janet de Bourcier, Audrey Oldfield, Jacqui Raggett, Chris Watts


photographs are with thanks to Pat and Graham Lavers of Surbiton Methodist Church

Jacqui Raggett and the Mayor of Epsom and Ewell

Councillor Clive Smitheram, Epsom & Ewell Borough Councilís Mayor

Below are shown the tasks carried out to sort the books and the pre opening for the very welcome book dealers

The BIG SORTING, From 5 p.m. on Wednesday April 6th through to Wednesday 13th, all day and into the evening, our dedicated, very sociable, group of people who were sorting books into categories for the various stalls.

One of 50 dealers signing his cheque.

The largest cheque received that night was for £1400.

Some of the dealers ready for their viewing

Another dealer

sorting books into categories for the various stalls.

Endless sorting of books after early deliveries.

The Book Fair Committee:

Janet de Bourcier, Audrey Oldfield, Jacqui Raggett, Chris Watts

It appears to be a super market delivery for books!


photographs are with thanks to Pat and Graham Lavers of Surbiton Methodist Church