Epsom BookFair 2012

Again we're rejoicing in the success of our Giant Book Fair. The event is now widely respected among book dealers who come to a trade preview on the evening before we open to general buyers on the Thursday morning. Some of the book dealers travel a long way, so we welcome them with a cup of coffee and a biscuit before they hone in on the stock, staggering out a few hours later with bulging bags and boxes of their purchases for which they have paid, this year, more than £8000. There is still a vast quantity of books, DVDs, CDs, records and sheet music waiting for the crowds who come the next day. This year we took £8376 on Thursday 16th and by the end of the week the total was £25,222.94, including the small entrance fee (no charge for children and students), the raffle and the excellent refreshments. We are very grateful to K.T.Partnership who gave us £1500 towards our expenses, and so increased our profits.

We take seriously the rare adverse comments about any aspect of the event and make improvements if we can the following year.  Over the 11 years of the Book Fair we have evolved to solve or minimise problems, and the overall feeling among visitors can fairly be represented by two visitors this year. One perennial buyer - allow for exaggeration here! - said

"This Book Fair is what makes living in Epsom worthwhile"!

And a lady bought books worth £4.60 and gave us £80; "Keep the change," she said. "I had a secure and happy childhood and I just can't imagine what some of these children go through."  She was referring, of course, to the work of Action for Children.

This year we have given £23,176.36 to Action for Children, fulfilling our commitment to give them between a third and a half of the Book Fair profits over the 11 years, as well as substantially supporting the Epsom Methodist Church Development Appeal and the Youth Hall project. In November 2011 Action for Children entertained the four of us on the Book Fair Committee to lunch at the House of Lords as part of the Stephenson Award ceremony, to honour our extraordinary fund-raising. Knowing what a sense of achievement, camaraderie and enjoyment we get out of our Book Fair, we felt humbled at the award ceremony to hear about some of the challenging and immensely valuable work done by the Action for Children workers. Our respect was reinforced at our own Celebration Lunch when we heard from Jenny Fraser, as an illustration of their work, how they have steadfastly supported a young carer who, for years, has had to care for his invalid mother and siblings.

The annual Book Fair now runs comparatively smoothly, though those closely involved know how much detailed planning and demanding physical labour underpin its success. The volunteers (praise them all!) are still keen to set the juggernaut in motion each year, though their individual contribution may change, and we're very thankful that each year brings new enthusiastic workers, including some from other Epsom churches, and that the veterans are still gluttons for punishment. The Committee will next meet in September and there will be a meeting for all helpers, past and potential, on a Saturday morning in November. Meanwhile, any thoughts or ideas will be welcomed by any of the Committee.

At our Helpers' Meeting last November, in view of our substantial regular success, and because we have achieved our immediate objectives of strongly supporting both Action for Children and the building developments,  we began to discuss the idea of giving some money in future to a charity supported by EMC. Four were immediately suggested: the Zimbabwe Victims' Support Fund, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Action Duchenne. The intention is to support one of these charities for a year and to choose another for the next. Widening our distribution of funds should also increase our publicity and perhaps our labour force!  A vote was taken at the Celebration Lunch and was overwhelmingly in favour of Action Duchenne in 2013. We shall also, of course, continue to donate generously to Action for Children, to our Scouts (whose physical labour is invaluable), and to pay Epsom Methodist Church for the use of the premises. Next year, we also plan to give a donation to our Guides who are raising money for a lodge at the Epsom Division campsite and to give Epsom Methodist Church a donation for the work of the church.

To end on a conventional note, it only remains for us to thank EVERYONE who helped in any way.  We truly couldn't do it without you. You know who you are! - and so do we! And please come back next year.

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

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


Councillor Sheila Carlson Mayor attended, seen here with her son the Consort

and the Revd. Nick Wooller

Councillor Sheila Carlson was elected as Epsom & Ewell Borough Councilís Mayor for 2011/2012 at the Annual Council Meeting held at the Town Hall on 24 May 2011.  The Mayor has a full time job working for the GMB trade union in Sheffield but at their Regional Office in Chessington, although she originally trained to be a teacher.

Councillor Carlson was first elected as a Labour Councillor for Court Ward in July 1997 and has served on most council committees over the years, including Planning, Environment, Human Resources, Social and Standards & Scrutiny. Sheila has also been a council appointee on the Rosebery Housing Association Board and is a governor of Epsom Primary School


Revd. Nick Wooller and Jacqui Raggett who heads the organising team


Councillor Sheila Carlson Mayor and Andy Harris

Fundraising Director for Action for Children