EPSOM CHARITY BOOK FAIR 2014
We are delighted to report that our giant Charity Book Fair once again -amazingly - increased its takings, to about £28,000! The organisations that will benefit are Action for Children, Zimbabwe Victims' Support Fund, Epsom Guide District for Little Acres, 7th Epsom Scouts, Book Aid and three Epsom Methodist Church funds (the General Account, the Family Worker Fund and our Centenary Fund). Again we have been praised for our efficient organisation and for the friendliness of the event, to which many people contribute in a variety of ways. A huge thank you.
Some of these workers, from Epsom Methodist Church and elsewhere, met for Celebration Coffee on Saturday March 8th2014 We rejoiced not only in this year's fantastic result but also in the realisation that over the years we have collected £216,000; of that £61,000 has gone to Action for Children. We have also achieved our initial objective of helping to fund the Epsom Methodist Church major building project.
But - for once the cliché rings true - we are the victims of our own success. This year we simply couldn't cope with the volume of donations; there weren't enough volunteers to sort books and music and, crucially, very few strong people to lift huge quantities of heavy boxes. Reluctantly, we had to turn away donations. And the volunteers, fewer than usual, were completely exhausted; particularly the Committee members who had been doing hard physical work for well over a week.
Analysis of the sales shows that we sold fewer books, which may reflect the fact that book sales in general are diminishing. Our takings went up because we put our (very low) prices up slightly. Sadly, we are probably on the downside of a crest of a wave and with great regret and realistic recognition that the event, as it has evolved, is unmanageable. It has been decided that we cannot hold a Book Fair in 2015.
There was sadness at the Celebration Coffee morning, voiced by several people after the silence that greeted the decision. New friendships had developed and been renewed at least annually; for several dreary late winter weeks there was an exhilarating common purpose and a sense of dedication. Someone said, simply, with eloquent restraint, "It was fun."
Over 13 years we have learnt how to run a book fair, and would be happy to pass on the benefit of our experience to anyone who can take on the management of the Epsom Book Fair.