Thanks to the inspiration, drive and sterling efforts of Chris and John Dutfield, an evening of highly varied entertainment was enjoyed by all who packed into Stow Maries' St Mary & St Margaret's Church on Friday 15th June.
Suitably refreshed with a welcoming glass of something, the programme opened with 3 short classical pieces played on the organ by Chris Dutfield's brother, William Thackray, visiting Stow Maries from North Yorkshire especially for the occasion.
Then father and son duo, Eddie and Chris Swan, accompanied themselves on guitars to play some well-known songs from the 1950s & 1960s.
Their performance was followed by two excellent pieces from soloist, Shirley Masterson, accompanied by William Thackray on the organ and keyboard.
She then led audience participation in singing of the 'Hymn for Summer', How Great Thou Art.
A couple of non-musical pieces preceded the interval when William (a retired clergyman) told some amusing 'parsons tales' and John & Chris recited and acted out 'John' by A A Milne.
During the interval everyone repaired to a marquee in the churchyard (thank you weather gods!) where glasses were refilled and plates loaded with biscuits, cheeses, olives and grapes provided by ladies of the village Fund Raising Group.
After the break three self-titled 'Mouldy Oldies', Hazel Owen, Margaret Hamilton and Sally Winter led some more audience participation in the enthusiastic singing of The Sun has got his Hat On and Que Sera, Sera, interspersed with a rendition of Pam Ayres' I Wish I'd Looked After My Teeth by Margaret.
Shirley and William then returned to offer Linden Lea by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Fields of Gold by Gordon Sumner (aka Sting).
Robert Hollamby stepped up to the plate and made everyone laugh with his rendition of a nonsense poem, The Rumour.
Eddie and Chris Swan were equally entertaining when they returned for a second time, before William played three more organ pieces, including the romantic Sound of Music Processional.
Recognising Stow Maries' association with the RAF and the centenary of the end of World War 1, the audience then participated in the singing of the Dambusters Hymn, before John Dutfield read a poem entitled In Flanders Field.
The evening concluded with a rousing audience rendition of Rule Brittania, led by Shirley and William.
It goes without saying that the Fund Raising Committee is extremely grateful to the performers who entertained everyone so well. Initial thanks must go to John and Chris Dutfield for their tremendous efforts in organising and presenting the evening. Also to all the other 'behind the scenes' volunteers who bought, prepared and served the food and drink, as well as those who prepared the Church and set up the marquee and tables.
Lastly, thanks are due to all who attended the event and helped to raise the impressive sum of £792.30 towards the upkeep of the Church of St Mary & St Margaret and The Smythe Hall.