St Mary’s Handbells – For 2019’s Christmas card, David Pearce created a beautiful photographic composition of the St Mary’s hand bells with the sheet music for Ding Dong Merrily on High.  At Christmas the bells are used to ring carols around Barnes for the Christmas Festival in the High Street. They are also enjoyed by those in local care homes when local clergy, choir and ringers visit for short Christmas services. The sheets show how the music is often set out as bell numbers rather than notes (photographed by David Pearce He was incredibly generous and kind with both his skill and expertise as well as his time – thank you so much.  We produced the card in a square format that we haven’t used for a while and in rich reds and golds to stand out against the colours used in previous years.  It proved very popular.

This year we only created one new card as we had plenty of stock of previous cards, including last year’s one of Barnes Pond by Rachel Parker and some of the lovely painting of the church door by Katie James.  There are currently seven different designs with varying levels of stock left for 2020. In total this year, we had nine different designs, some of which formed the basis of the ‘bargain corner’. We sold 547 packs of cards across all the designs, but the most popular was the new design by David.  This overall figure was fractionally down on last year’s sales (by 4 packs) and was a combination of having one less week for selling cards as a result of the date of the Christmas Fair, and an annual trend over the last four years of sales dropping.  As I mentioned in last year’s report, the combination of high postage and increases in living costs mean that people have less disposable income, which will increasingly impact on sales.  Also contributing to the reduction in sales is the trend for people to send email cards, or not send them at all any more.  We made just over £1,300.00 in profit which will go towards the charities that St Mary’s supports.

As in previous years, I am hugely grateful the the amazing team of volunteers that enable us to keep the church open for the sale of cards from the middle of November to just before Christmas.  We had so many people offering to help this year, it was truly wonderful.  Thank you so much. After five years, I think many of you will know that I am stepping down from Christmas card duty.  It has been an amazing experience and has given me the chance to meet so many wonderful people, thank you all so much. Charlie Grainger, [email protected]