Guess whose team won the Deanery Quiz which was held last Saturday night, 7 January 2017?  No, it really wasn’t a fix!  Tim Norwood (Area Dean) and his team just happened to know an impressive 96 answers out of the 100 questions!

This was the first time we had held such an event, and although bookings got off to a worryingly slow start  before the Christmas break, people were still ringing to book places barely hours before the quiz started!  As the front doors closed at Simpson Village Hall round the people trying to get past Tim and his books of raffle tickets, we were almost packed to capacity, with some 80 people ready and waiting to tuck into pizza and salad.  In fact Tim did such a good job of selling raffle tickets that it was all hands to the plough on my table, madly folding the tickets and trying to keep up with him!

When we were first offered the chance to hold the quiz by our quizmasters extraordinaire, Pat Hodges (aka Miss Quiz) and her husband Neil, we envisaged teams from different parishes in the Deanery competing against one another, but God had other plans!  Ten teams consisting of quiz-goers from right across the city (and not all Church members) gathered for this fun event.  There was real community spirit, and sometimes it was hard to hear the questions because of the laughter and general hubbub.  Whilst members of the Deanery Leadership Team assisted in the setting up and clearing away, as well as making and serving a selection of desserts and refreshments in the interval, the quiz itself just would not have happened without Pat and Neil’s incredible energy, expertise and organisational ability.

Pat is one of the churchwardens at St Thomas’s, Simpson, and approximately once a fortnight all year round, she and Neil host a quiz like this to support a whole host of different charities, as well as raising funds for St Thomas’s.  We are fortunate to be part of this long list, which includes Amnesty International, Freedom from Torture, and Air Ambulance.  Last year alone they raised a staggering £14,038 for charity.  However, though the proceeds alone are impressive, this is not the whole story.  What they do through their dedication, hard work and gift of time, is bring people together in an extraordinary way that everyone enjoys and from which many benefit, not just the charities which are supported.  Their events (which also include an amazing number of concerts and ‘Bring and Share’ suppers), ensure that the elderly in Simpson are not left feeling lonely but are included as part of the community.  Churchgoers from several other denominations regularly participate in her concerts and attend the quizzes, as well as many who do not attend church.  Theirs is a ministry of love, at the heart of the community, and they are a shining example to us all.

How will we use the money?  Citizens:mk provides training and organization and this enables our churches to get involved in big projects.  We can achieve more by working together than we can on our own.  It costs us £500 per church to join, but we get huge value for money from that.  Our plan is to offer churches a grant towards their first year of membership.  This money could help empower hundreds of people to make a difference in their community.

We are enormously indebted to Pat and Neil for the opportunity to help our churches in this unique way, which normally would be financially impossible.  The final proceeds totalled an amazing £703.  What a great start to the New Year!


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