December Reflection

With apologies to Frankie Valli – Oh What a Month!
As another year at Hextol draws to a close we want to thank everyone who has helped make this
Christmas our most successful yet.
The Festive Season this year kicked off in November (that late you ask?) with a trip to Inspired Pots
in Hexham where we received the usual warm welcome, fantastic support and encouragement from
Niki. 17 of our volunteers painted mugs, plates and figurines, many of which are intended as
Christmas presents for friends and family. The event was also attended by a film crew from
Newcastle Building Society (who generously funded social events for our volunteers this year) – we
are eagerly awaiting the “final cut”.
After this, Christmas preparations took off with our Catering teams making jams, chutneys, fudge,
nut roasts and mince pies and Greenbox volunteers packing Christmas cards and making table
decorations for our upcoming events.
We then had the honour of being invited to a sneak preview of Ponteland Repertory Society’s winter
musical ‘Alice’. They made us so welcome, treating us to a great show as well as goody bags and ice
cream! Thanks so much for your hospitality!
A few days later, and again with funding from Newcastle Building Society, we hosted a fantastic
Christmas Party for all of our volunteers and staff. Over 60 people came to our celebration at
Hexham Abbey and enjoyed a meal and a disco with friends and colleagues.
The night after our Party we had a full house at the Tans for our Christmas fundraiser. Our
supporters enjoyed an evening of music, excellent vegetarian food and joined in with popular carols.
The very talented duo of Isabel and Megan played for us and set the tone beautifully. The evening
helped us to raise money for the work we do at Hextol as well as showcasing the talents of our
volunteers who had been closely involved in the preparations.
Later in December we played host again as Core Music hired the Tans for a private Christmas party
so 32 guests could enjoy a 3-course vegetarian meal – without worrying about the washing up!.
One of the busiest days of the year in Hexham is the Christmas Market as crowds of shoppers come
to the town to buy local produce and gifts. The Tans was packed from the moment the doors opened
on the Saturday morning providing a warm and cosy environment to enjoy lunch, coffee and
homemade cakes away from the madness. In the Abbey itself, The Hextol Foundation had a stall
selling the homemade goodies produced by the Catering Team. It was run by a handful of our
volunteers and staff and we had sold out of our coveted fudge by 11.30am! Both days saw record
takings for us. Fabulous!
The final event in our Christmas calendar was a small buffet put on just for our volunteers on the last
day before their Christmas break. A lovely relaxed atmosphere with party food and music as we
wished each other a Merry Christmas after all the hard work in 2019.
As we begin to wind down and settle in for the big day, we want to thank everyone who has
contributed to making this crazy December, and indeed the rest of the year, so special.

Our CEO, Bruce Howorth, looking back on the month and the year, said:
“We have capped off a fantastic year with an amazing month.
December has given us the opportunity to not only raise funds for the Foundation, but also provide
social events for our volunteers to help us in our mission to defeat the scourge of social isolation,
and, most importantly, to showcase the talents of our fabulous volunteers
I have to thank our customers for their continued support.
I must also mention the staff here. The Foundation is very lucky to have a group of skilled and
committed staff who regularly go above and beyond to ensure our customers and our volunteers
receive the very best we can offer.
Finally a big thank you to the organisations who fund us. We cannot operate without additional
funding and your support means we can continue in our mission to improve the lives of those living
with learning disabilities and mental health needs.
I look forward to what the 2020 has to offer and in the meantime, I’d like to wish everyone a Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Hextol Foundation!”

Bruce Howorth, CEO

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