Countdown to Christmas

The frost crackled underfoot and the air was tinged with Christmas anticipation as hundreds of happy shoppers hunted for gifts at the Matlock Victorian Christmas Fair. Artisan cheeses, beautiful wooden crafts, roasted chestnuts, fantastically coloured fudge…I hadn’t realised how huge this event was – fortunately, the YHA stand was easy to spot with its volunteers clad in official bright green t-shirts!

We were there to raise awareness and funds for Breaks for Kids – an appeal very close to my heart, having seen the life changing experiences it provides whilst I volunteered at YHA Edale last summer.

Jean Kerry, part of the YHA Fundraising team, had had a stroke of creative genius with her ‘Jarbola’ with prizes of recycled jam jars stuffed full of treats and goodies. We also had a regular tombola which, thanks to many kind donations, boasted an eclectic range of prizes – Farberge egg anyone? Not to mention ‘Guess the name of the doll’, traditional sweeties and knitted Christmas tree decorations!

It was wonderful to feel part of the bustle of the fair and I was heartened at how many present hunters made the time to stop and support our cause. All too often, Christmas can seem to be all about self-indulgence and it’s easy to forget the wider community when we get caught up in our own gift lists, Christmas card deliveries, food shopping…helping out here was a wonderful counter weight to that.

My favourite moment had to be when a young boy won a little beanie dinosaur – it had been love at first sight and he was delighted when he picked a winning ticket that let him take it home!

In the end, we raised £680 over the three days, which just shows what a few hours difference can make! Happy Holidays everyone!

The Volunteering and Fundraising Team would like to say a big thank you to Caroline and the other lovely volunteers – Jayne, Jo, Bob, Laura, Jasmin, Rob, Angie – who helped make the Market weekend so fun and successful!