Christmas 2008

Baker Family Christmas news 2008

Welcome... a handful of news snippets this year from the Bakers with a selection of pictures from a couple of events, concerts and parties. Thank you to all who have made this year so unique and wonderful.

With three young Bakers at various times on the stage of the Royal Hall, Harrogate, and a party where we honoured the memory of Harry W Baker, 2008 has been a year where we have enjoyed seeing so much of what makes Harrogate the delightful place that it is.
We'll never be able to adequately thank all who were able to make it from Hexham to, umm, Lyons! Anne helped with the washing up even after such a journey. First time performances from Lara and Matthew, with Sophie, Tomo, Mark, Brian, Jimmy, Jackie, Kathy, Stephen and Joe adding to
Chris and Pete's light hearted banter. We're still unsure if Beatrix Potter ever used a gun on those rabbits...

Good ol' BBC, bringing their extraordinarily professional and wise team to run Songs of Praise from Harrogate in February. A delight to welcome Jo Malton, producer, and the team to these parts. With 800 applying for just 400 tickets, many were disappointed not to appear on the telly. Even so, we rejoiced together as recording took place during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Aidan's Flame were featured, including Matthew pulling delightful faces; Sophie sang and also walked the labyrinth, beautifully illuminated by Tomo.

Sophie took Tomo to help out at SU's JZone; another hard working week looking after youngsters. Matthew destroyed and rebuilt a drum kit - as a Russian Doll set; each drum fits inside another, making a compact but very heavy bass drum! It all fits in the smallest of cars. He plays regularly with a function cover band, nicely covering his expenses, and accompanied a week of Me & My Girl performed by the Kirby Overblow Dramatic Society. Sophie's year out, working as 'Food and Textile technician' at St Aidan's school, is building up her savings as well as helping her learn how to clean ovens. She's also organising musical events outside the school, often dragging everyone off to the stadium at Leeds Carnegie. Midas-trained Allison has been driving the St Aidan's minibus full of musicians and singers.

Andy has joined the school Boy's Choir and has sung at the Royal Hall. This group was too new for the opening ceremony - so he missed Sophie and Matthew in the Chamber Choir performance for Prince Charles. Humph has fond memories sitting with his dad, enjoying the Hallé playing there. Andy's in the middle of GCSE mocks running up to Christmas, with expectations of a good pile of reasonable grades in the summer of 2009. Matthew takes his A levels at the same time and is looking to read sports science at university. Sophie has various offers and is looking forward to getting back to a time of study and learning in the autumn of next year, reading Maths...

With a new headmaster arriving at Harrogate High School, Allison is looking forward to welcome changes in her work life in the new year. Continuing to play baritone euphonium with the concert band keeps her refreshed. Sorting through family concerns helps us to be grateful for so much. A delightful evening gastronomique avec un sejour au théatre pour "'Allo, 'allo" added much cheer.

After nearly the magic seven years supporting and developing the work of Churches Together here, Humph is stepping down at the AGM (13 May 2009). We've spent much of this year exploring places for our 'next stage in retirement', looking around Somerset, Herefordshire and even the North Yorkshire Moors. We're still unsure where... In the meantime, the questionnaire asking for ways to develop the Executive and Secretarial work of CTH has elicited a wide range of interesting replies, wisdom and, of course, complaints - "you've done too much". People are so kind and grateful. Along with working with the BBC and the good folk of CRE, it has been a delight to organise a second fraternal residential conference for all the local clergy and pastors at Wydale Hall; welcome input from Archdeacon Janet and Peter from Stevenage Vineyard. Peter wrote a very generous review of the conference, astonished by the Harrogate story.

Oak trees update: the tallest is now 78cm high. And the camping trailer proved to be a surprisingly comfortable place to sleep in Somerset and at Greenbelt.

We expect to be moving home in 2009 - don't know where, don't know when, but look forward to welcoming friends old and new when things settle down.