2023 was another busy and successful year. 21 of the projects we funded were completed across different parts of Africa (up from 18 last year). Each brought either clean water or better sanitation to remote communities, radically improving living conditions and general health. All were carried out in collaboration with a fantastic local organisation which delivered the project on the ground. Two of those organisations – Aid Africa and HUGS (Helping Uganda Schools) joined our AGM in October to talk about their work.
The year saw a return to a greater level of fundraising activity after the Covid disruption. We held two Souperdays, both of which were well supported as well as a bridge drive in November with a delicious tea. Prize draws at these events were successful. In June, once again the sun shone on Gardens Day and 16 gardens opened, around 1,000 tickets were sold and over £19,000 raised – another great result! Finally, Rosemary Stubbs designed another beautiful Christmas card for us which again was printed at no cost by James Townley of Printforce. All the cards sold out and every penny raised went directly into projects.
It takes a huge effort by many people in lots of different ways to make all these events such a success, raising the money we need for our work. The trustees are very grateful to all who support them as well as the volunteers who work so hard to make them happen. We are also grateful to the many people who contribute even when they are unable to attend in person and in particular those who make regular donations.
The members of the General Committee get involved with almost every event we run and this year, Jean Emerson decided to step down after over 20 years. Her contribution to the committee’s work over that period is appreciated and much valued.
The Gardens Day Committee do the detailed planning and take care of the many practical aspects so necessary to make sure our flagship event happens each year without a hitch. This compliments the work of the gardeners themselves and their helpers who get their gardens into shape and ready to receive visitors.
Thirdly is the Trustees Committee which is responsible for deciding how many and which projects we can support. The trustees then follow each project through to completion, making sure they are properly delivered. The four trustees are fortunate to be supported by our secretary, Ann Elphick, and her husband Richard who assists Dave Tonks by assessing and monitoring some of the projects. As the number we undertake each year keeps growing, this support is invaluable.
After 25 years, Roger Goddard resigned as a trustee and our treasurer at the end of the year because he is moving away from Wilmslow to live in Kent. Roger’s professionalism and commitment have been fundamental to our achievements over that period and we are very grateful for his tremendous work. In addition, he and Christine have opened their garden and provided teas on 6 Gardens Day occasions as well as contributing a film for the 2020 virtual event. We will miss them and wish them both all the best for their exciting new adventure.
We are delighted that Nick Longson becomes treasurer and a trustee on 1st January 2024. Like Roger, Nick is a chartered accountant and has been a supporter of Wilmslow Wells for many years.
2024 will mark the 40th anniversary of Wilmslow Wells for Africa. We will be celebrating with a concert on Saturday 8th June, a date on which we will also be launching a booklet telling the story of the charity. In addition, there will be the launch of a new fundraiser, the Wilmslow Wells Challenge!