Noahâ€™s Ark Toddler group started on Tuesday 10th January 1995, after a suggestion from the Rev Peter Ashby, at Ladies Society, that he would like to start a toddler group attached to the church. Four of us decided to give it go. Linda Edwards, Jenny Lavender, Elisabeth Little and Kath Apperley, together with Audrey Russell and Eileen Sherwood helping with refreshments, with Joyce Withers and Dorothy Inett joining them a few weeks later.
When we set up, we had donations from the congregation and a loan of Â£100 from the PCC, which we repaid during 1995.
We opened at 9.30am. The weather was very bad and we didnâ€™t expect anyone to come, but surprisingly a couple of Moms braved the weather. By March, we had 25 members - and at the end of the year we had 40, which we have maintained throughout our 20 years.
Over the years we had trips to the Safari Park, Hatton Park, Hoo Farm and Dudley Zoo. We have regular hotly contested Easter Bonnet Parades, Services in Church, Christmas Party with Father Christmas and end of Term Party in July. Weâ€™ve started new service at Easter and Motherâ€™s Day over the last couple of years, with Stephen blessing the children and each child lighting a candle.
We have been successful in obtaining grants to refurbish several areas of the Church Hall. We support the Fetes, Christmas Tree Festival, numerous Charity events and raffles, to which our moms are very generous.
Our team from 1995, who have continuously helped with the group for the 20 years, are Linda Edwards and Jenny Lavender as Leaders, and Joyce Withers who has helped with refreshments and played the piano. Our other current helpers in order of length of service (we think!) are Sandra Hill, Jean and Keith Pound, Linda Watkins, Elisabeth Little, Jackie Rubery, Barbara Baker, Anne Hart, Liz Williams, Hilary Raper and Rev Canon Stephen Buckley. We have also been very fortunate to have had the help of numerous volunteers over the years.
Finally, we must also say a BIG THANK YOU to all the Moms (and the children!) who have supported us through the 20 years, and all our team at the moment â€“ without whom it wouldnâ€™t have been the success it is.