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Yesterday I went along to the Team Tonge Fold Valentine’s Love-A-Fayre at St. Chad’s Church, Tonge Fold. As I only live just down the road, I have to admit to having a vested interest in supporting this super local community initiative, plus I have to admit that I do, indeed, love a fayre!

I wasn’t disappointed, as there was a good range of stalls to browse and a lovely friendlyatmosphere, with everyone having time for a natter as they pottered round. There was also a healthy buzz as people enthusiastically offered feedback about the kinds of things they wanted to see happening in their local community in the future. In return for a completed form, everyone got one free entry into the prize draw, with an amazing rage of prizes generously donated by local businesses, who really seem to have embraced the ethos of the group.

As expected, there was a distinct Valentine’s theme to some of the stalls, with some beautiful red roses and flower arrangements, fancy candles, prints/invites, handmade cards and sparkly decorated wine glasses – all of which would have made perfect last-minute presents, at reasonable prices. My personal favourite was the Cornerhouse 115 Book Art stall, where I could have spent a fortune, to be honest!

In addition there were cosmetics, bird boxes (I couldn’t resist updating my blue tit box!), knitted items, bespoke framed button collages and a stunning range of cushions, pictures and bunting for all ages and occasions from the lovely Stitched Up By Val.

BIDAS and the local PCSOs were there to offer info and support, and Stef from Well Arty was recruiting for a new community choir, called the Bolton Belters, which will be starting at St Chad’s next month. If you’ve ever watched Gareth Malone inspiring ordinary people to work together to become extraordinary singing groups, then get in touch with Stef and sign yourself up now. It’s not really about ability, singing is great for well being and for getting to meet new friends too.

Team Tonge Fold aims to galvanise the local community and make St Chad’s a vibrant hub of social events and activities for all. If you can help, please get in touch with them – although it is primarily about improving the lives of local people, you do not have to live in the area to get involved.

I had a great morning. To make it perfect, I would have loved to see maybe a traditional-style game, such as splat-a-rat or hook a duck, to make it really family-friendly as well as a cake stall/competition, but it certainly had a good, old-fashioned, welcoming community feeling and there was a lot of goodwill and enthusiasm to make much more happen in the future.

Carole Ogden

Bolton Live