CHERITON Fitzpaine Garden Club held its first meeting of 2024, which was the AGM, followed by a general meeting.

Thankfully, Andrew Dean has agreed to one more year as Chairman, with Jeannine Rundle as Show Secretary, and James Mason as Treasurer.

Our very efficient Secretary, Hilary Anderson, is to remain in post.

Before giving us his report, Andrew informed us of the sad death of Geraldine de Sancha, who had been a charismatic and active member of the Club until her illness.

Her funeral will be at St Matthew's Church, Cheriton Fitzpaine, on Thursday, February 8 at 12.30pm.

It had been a very successful year in 2023, with a growth in membership, especially amongst new residents.

We had had an evening visit to the village allotments, before recovering in the Half Moon Pub for light refreshments, and had trialled two excellent floral workshops run by Katrina from Bloom Bloom.

Cheriton Cross had been tidied (twice) by our stronger members, and we had had a lovely social afternoon at the home of Professor and Dr Anderson, who live in Upham.  We had been blessed with beautiful weather on that occasion.

The two Shows had been hugely successful, with record entries and amazingly high standards.  As always the shows were well-attended, and the tearoom packed all afternoon.

We had an excellent speaker, Simon Roper from Ambios at Sharpham in South Devon, introduced by Jo Anderson, and we hope to have a Club visit this year.

Andrew complimented Mary Burchmore on compiling a Recipe Book of members’ favourites, with the help of Jeannine Rundle and others.  A fee of £2 of the £8 price will be donated to the Crediton Food Bank.  Ashgrove Kitchens and Bedrooms in Crediton kindly agreed to sponsor the production and sales were going well.

During the General Meeting that followed, we discussed the programme for the coming year.  The first meeting would be a skittles match in the Half Moon on Thursday, February 15, at 7.30pm, with refreshments.  Our Spring Show would be on Saturday, April 13.

Different members agreed to organise outings, to organise a Scarecrow Competition and to arrange our entry in the Cheriton Carnival in July.

The Christmas Meal had been a wonderful event, with all but six members attending.  We hoped to repeat the experience.  In two year's time the Club will celebrate 100 years in existence, and we will need to apply for grants to help us.

After the meeting, members socialised over the most amazing food which always seems to turn up every year, and two of the members ran a bar.

Mary Nunn