The Christmas Cocktail
Save the Children Fund began in 1919, just after the Great War, but the first branches did not begin to appear until the early 30s. Their twin roles were to raise money for and awareness of the Fund across the country. “The Depression made their work almost impossible but a few branches in Lancashire, Wales and the north-east carried on, distributing relief in the vast areas of unemployment. The war followed and although attempts were made to arouse local interest in branches, it was not until 1944 that the real revival began.”*
By the mid-1960s there were 450 Save the Children branches in the UK, “and they were contributing around 20% of the Fund’s regular cash income.” * Presently, there are about 300, of which only 200 are active.
The Chelsea branch was started in 1953 by a group of friends and neighbours who had worked together – mostly in intelligence – during the war. Later they were joined by Westminster, to form the Chelsea & Westminster. From the late 50s for over 20 years, they held huge, up-market jumble sales. The first day was by invitation only; the choicest items were on sale in the Chairman’s large Chelsea house, where queues formed around the block. Then followed a
two-day sale at Chelsea Town Hall, which was packed throughout and raised tens of thousands every year. When donations of clothes dried up, largely due to the advent of charity shops, they filled the gap with Hat Sales and very popular Pate’ lunches. Then, in 1989, they decided to put on a sumptuous Christmas Fair, which would also be a social event …. the Christmas Cocktail.
Over time, they have raised around £1 million for Save the Children’s vital work.
This year, The Christmas Cocktail will be on Tuesday 3rd December at Chelsea Town Hall, in the Kings Road. There will be 65 carefully selected stalls, selling all sorts of beautiful gifts: silk jackets and kimonos, cashmere jumpers, gourmet foods, handmade jewellery, homewares, clothes for men and hand smocked dresses for little girls.
The Fair runs from 12.30 until 9pm and for your £10 entry fee, you will be given a glass of wine, delicious canapes throughout the day, and a capacious bag for life to carry away all your shopping.
The Champagne Bar is always popular, as is the Tombola, and many customers come every year, with their friends, to spend time catching up, and doing their Christmas shopping all in one day. There is always a great atmosphere, with everyone knowing that while having a good time, they are also supporting a well deserving charity.
For Further Information Visit: www.christmascocktail.co.uk
* Source: If Any Man Build, Kathleen Freeman