He ate his hat

02 November 2006

COLLECTING well-filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child went so well last year at St John’s, Bilston, in Chichester diocese, that the Revd Andrew Perry (right) said he would eat his hat if the congregation got even more boxes this year. And they did — they got 101.

He realised what a rash promise he had made, and was wondering whether clerical outfitters sold rice-paper birettas, when the churchwarden, Carol Frost, and the Reader, Elaine Noonan, helped him out with a hat carefully crafted from tortillas, a bagel, and mushroom pâté.

The boxes filled with Christmas presents will go to children overseas (seven million were collected by the charity last year), and Mr Perry says the enthusiastic response from his own parish comes from "the great increase in growth we’re seeing at St John’s — not just in numbers, but in people putting their faith into practice".

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