JUST about everyone has
done a variant of that Women's Institute calendar these
days, but one Wiltshire congregation has come up with a new take on
the fund-raising idea.
Faced with a £50,000 bill
to convert an old boilerhouse into a lavatory, the parishioners of
All Saints', Lydiard Millicent, near Swindon, came up with a
calendar of lavatory euphemisms.
The NSM of West Swindon
and the Lydiards, the Revd Patricia Roberts, said: "The husband of
a friend of mine heard that we wanted to raise money for a
washroom, and said 'I suppose you'll be doing a Calendar Girls
calendar.' The committee who are raising the funds call themselves
the Bog Squad, so we developed whole idea from there."
So, instead of baring
all, the villagers gathered after church one Sunday to pose for a
series of snaps for the Washroom Calendar, which features titles
such as "The Little Boys' Room" (featuring a group crammed in the
old boilerhouse); "Pull the Chain" (the All Saints' bell-ringers);
"Sit on the Throne" (a couple celebrating their 68th wedding
anniversary); "Tie a Knot in It" (the Guides and Brownies with a
string of knotted neckerchiefs); and the historic Tudor euphemism
"Pluck a Rose".
"We wanted to involve as
many people as we could," Mrs Roberts said. "The children were keen
to get involved, but their mothers were even keener."
She admitted that "one or
two people" had not liked the idea when it was first suggested, but
had come round to it. "We tried to keep them clean. You can go on
line and look up toilet euphemisms, and there are some really foul
ones; so we had to censor the ideas a little before we settled on
our final 12.
"We wanted to do
something fun, but this is a serious matter. Not having a toilet in
the church is a real problem with mission; people with young
children find that quite stressful. We are especially aware of
those who travel long distances for weddings and funerals."
Mrs Roberts said that she
deliberately kept the print run down to 50. "I thought outsiders
would not understand the idea behind it," she said, but more than
half went on publication at last Sunday's service.
Other fund-raising schemes, and a generous donation, mean that
the 14th-century church should have its lavatory by next