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Euphemism church flushed with success

22 November 2013

Sarah Lingham

Asking people to spend a penny: "going behind a bush"

Asking people to spend a penny: "going behind a bush"

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 August.

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