#Crowthorne: Scrabble and Sparkle at the Soirée

Patrick Duffy, Founder & MD of Beatons Tearooms,
Virginia Macgregor, Guest of Honour and
Paul Mitchell, Franchisee of Beatons Crowthorne
Wow! What a lovely group of Crowthorne traders, Berkshire authors and local interest and community groups...

... they joined Paul Mitchell, franchisee of Beatons Crowthorne, who hosted the sparkling Soirée. We think of it a bit like a christening, and try and fix it for the evening before our Open House Morning, the charity event which officially launches every new Beatons Tearooms.

Virginia Macgregor,
Tea Poet Liz Darcy Jones and Flowers!
Virginia Macgregor Crowthorne's best-selling novelist - was Guest of Honour and Liz Darcy Jones, Tea Poet (who also happens to be penning this post), gave the debut recital of her poem 'Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop Crowthorne' which celebrates the village. After that, Berkshire's top hatted sequinned Skin & Blister Sisters sang a wonderful selection including, 'Makin Whoopee' and 'We'll Meet Again'.

Avril & Rose
Skin & Blister
Lots of photos below (more have gone to the press). We also have thanks and a wee apology to make. First, I'm so sorry that somehow I failed to put Sally Ward and Suzy from A New Bloom on my invitation list (having promised them they'd be there). They nevertheless produced two amazing bouquets for Virginia and Paul's wife Chére... thank you for being so gracious! If there's anyone else in the same boat, please forgive me - I've never come across such a vibrant and active community and got slightly swamped in the Soirée invite process. 

Trish & Neville Barltrop
So many people contribute to making an event like this swing and sparkle - we can't mention everyone, in the same way we couldn't invite everyone (one reason we like to hold the free Open House the next day!) But we must thank Hogan Music Newbury for lending us a beautiful music stand to prop the speeches upon, and Lily Lane Beauty for lending us a mirror for our cloakroom (as the new one we'd ordered hadn't arrived in time!) and to Neville Barltrop for manning the door for us.

'Proper Job' at the evening's close ~
Paul, wife Chére and Louise
However, at the end of the day, it's the teams in the kitchen and front of house who really have to bear the responsibility of delivering at their best.  And they did! We rely on some extra help from 'Beatons Central' for our Soirées so thanks to Ben and Zoe. Louise from Beatons Crowthorne valiantly represented the whole Crowthorne team - the rest scheduled for coping with the Open House the next morning (post to follow soon)!  

Scrabble? We mention scrabble because Patrick - Founder and MD of Beatons - presented Paul (who's a bit of a wordsmith and loves a good pun) with an artwork using vintage scrabble pieces! Thanks Sam from Alboe in Bagshot for crafting it.

Sparkle? Well the dress code was 'a touch of sparkle' as you may spot if you look at some of the pictures which follow.... leading me to a final big thanks to my partner and tireless photographer for the evening, Chris Barltrop, who did a wonderful job in snapping away and matching names with images!

Rebecca Park from Wellington College, Cllr Gail Robertson
and Mr Martin Spooner, President Crowthorne Rotary

As the dramatic silhouette of Cecil Beaton stands in the background, glasses are raised...

Pete and Jenny Elmore from Art 233
Julia Phillipson, Alexander Devine; Lucy Atherton, Wellington
College Librarian, and Hugh Macgregor, Wellington College

Jeff Lawrence and
Lesley Lawrence (Crowthorne Library) 

The Berkshire literary contingent were - frankly - awesome. As well as Virginia, we were incredibly proud to welcome Miranda Lloyd , Julie Cohen and Claire Dyer. Discover more about them on our Berkshire authors' page.

And it was also great that our friendly local library was also represented.

Sharon Tarling and Anna Jones
from Refresh Dress Shop

Maureen Barlow from  Crowthorne Scrabble Club
and Chris Gadsby, Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra
Kelly-Ann Dickenson from Whimsical Gifts up the High Street brought along two friends from Refresh Dress Shop.

Maureen Barlow was one of the first to arrive and no doubt must have been amused to see Paul's presentation 'scrabble' picture!

Chris was not alone representing Crowthorne's Musical interests - members of  Crowthorne Choral Society and Big Band Society were also present.

We hope everyone enjoyed themselves. Thank you for making it a wonderful christening for Beatons Crowthorne.

Liz Darcy Jones
Press Officer