Excerpt from the past. Corps History No 69

On Sunday 1st February of our centenary year Major and Mrs Alan Bateman launched the Annual Appeal (always held in February in those days). Their challenging thoughts led to two young people making reconsecration at the mercy seat.

Many months earlier I had contacted Audrey Jeffery, chairperson of Wimbledon Floral Decoration Society, to enquire whether their members would consider staging a flower festival for us in October 1987. Audrey was most willing, there and then entering the date in her diary. On 15th February 1987 she and several of her colleagues joined us in worship in our Sunday morning meeting to observe and to make notes for future use. Mostly Christians themselves, they were extremely interested and helpful and our friendship with some of them has lasted many years. Green-fingered corps members formed a sub-committee to liaise and provide guidance.

A further sub-committee was set up to organise catering for the many events, and did a sterling job throughout the year, often on a large scale.

On Saturday 28 February, at Wimbledon Civic Hall in the Broadway, the mayor's chaplain, Captain Malcolm Watkins, put on a splendid festival of recognition for Mayor Dennis Taylor. Stockport Citadel band travelled down from Manchester to participate together with vocal soloist Molly Malpass (whose daughter attended our corps when she was a local nanny) and Derick Kane, the superb euphonium soloist of the International Staff Band (still is!). A chorus of 100 voices was led by Major Trevor Davis, also formerly a soldier of Wimbledon corps. Stockport Band stayed overnight, billeting with various corps members, to conduct meetings at Wimbledon the following day, Sunday 1 March. An excellent musical festival in the afternoon was compered by the mayor.

The foundations of our hall were shaken the following Saturday, 7 March with a concert by the 'Blood and Fire' Rock Band. This event involved a great deal of preparatory work in which our young people played a major part. Some of them acted as counsellors, meeting three days before the event to pray for God's spirit to bless the group's ministry. The programme was evangelical and challenging and was attended by an audience of 110.
Ron Foot