My View, Mel Hewitt: Tickets sales have doubled for tea party

Photo caption: left to right: Sam Roberts, Alex Byard Cooke, Geoff Hewitt, Mel Hewitt, Alison Constantine, Max Bowker and Sam Swinnerton
Photo caption: left to right: Sam Roberts, Alex Byard Cooke, Geoff Hewitt, Mel Hewitt, Alison Constantine, Max Bowker and Sam Swinnerton

I was 10 years old when I was taken for the first time to Bettys Café Tea Rooms in York.

Such early exposure to the delightful experience of afternoon tea in such exquisite surroundings has given me a taste for the finer things in life every once in a while.

There has always been something reassuring about taking tea.

Whether it is Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard ordering tea and bath buns at Milford Junction tea room in Brief Encounter, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party created 150 years ago this year, or Miss Marple in the village tea shop in St Mary Mead, after solving a murder at the vicarage.

In wartime, a mug of sweet tea and a slice of bread and butter was a focal point, a pause, a prop, a moment of sanity in an increasingly insane world.

There are some places to take tea that become special.

They are synonymous with family gatherings, red letter days and celebrations.

They are your ‘go to’ venue and when you arrive – however long ago your last visit was – they bring back such powerful memories it can be almost overwhelming.

This may explain why our Midsummer Tea Party at the Best Western Mount Pleasant Hotel was such a huge success again this year – we sold twice as many tickets.

There were delicious sandwiches, exquisite cakes and fabulous entertainment – supported again this year by the Mount Pleasant.

We were also treated, as last year, to the sound of the Teaboys, our once-a-year supergroup of very talented professional musicians from all over the country.

Local singer Max Bowker delivered a popular set of songs featuring Stars from Les Miserables, Mack the Knife and Come Fly with Me.

Max has a wonderful voice and was complemented brilliantly by Geoff Hewitt, Sam Roberts, Alex Byard-Cooke and Sam Swinnerton.

Thank you to all of them and the generous people who donated raffle prizes – nearly £800 was raised.

Finally a big thank you to Alison Constantine, my colleague at St John’s Hospice for the last 18 months and my daughter Lizzie for their diligent selling and folding of raffle tickets on the day.

On Saturday, I had the great pleasure of being part of the Armed Forces Day event in Sir Nigel Gresley Square.

We were kindly chosen as the local charity for the day – thanks to those who bought raffle tickets or donated.

On Sunday, our second St John’s Cycle Sportive is taking place and we already have more than 100 riders taking part. We can register up to 30 riders on the day, but there is still time to register online at St John’s Hospice

We still need marshals in Hooton Pagnell, Skelbrooke and Hickleton – please call me if you can help on 01302 796666.