We’re approaching the time of year when myself and Mr. F would usually take the short but muddy pilgrim up to St Nicholas Godstone for the village Christmas Carol Service. It sees the whole community and many of our neighbours come together over singing, mulled wine and homemade mince pies. It’s a time to pause and catch up before the usual Christmas chaos, talk holiday plans and share our well wishes for the year ahead. St. Nicholas is heaving, and many people are left standing in the doorways of the little church. It’s one of my favourite Christmas activities and one I’m sorely going to miss this year due to social distancing.

I’ve always been aware of how much Reverend Peter O’Connell and his wife Helen do in the community, but this year they have played a key role in supporting hundreds of families, the elderly and key workers.  Helping to organise collections for food banks which have seen demand triple in the local area since the first lockdown. Highlight local businesses and charities in need of support,  as well as offer comfort to those struggling through virtual services.

They’ve also made me smile without even knowing it.

Despite these uncertain  times, St. Nicholas has continued to bring joy to the community and be a symbol of hope. Most recently linking Godstone village and St. Nicholas Church with a star trail that stretches along the entire 0.5mile Bay Path. Hundreds of handmade stars for hot chocolate sippers, dog walkers and runners to stop and enjoy – you really need to see it to believe it!

I’m mindful that all charities have been hard hit this year, and some may be more obvious choices than others, but if there’s anything Covid has taught me it’s to be grateful for those around you and how important community is.  Which is why St Nicholas Godstone is my chosen charity for Jellybean’s 12 days of Giving. Jellybean will be very kindly donating towards the Church’s Hospitality Project which is to help improve the kitchen facilities of this 150 year old listed building.

If you’d like to learn more about St. Nicholas Godstone or find out about the Star Trail visit www.godstonebenefice.org.uk/stnicholas