As every trader of every description knows only too well, the Saturday before Christmas is always the busiest day of the year, well, it certainly was in the 1960s and 70s when my father’s shop would have had up to ten seasonal employees supplementing the regular three. The place would be frantic with activity and even though I was not employed there, I would go along to lend a hand on these busy days if I wasn’t in work myself.
In 1974 though, I seem to have somehow become involved in the Rotary Club of Bridgend’s annual fundraising appeal on that Saturday. I’m not sure how or why I allowed them to get me on board but it was obviously something to do with the stable, it was mine, or at least, I had made it. Constructed from cardboard tubes which were then supported on redundant shop display stands it was designed to be portable and able to be put together in minutes and had been built for the nativity at the special school where I worked.
So, on Saturday the 21st December 1974, The Rotary Club arranged for my stable to be placed in The Rhiw Arcade in Bridgend, just outside the upper market entrance. The youngsters appear to have been borrowed from Hope Baptist Church as I recognise many of them. There were two groups, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, it was a bit draughty in the place we had been allocated so suspect they got chilled quite quickly. This was the only year I was involved in any fund raising for the club, they may have asked the following year, but by then I was living and working in London.