The Christmas Fair Fund started quite by chance in 1952. A clinic sister had been appointed to cover a large and sprawling district, but she had not been allocated a vehicle. So Shirley Jex called upon her friends to raise money for the car. The car cost 100 pounds, they raised 500 pounds, and so they began to look for organisations that needed money. Of course, they found plenty, and from then on a Fair was held every year to cater for the needs that emerged.
Very soon, needs outgrew the income raised by the Christmas Country Fair, and the committee headed by Shirley Jex and treasurer Ruby Stewart, who efficiently ran the financial side of the fund for at least 30 years, decided they needed another function. Thus began the famous Umvoti Mouth Bridge Day, and for the next 25 years a steady stream of not only local bridge fanatics, but devotees came from as far as Empangeni and the Midlands. Braeside has in recent years generously hosted our Bridge Day.
The best aspect of the Christmas Fair Fund is not only that it has created awareness of the needs of the community, but it has been a unifying force in the district, bringing people together both as members and as dedicated supporters of our various functions. Its members, all of whom work on a voluntary basis with great enthusiasm, have always given generously of their time and resources, and all funds raised are passed on to our beneficiaries.
Our rule is that we give only to organisations that are prepared to help themselves. We encourage businesses and other organisations to support our projects in whichever ways they can. Because we are reliable and trustworthy, we often become the conduit through which local organisations, and even international donors, channel their charity funds. Our focus has remained on education and health, and over 65 years, many high and primary schools, clinics have had their load lightened by the Christmas Fair Fund.