The Art of Giving Back - Anne Worle Photography

The lovely thing about being a photographer is that you get to see lovely things - day in, day out.

You get to share lovely moments with lovely people at lovely times in their lives:-

Getting engaged.

Getting married.

Expecting babies. 

With babies!

With grown up babies!!

The list is endless.

But sometimes you get caught out - because the loveliness comes out of the blue and

catches you unaware. 

As it did a few weeks ago:-

My local village primary school in Brington is tiny - just 58 pupils.

So when a school of this size wants to do something fairly major  - like convert a disused room in the 170 year old building it calls home into a state of the art kitchen so that they can teach the pupils to cook - it is a fairly big ask!

Undeterred - the Friends of Brington School (lovingly known as FOBS!) - set to work. Proceeds from the annual fete, film nights, after school craft clubs all went into the mix. And, by nothing short of a miracle, 12 months later the kitchen was in and ready to go.

With one exception - the equipment.

With nothing left in the pot to pay for it, the school decided to send out letters to local businesses asking if they could 'donate' something - perhaps some measuring jugs? Or mixing bowls?

Anything would help.

And (as the cynical amongst us would possibly guess) the profit driven, hard-nosed corporate  world that fuels our consumerist society failed to even respond.

Again - with one exception.

Helen Sparrow and Sarah George are sisters who, 21 years ago, stumbled across some empty premises and thought that they might open a cookshop.

Twenty one years later Abraxas Cookshop can still be found in its original location at the Heart of the Shires Shopping Village in Weedon.

And also in the beautiful historic market town of Banbury.

And also across two, huge, awe inspiring floors of lovely things in St Giles Street, Northampton.

And in their gorgeous, historic premises in Regent Street, Rugby

In other words - if you haven't managed to find them in the last two decades - then you have no idea what you are missing!

Trust me - I am no cook -  but when I am faced with a display like this (and bear in mind that this is just the 'Emma Bridgewater' room!) then even I start to hanker after some domestic-goddessery skills! 

So - Helen and Sarah receive said letter from Brington School.

They have no connection with the school.

Their own children didn't go there.

They know no-one there.

The only connection is that it is local. And they kind-of like that - outside of the curriculum - someone will be taking the time and making the effort to teach the next generation to cook.

And they thought that perhaps they could help.

And this is where the loveliness caught me unaware.

Because - like the children - I sat  in the ancient school hall and watched as they unpacked the boxes that they had brought with them.

Not exactly a few measuring jugs. Or a few mixing bowls.

But an entire kitchen of equipment!

Absolutely for free. 

And I think that is absolutely lovely!

And do you know something else?

You would never have even known if I hadn't have just happened to overhear a conversation about delivering the boxes and insisted on tagging along with a camera.

And then insisted on writing this blog.

Because they 'didn't want a fuss made'.

So when you are bombarded with nothing but terrible, sad, soul destroying news reports like we have tragically had this week;  when you are convinced that our beautiful world is inhabited by increasingly terrible people - hold on to the fact that quietly..... and without a 'fuss'....  there is still kindness, and generosity, and selflessness and lovely people out there.

That is surely the BEST lesson we can ever teach our children.


Brington School will be following the Childrens Food Trust programme which teaches the skills, knowledge and confidence to cook from scratch.

For further information about the school  please visit their website - Brington Primary School

For more information about Abraxas Cookshop please click here