The Last Pantry

Pantry December 2019 KE
The Pantry Christmas Market, 7 December 2019. Photo: Kim Elliott

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make our last market such a lovely Christmassy event. So many people have said to me what a great atmosphere there was on the day, and the bustle and noisy chatter in the hall certainly seemed to signal that folks were enjoying themselves. The hall was decorated beautifully (thanks, Kim!) and, for the first time, we had festive music throughout, via the newly installed sound system.

It was, of course, a bittersweet occasion, not only because it would be the last time The Pantry would happen in this form (though it would be great if others in the village took up the challenge to do something similar at some point), but also because we were remembering those who weren’t able to be there with us this time.

Those absent friends have given great help and support to The Pantry over the years, and I hope this last event has been fitting thanks. We’ve done the sums now, and can report that the Christmas Market this year made a profit of around £600. This means that, over the past seven years, The Pantry has in total raised around £13,000. We have already donated or committed much of this money to various village projects (major works in the village hall and the church, Apple Day, the Fitness Trail, a defibrillator, etc.), but after the funds committed are accounted for, there will be a balance of around £4000. This will be used to fund future village projects and initiatives as they arise. The Pantry team are happy for villagers to contact any one of us to request a donation towards such a project. We intend to formalise our criteria as to what would make something suitable for a Pantry donation, but our main stipulation is that it must benefit the villagers of Piddington.

The Pantry team are proud of what we’ve achieved, but we wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without the unstinting help of friends, partners, cheerful volunteers from Piddington (and beyond), the brilliant stallholders – some of whom have been with us since the start – and, of course, all the people who turn up to support the markets, buying from local people and so channelling money back into the local community, at the same time as having a chat with friends and neighbours and enjoying something delicious from the Coffee Shop. Thank you, everyone, it’s been a wonderful experience!

The Pantry Christmas Market, 7 December 2019. Photos: Maggie Pearce and Andrew Coleman


Who’s coming?

The banners and signs are out, the baps and beer are ordered, and the Pantry team is getting ready to celebrate our last ever Pantry market, next Saturday, 7th December, between 10 am and 2 pm.


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There’ll be a whole host of festive stallholders, some of whom have been attending The Pantry since it started in 2012. Here are a few memories of previous markets.

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The stallholders who’ll be celebrating with us this time are:

Zena Ashdown: Bespoke handbags and baskets

Caroline Beel: Needlefelt creatures – NEW

Jennie Bosher: Handmade decorations and cards, knitted cushions and toys

Ann Cummings: Piddington photographic calendars – NEW

Claire Ferguson, Forever Living: Aloe Vera products – NEW

Fleur de la Rose: Home accessories and gifts – NEW

Sarah Haydon: Cards and gifts

Horton Accessories: Fine accessories for women, men and the home

Kim’s Jewels: Hand-decorated wooden boxes, jewellery and scarves

Liz Tagert: Handmade gifts, cards and prints

Rebecca White: Handmade soaps, lip balm and various handmade crafts and gifts

St Nicholas Church, Piddington: Homemade cakes, produce, fresh handmade Christmas wreaths and decorations and gifts

Waddesdon Deli: Cheeses, meats, home-cured and home-smoked produce

Beer and local produce: Beers from XT, Vale, Wriggly Monkey and Loose Cannon Breweries, Piddington Cider plus local honey.


We’re looking forward to seeing you next Saturday!


We’re hanging up our aprons

Our first Pantry market, December 2012

You’ll have seen on our poster that the Christmas event will be the last ever Pantry market. Making this decision was hard, but, having welcomed the public to the first market in December 2012, we felt it was the right time to hang up our aprons. It is fitting that The Pantry community market finishes as it began – with a Christmas celebration.

Over the last 7 years we’ve held some 25 markets, which have raised over £12,000 for village causes. Apart from fundraising, our aim was to create a regular community event for Piddington residents and to promote local talent and business (particularly in the food sector).

From the outset, the market has been supported by a group of fantastic volunteers, who turn their hand to so many tasks: they work in the Coffee Shop, serving or clearing tables and generally keeping things tidy, help with sales in the General Store, help in setting up and taking down the market, and many other jobs needed to keep things running smoothly.

An important part of The Pantry has been the St Nicholas’ Church fundraising team, who not only produced a wonderful selection of homemade cakes and bakes for every one of the markets, but also expanded their range, selling crafts and seasonal produce, raising much-needed funds for St Nicholas’s Church.

The St Nicholas’ Church fundraising team have produced cakes and bakes, crafts and seasonal produce for every Pantry market

The Coffee Shop was an immediate success, with legendary queues at every market for bacon baps and homemade cakes. This subsequently led to the formation of a monthly Book Swap Coffee Morning in the village hall sponsored by The Pantry, which started earlier this year and creates a valuable daytime hub for villagers to catch up with friends and neighbours.

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The Coffee Shop has been the heart of The Pantry

The markets have been hugely supportive of small local businesses over the years, even going ‘on the road’ on more than one occasion! Locally produced beer, wine, cheese, meat, bread, chutneys, jams, fruit and veg have all been promoted, and since 2016 the markets were even able to offer visitors Piddington chutney, apple juice and cider, all made only from apples grown in the village. Local craftspeople, kitchen table entrepreneurs and artists have also been an important feature, giving each market its own identity.

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Piddington chutney, apple juice and cider, all made only from apples grown in the village, and bread from the Cornfield Bakery, using locally grown wheat

To date, the markets have raised over £12,000, generated by profits from the Coffee Shop, General Store and Beer Stall, stallholders’ fees, raffles and secondhand book sales.

So far £8,875 has been donated or committed to village causes, in particular the village hall’s refurbishment programme, including its new kitchen, extension and upcoming heating overhaul. St Nicholas’ Church has also received a commitment of £3000 towards the building of a servery and toilet, and grants have also been given towards the Piddington Fitness Trail at the playing field and a new children’s play area at the rear of the village hall (where work is due to start shortly). The Pantry also sponsored the ploughman’s lunch on Apple Day and the purchase of the original village defibrillator in 2015.

The last market will be held on Saturday 7th December (10 – 2pm) and will kick start Piddington’s Christmas season. Please put the date in your diary and come along and support the event and help make it the best one yet!


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Last year’s Christmas Market was really buzzing – can we make this year’s even better?

The Pantry group would like to thank all its fantastic volunteers and the stallholders who have supported each of the markets. As much as The Pantry was a vehicle for fundraising, each market was also about fun and friendship.

After the Christmas event, the balance of fund money will be held in trust by the group, ready to be donated to suitable new village projects as they come to its attention.

What an adventure it has been …

Autumn Market Cancelled

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Sadly, owing to personal circumstances the team have decided to cancel the Autumn Market which was due to take place on Saturday 7th September. It is also with great regret that one of our founder members, Maggie Pearce, has announced she will be standing down. Maggie has run the Coffee Shop with great efficiency and enthusiasm and has organised the rota of regular volunteers – a complex and time-consuming job – from the beginning. She’ll be hugely missed, and certainly a hard act to follow.
Piddington products will still be available to purchase at the Book Swap Coffee Mornings that the Pantry sponsors and the Pop-Up Pub on the last Friday of the month. Upcoming dates for the coffee morning are: 22nd August, 19th September and 17th October.
The market has been running for six years and in that time has raised over £12,000, which has been, and continues to be, used for village causes. Projects The Pantry has contributed towards include: the new kitchen at the Village Hall; the proposed new servery for the Church; the Piddington Fitness Trail; the new Village Hall extension and the refurbishment of the village hall lighting and heating systems.
If any villagers are keen to get involved with the organisation of the markets it would be great to have you on board. Please contact Francesca for more information: We hope that the Christmas Market will still be held on Saturday 7th December.

Bring me sunshine!


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It’s The Pantry Spring Market tomorrow. I don’t want to jinx things, but (whisper it) the forecast is looking great!

We have some fantastic new stallholders as well as all your favourites (see Who’s Coming), and you’ll find some lovely gift ideas for Mother’s Day. Entry is free, so please come along to The Pantry, on Saturday 30th March, at Piddington Village Hall, near Bicester, OX25 1PU, between 10 and 2.


If you can help in setting up the hall this afternoon (from 3.00pm) or taking down on Saturday afternoon, that would be great. For a demonstration of what this entails, have a look at ‘The Pantry – Behind the Scenes’.

Who’s coming?

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Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll find at the spring market on 30 March.


Zena Ashdown: Irresistible handbags, tote bags, clutch bags, etc. – all at great prices

Jennie Bosher: Handmade decorations and cards, knitted cushions and toys

Sarah Haydon – Sarah’s Gifts: Cards and gifts – NEW

Horton Accessories: Fine accessories for women, men and the home

Pea Green Designs: Eclectic, stylish and quirky homewares

Prime Wood Studios: Handcrafted wooden homewares and gifts

Kathy Hodge: Agate pendants, snoods, fabric beaded necklaces etc.

Kim’s Jewels: Hand-decorated wooden boxes, fashion jewellery and chiffon scarves

Piddington Church: Homemade cakes, produce and gifts, raising funds for St Nicholas Church

Bev Quarterman: Fresh flower arrangements – NEW

Angela Straker-Nesbit: Stylish homewares made from recycled Champagne corks and wine boxes – NEW


Coffee Shop: Hot and cold snacks, homemade cakes, drinks


Beer stall: Local beers from XT, Vale, Wriggly Monkey and Loose Cannon Breweries

General Store: Our own Piddington Apple Juice, Cider and Chutney plus local honey and artisan bread.

Piddington Cottage Garden Plants: Locally grown plants

Waddesdon Deli: Cheeses, meats home-cured and home-smoked produce

Secondhand books if dry

Spring Market

The weather might blow hot and cold, but The Pantry team are feeling very springlike.

We have some interesting new stallholders at the Spring Market on 30th March, including the florist Bev Quarterman, who’ll be offering some beautiful fresh flower arrangements – perfect for a Mother’s Day gift the next day.

If homewares are more your thing, you’ll be intrigued by Angela Straker’s noticeboards made from recycled Champagne corks and storage shelves made from wine boxes. (There’s a bit of a theme here, I think.)

Of course, your favourites will be there too – more details soon.

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It’s all go at The Pantry

Our first Pantry get together of the new year saw the creative juices really flowing (along with a particularly nice little Chardonnay), with lots of ideas for different things we could do.

We’re quite excited about some of them, which you’ll find out about later in the year, but for starters we thought it might be fun to hold some Book Swap Coffee Mornings, where you can come along for a cuppa and bring along a book to swap. After all, if there’s one thing running The Pantry has shown us it’s that what Piddington folk like best is to have a rummage through the secondhand book stall followed by a chat over a cuppa and a little something.

It’s free – The Pantry are sponsoring the refreshments, so come along if you’re around.


Is it spring yet?

With forecasts of snow and a general feeling that this year January is even gloomier than usual, we all need something to look forward to – and here it is! The Pantry Spring Market. A perfect antidote to B****t.

You’re welcome.

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