Oxford Phab under lockdown

In the nature of Phab, Oxford Phab members are a diverse bunch, and lockdown has affected us in different ways, but at the same time there are things which are the same for all of us.

Normal Club

Before lockdown a keystone of Oxford Phab was our normal club meetings at Wesley Memorial Church on a Friday night. Whenever possible we ran a minibus to bring members who could not otherwise get there, and did art and craft activities, played games, cooked and/or ate meals together. All the activities could be enjoyed by all our members, and also – something we appreciate more now that this is harder to do, we could just rage against the injustice of the world, chat, smile or laugh.

We do our best to replace this by getting together over the Internet for a chat on a Friday night, and also another chat session on a Monday night.

Online chat in lockdown


Meeting like this is a valuable social contact, but we are very aware that not all of our members can meet this way. Not everyone has access to the Internet and it does not provide the chance for smaller chats about subjects which might be deeply interesting to a small subset of our members, and deeply boring to the rest. I do still have occasional Jitsi chats with Phab friends to ensure the world continues to be set to rights.

The wider Phab

Another thing we did under the ‘old normal’ was to get together with members of other Phab clubs. While getting together in person is not possible at the moment the National Phab are organising quiz sessions through Facebook, which we then link to from our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/oxfordphab/ and some of our members join in those sessions.

Loss and remembering

Lives cut untimely short are not a completely new experience for us. Roy Lewis, who was chairman of Oxford Phab several years ago, was someone who everyone who was fortunate enough to know him will always remember. His wisdom, kindness, intellect and optimism certainly inspired me. He was also a ruthless draughts player, and could knock back Brandy and Babycham when we were out and about with an impressive lack of impact on his ability to hold an intelligent conversation on a wide range of subjects. He was not the first member we have lost, and there have been several others since, but I, and as many members as could, made a special effort to join the diverse group of mourners at his funeral.

It is particularly hard to lose Kelly at a time when we can not gather to mourn and remember. Although in many ways a completely different person to Roy, she too had an astonishing range of friends, inside and outside Phab who will miss her very much. One of the things which makes Phab special is that we find common ground within our diversity.

Kelly at a Zumbathon

Zumba

One of the things Kelly enjoyed at Phab was Zumba, and we are very fortunate that George Martini is able to do online Zumba sessions with us on Friday Nights, which we follow with a chat (as we did when we all met up at Wesley Memorial).

This can be just as energetic as face-to-face Zumba – and we are sometimes joined by people who have supported Phab through running garden parties, helping out selling refreshments and so on, who would not normally be able to join in, as well as particularly close members of other Phab clubs.

Holidays

We were really excited about our planned holiday to Avon Tyrrell in August, but have had to cancel that due to the virus. We have to make do, for now, with remembering the fun we had last year, and in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and all the other jolly holidays we have had.

Looking forward

Nobody can be sure what the future will hold, but we hope we can learn from these difficult times, continue to support each other in new ways, as well as old and that the strengths which have brought us through previous crises will bring us though this too. We appreciate the support we have had from Wesley Memorial Church, friends and families of members, carers and NHS staff.

Zumba for Children in Need

As we did last year, we joined in the Zumbathon at the Christian Life Centre on Cowley Road for an evening of enthusiastic Zumba dance, where we joined the participants making donations to Children in Need


It was quite chilly before everybody started, but everybody soon warmed up once the Zumba got going. We had a slot, doing a routine we had practiced with George Martini. Our energy levels may not have been the same as some of the Zumba instructors, but we enjoyed it, and it was great to participate.

The fun continued as we joined in other dances – great fun, and raising money for a good cause.

Zumba with George Martini

We all gathered in the Hall, due to a meeting in the John Wesley Room. I hope our enthusiastic Zumba session did not intrude on their meeting.

We all sat around and chatted beforehand.


The session started with some Seated Zumba, which still provided a good workout.

We also rehearsed the routine we will perform at the Zumbathon to raise money for Children in Need on November 8th. A video of the routine is posted for club members to the Oxford Phab Private Facebook Group for rehearsal purposes. If members do not have access to Facebook they should contact me and I can share it with them via Google Photos.

We then moved on to some more conventional Zumba, this section had us in a circle, with some seated and some standing.


Zumba for Cancer Charities

A great bunch of people, including Oxford Phab, got together at the Christian Life Centre on Cowley Road to have a fun evening of Zumba and raise money for local cancer charities.

Wendy getting into the swing of it

We had not, as a club, learned a routine this time, but Kelly and Trish had been practicing with a Zumba group, and joined in their group’s routine.


A great evening, and many thanks to George Martini and all the Zumba instructors for making us feel welcome.

Zumba

George Martini came again to give us rousing Zumba session. He started us off gently (or so we thought) with some seated Zumba, which turned out be fairly energetic.


When we were well warmed up we regrouped into a circle and started to get really active !

Another successful Zumba session !
 

Zumba with rehearsal for Children in Need Zumba night

Zumba is always popular, and tonight we had a real crowd.


After a chance to chat and a cup of tea we moved through into the Hall, where George Martini took us through the Zumba routine which we will be performing at the Zumbathon to raise money for Children in Need.

If you are an Oxford Phab member, and have access to Facebook you can find the video for rehearsal purposes on the Oxford Phab Facebook Group page.
After our rehearsal we moved on to a more general Zumba session

Traditional Zumba with George and assistants leading the session.

Also some more rock style circle dances.
 

Zumbathon – fun fundraiser.

We picked a hot evening for our Sponsored Zumbathon, but George’s enthusiasm, and plentiful supplies of water and squash kept us going.
That, and the need to raise funds to keep doing fun things. Some members have individual donation pages for the event. If you know someone who has one please use it, or the paper form if they are using those. Otherwise donations are welcome via the Club Fundraising page at https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/oxfordphabclub.

High Energy George, even in the heat

No slacking for us either !

Following Kelly’s lead

 
Two Georges

To find out more about our Fundraising, and how you can Donate, please see our Donate page.