Everybody Counts – Stand up, be counted and make a difference

Arthur, played by local chartered accountant Paul Davies, announced that they had ridden from the fastness of Wales to seek word of a gathering on the Feast of St Swithin.

Or, to put it another way, he wanted to know about the Gerrards Cross and Chalfont St Peter Carnival.

Paul Davies was engaging in a little advance publicity for an event that had occupied much of his life during the previous 18 months.

Having organised a successful VE Day street party in the Buckinghamshire village of Gerrards Cross in 1995, sole practitioner Paul agreed to the challenge of putting on a summer carnival for the village in Millennium year. The idea quickly grew to encompass the neighbouring village of Chalfont St Peter.

‘To the best of my knowledge this was the first carnival held in Gerrards Cross, the first to involve Chalfont St Peter since 1985 when our Round Table organised it as an annual event and the first joint carnival for Gerrards Cross and Chalfont St Peter,’ says Paul.

Stalwart veterans of the Bulstrode Way Street Party, friends from Rotary and members of the Chalfont St Peter 2000 Group formed an organising committee, with Paul as chairman and set its sights on 15 July, 2000 as Carnival Day.

Sponsors were courted, community groups invited to enter floats and entertainers booked.

Monir Ali, who has worked as a caterer in Gerrards Cross since leaving school and is now the proprietor of two local restaurants, and solicitor Brian Collins who founded his law firm in the village more than 30 years ago, agreed to back the event.

Others came forward with funding, time and practical donations such as balloons and pony rides.

On the day, 7,000 people turned out to watch the carnival parade. Two dozen floats representing the passing of the Millennium included Stone Age chartered accountants, the Scouts as Vikings and Chalfont St Peter’s Guides as the Plague.

There were dog displays, morris dancing and gymnastics, wellie boot throwing, pony rides, Punch & Judy, a barbeque and a bar.

In deference to Welshman Paul’s roots, the main band of the day was Celtic rock and folk group Here Be Dragons as well as jazz and music from young local bands. Organising the whole amazing event took up about 50 days of Paul’s life.

His aim was to provide ‘something for everyone’, to bring people together and to make a contribution to the community.

Proceeds from the carnival were distributed between local charities nominated by the float entrants.

Paul hopes the two villages will take up the carnival as a biennial event, but in the meantime he is looking forward to more fund raising with the Rotary and the London Welsh Rugby Club.

Paul’s contribution to his local community is an example of the many and varied voluntary activities that chartered accountants are taking part in all over the country.

Everybody Counts is an initiative run by the Institute of Chartered Accountants to facilitate greater involvement in the community by matching up volunteering members with projects and organisations in need of assistance.

The Everybody Counts Awards Scheme has been launched to recognise outstanding projects. There are five ways of getting involved.

– Work with head teachers: Partners in Leadership, a nationally recognised scheme to pair head teachers and business professionals in a drive to support the improved management of schools. A flexible time commitment offers benefits to both parties.

– Education volunteering: Working with school pupils across the age range from five to 18 has given many people a chance to use their time and skills to make a difference to the lives of children everywhere.

– Helping young business people: If you have business skills and would be prepared to work with a young entrepreneur for a short period, through the Prince’s Trust you could join a group of people who have helped over 40,000 young businesses to succeed.

– Community groups: If you can spare any time, there are community groups across the UK that need you. If you would like to become a treasurer, join the management committee of a local group, or offer one off help, the opportunities are enormous.

– Local activities: There are a number of things happening in your area, and opportunities for involvement based where you live or work.

Local schemes give you the chance to get to know your community, as well as making a difference to those around you.

– Members can call organisations direct or register through this website, where it is possible to identify opportunities which may interest you locally and nationally, as voluntary organisations are also invited to register their needs.

The awards scheme will celebrate exceptional work carried out by chartered accountants as well as providing a financial donation to five winning projects – one from each of the following categories:

– members in business;

– members in practice;

– younger members (under 35);

– members of small businesses/firms (those with a maximum of 50 employees) and retired members.

All members of the institute involved in voluntary activity are invited to enter.

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