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Special Newsletter - August 2023

Hello and welcome to this special edition of the

Besom in Witney newsletter.

We've produced this newsletter to mark the fact that two of our trustees - Paul and Roger - are stepping down, having both served The Besom in Witney faithfully for a very long time. 

So, to honour all they've done for Besom, we've set out below some tributes and testimonies from various Besom time-givers, past and present.  Yes, there's a lot here for you to read, but this "bumper issue" speaks volumes!

First of all, here's a quote from one time-giver which neatly sums up Paul and Roger's service.

"Paul and Roger are so quietly faithful in all that they do for Besom."









 And here are some tributes about Paul from Besom in Witney      time-givers:

"Gilly and Sarah had prayed with The Besom HQ team in 2003 for others to show interest in setting up a Besom in Witney.  Paul and Judith, his wife, were an answer to those prayers. They were already Besom experts because of giving through The Besom in Ealing prior to their move to Witney, and were instrumental in Cogges church looking at how a Besom might serve the parish and beyond early in 2005.  It was such a huge encouragement to see this prayer for others to approach Besom HQ answered, and from there a team formed very quickly to explore how to launch a Besom here. Within just a few months The Besom in Witney kicked off in November 2005. 

We owe Paul a great debt of gratitude for his steadfast support of Judith in her day-to-day leadership of The Besom in Witney and for enabling her to give so much over so many years.

Paul was one of the original steering team members and was very gifted in keeping everyone on track about the Besom’s vision, values and activities without ever causing offence.  As one of the original trustees when The Besom in Witney was encouraged to ‘grow up’ and apply for company and charitable status, Paul's wisdom, positivity and ability to ask just the right questions to keep us all on track was invaluable.  This has continued for many trustee meetings, and latterly as Chair of Trustees, where Paul’s hand on the tiller has kept the Besom ship sailing along the best course.

His cheerfulness, kindness, godliness and wisdom will, I am sure, be much missed by the team.  I am personally immensely grateful to Paul for all that he was and is within the history of The Besom in Witney to date. Also, I am grateful for his support of me personally and for his steadfast considerate support for the wider team too. Sending every blessing,"

"I have known Paul since I began volunteering with Besom in 2006. Being one of the trustees, Paul has carried the responsibility of the charity, especially when the chair of trustees retired and he took on the role a few years ago. He has been supportive of all the volunteers, helping with van runs and giving wise advice when problems present themselves. He has served faithfully, taking on various tasks in an assuming and conscientious way. Paul will be greatly missed but I pray that he will have more time to enjoy other activities."

"When I was reluctant to use my mobile phone for sending text messages when organising food deliveries - as I wanted to remain anonymous - Paul went to a lot of trouble to set up an old Besom phone for my use. Thank you."

"Paul has been very faithful, again behind the scenes, especially when Judith was very involved with Besom for so many years!"

"I really appreciated Paul's quiet support over the the years and his steadying influence."

And now, some tributes about Roger:

"I think I’m right in saying that Roger was one of our first time-givers from outside the initial steering/launch team, and of course he brought with him the important links from Witney to the Aston churches.  

I can remember Roger faithfully serving on some of the early van teams and being so impacted by what he’d seen.  He was one of the first in the team to identify innovative ways to give money to the work of Besom, from fundraising birthday parties, to sponsored river journeys, to inspiring talks and walks. 

As one of the original trustees, Roger offered a willing heart and a willing pair of hands.  He would often remind us that the stories and testimonies are what people need to know about and then go on to explain how one had impacted him or had made him look at things differently. Such important, vital reminders of why Besom exists and how the privilege of joining in with God’s good works really matters. I am so grateful for his prompting in this.

Faithful in prayer, an encourager, a great teller of the stories. He has taken his role as trustee very seriously. I feel the Lord will be smiling and saying 'Well done, good and faithful servant'."

"Roger was present at the prayer meetings when Besom in Witney began and has been a supportive volunteer since.  He has helped with van runs, served as a trustee until now, organised Zoom meetings for volunteers through the pandemic lockdowns and now also delivers donated food items from the Aston village shop to Besom.  He has been totally committed to the values and aims of Besom, attending Friday meetings on occasions, as well as ensuring that the van is in good running order. I trust that Roger won't under-estimate the role he has played in promoting Besom over many years, and we look forward to working with him."

'I remember that Roger was one of the Olympic torchbearers in 2012 – nominated for all the charity work he did for both Besom and Adventure Plus. It was very well deserved!"

"Roger was always busy behind the scenes especially during Covid when he would take the van for a run just to make sure it was still running well. When we were able to meet on Fridays again, he was very encouraging by gathering with us and sharing what God had been saying to him." 

I'" "I appreciate all that Roger does and his encouragement and listening ear. I particularly appreciated the way he set up the Zoom meetings during lockdown which enabled us to keep in touch. Also, I want to thank him for setting up the Besom box in the Aston community shop which he faithfully empties and delivers to me." 

And finally, a few words from our present trustees:

"The current trustees would like to express our appreciation of the contributions made by both Roger and Paul to the Board of The Besom in Witney. Each contribution has been important in its own way. Both Roger and Paul were founder trustees of the Besom when it first registered as a charity back in November 2011. It has been so useful to have their background knowledge, and their wisdom has enabled later trustees to understand Besom better.


Paul took on the role of Chair from Gilly when she retired, but he was already doing a lot behind the scenes.  Of course, Judith, his wife, had been another of the initial trustees as well as the lynchpin of all the Besom work until 2017.  It is probably fair to say that being Chair was a role that Paul took on reluctantly, but faithfully. He has modelled how to hand over this role with efficiency, humility and thoroughness.  Not a stone has been left unturned. The number and range of tasks which he has undertaken behind the scenes has been eye-opening. Those of us who are left cannot begin to emulate such sacrificial service.  He will be greatly missed.


Roger has also done much behind the scenes, writing minutes, putting together the updated Welcome booklet, looking after the van, electricity bills at New Yatt, document storage, food collections etc - not to forget his occasional attendance at national Besom Zoom prayer meetings and the Friday meetings at the Spinners Court base.  Fortunately, he is continuing to be a Besom in Witney time-giver, relinquishing just the role of trustee. We are sure we will see him around!"

"The greatest among you will be your servant.

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

Matthew 23, v 11 - 12

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