Richard Thompson: The Marmalade Merchant
In the 1970’s, working in Sierra Leone, West Africa, I was surrounded by a wonderful array of fruit trees including every citrus fruit imaginable. There, I started making marmalade.
Later in Birkenhead, raising funds for a new church hall, a Talents scheme was launched. Everyone was offered £1 of church money to increase it using their talents. After a year, their proceeds were presented. I made and sold marmalade and brought £98 for the fund.
In 1994, I came to Huddersfield and joined the Choral. The Methodist Mission was being rebuilt and needed fund-raising. I played my part by selling my own jam and marmalade again. And I added other good causes including the HCS Welfare Fund and Junior Choirs.
Each January, I buy enough Seville Oranges for the year, quarter and freeze them. I now have two freezers. In the summer there is room in them for soft fruit. I rely on receiving other people’s excess fruit to make jam.
In my work as a minister there are many evening meetings. Coming home after difficult meetings I found making a boil of jam or marmalade soothing and calming – though it did result in late nights.
Some years ago my annual sales totalled between £1,200 and £1,500 divided between my chosen charities. During lockdown with the closure both of choral societies and churches, all my sales outlets were closed.
Since then annual sales have grown back to nearly £900. Last year I donated £125 each to HCS’s Welfare Fund and Junior Choirs. So thank you to all who purchase and enjoy my wares, who make this possible.