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The lace, grace and elegance of Victorian times will meet the urbane sophistication of the 1930s and '40s, when SPCA Auckland holds a gigantic traditional Afternoon Tea Party at its Animal Village in Mangere, this Sunday (12th October).
More than 1,000 friends and supporters of the SPCA have been invited to 'Tea in the Tent', the third in a trio of events held to celebrate the Society's 125th anniversary.
"In many ways, this will be the most important part of our celebrations, as we'll be honouring the thousands of current and past supporters and volunteers who've collectively played a crucial role in our work, ever since our founding in 1883," says SPCA Auckland's Chief Executive, Bob Kerridge.
"To mark the occasion, we're planning a traditional Afternoon Tea, of the sort that would have been familiar to many of our founders in colonial Auckland, albeit that we'll be doing it on an unusually large scale. We're also encouraging guests to come in period costume," he says.
On the menu, along with champagne and India and China tea, will be such delights as water cress and cucumber sandwiches, sultana scones with jam and cream, cupcakes, meringues, chocolate truffles and buttered gingerbread cake fingers, all served on three-tiered plates by helpers, appropriately attired in frilly pinafores.
Entertainment will be provided by crooner, Grant Chilcott, and the Wentworth-Brewster Quartet, who will seductively reprise some of the stylish 'evergreen' hits of the 30s and 40s.
The Hon. John Banks QSO, Mayor of Auckland City will be amongst the distinguished guests taking part in the celebrations, as will many veteran SPCA staff members and volunteers.
"We're also looking forward to welcoming some of the descendants of our pioneers, including the grandson of Henry Alder, SPCA Auckland's first Animal Inspector, who worked tirelessly to improve the lot of animals in the early decades of the twentieth century'" says Mr Kerridge.
"But we won't just be thinking about the past. We'll also be offering our sincere and heartfelt thanks to the more than 700 supporters and volunteers who are part of our operations today.
"Some of them walk dogs; others clean kennels, groom cats, help in our hospital area, provide foster homes for animals in need or take animals on visits to rest homes and hospitals, where they can have a significant therapeutic effect.
"Volunteers are also central to our fundraising activities. Theirs is a vitally important job, as we receive no government funding but raise our entire income through the support of the people of the Auckland region.
"We have a lot to say thank you for and we'll be doing so in style this weekend. Personally, I can't think of a nicer way of spending a Sunday afternoon than in the company of several hundred kind-hearted people who truly love animals," he adds.
'Tea in the Tent' comes exactly one week after a special 125th anniversary Service of Thanksgiving, held by SPCA Auckland at the Church of St Matthew-in-the-City in central Auckland.
The anniversary celebrations have also included an invitation-only dinner at St Matthews last Saturday, at which singing star Elizabeth Marvelly debuted the song "You are Always There for Me", which she dedicated to the SPCA.
EDITORS/REPORTERS PLEASE NOTE:
'Tea in the Tent'
Auckland Animal Village, 50 Westney Road, Mangere South
Sunday 12th October, from 1.30 pm onwards