Christmas Newsletter for 2019

from Colin and Elizabeth Hicks

Each year we send out a Christmas Newsletter to family and friends.
The text below is a slightly edited version of our Christmas 2019 Newsletter.
Click to download a pdf version of our Christmas 2019 Newsletter (373 kb)

Earlier years: 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000
2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010
2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

Click to see Colin and Elizabeth's eChristmas Card to You!

"We have seen His star in the East" Matthew 2:2 (KJV)

Colin & Elizabeth

This year Colin & Elizabeth completed walking the London Loop (175 miles) - not done in one go(!) but spread over more than 20 separate day walks. The London Loop is entirely inside the M25 and mainly through parks, fields and woodland, often alongside rivers and canals. It was amazing to discover so much countryside in London.

Now Colin & Elizabeth are eyeing up completing the Thames Path. Having already walked it from Hampton Court to Erith, they would like to complete the longer section from the source to Hampton Court. A challenge for 2020!

In February, Colin & Elizabeth went on a guided tour to Mexico. They started with a visit to the Monarch butterfly sanctuary which is as amazing as advertised - Monarch butterflies swarming everywhere (see photo to the right). It was quite a trek to the butterfly sanctuary but it was made easy by our ride on ponies (see photo to the right). Colin & Elizabeth then moved on to visit the classic Aztec and Mayan sites and finished with a few days of relaxation in a resort just south of Cancun.

In August the traditional family holiday in France was resumed after last year's break due to the Carpenter family sabbatical in Malawi. Everybody came (including Heather) while Ruth and Sony with their two girls (they live in Toulouse) made a flying visit. There was swimming, table tennis, places to visit, and walks in the surrounding countryside. This year's house (in the south of the Dordogne) was one of the best ever.

On the way to the holiday house, Colin & Elizabeth went with Caleb to Puy du Fou, a French theme park. This was their fourth visit spread over about a dozen years. The historical shows continue to impress with their scale and ambition.

Puy du Fou seems to have become a family favourite: Miriam was there on an orchestra tour a week before Colin & Elizabeth's visit and Colin's brother, David, also went there in July with his wife Carole and other members of their family.

Colin & Elizabeth are still active at Teddington Baptist Church. Elizabeth leads a life group and helps run Busy Bees (a carer's and toddler's group) each Tuesday. Colin looks after the church office and the premises. He still works voluntarily with the LBA, the Teddington Society and Christian Aid.

Elizabeth remains Secretary of Churches Together in Teddington (CTT) which for 2019 included organising a General Election hustings for the Twickenham candidates. This year she is making quilts in aid of Shooting Star Chase - a local children's hospice.

Click the photo below (and other photos) to see larger versions in a resizable window

Elizabeth and Colin in Mexico in 2019
Elizabeth and Colin
(Mexico, February 2019)

Monarch butterflies swarming in the Mexican sanctuary
Monarch butterflies swarming in the Mexican sanctuary

Elizabeth riding a horse in Mexico
Elizabeth riding a horse
(Mexico, February 2019)
Our family (August 2019)
Our family (August 2019)

Rachel, Richard & Jasper

Jasper (now 22) is in the middle of his English and Creative Writing course at the University of Falmouth. Colin & Elizabeth visited Jasper in Falmouth in early October - unfortunately it was a wet week but they enjoyed it just the same.

On the way to Falmouth, Colin & Elizabeth visited their first house in Exwick where they lived from 1970-72. It has now got a new garage and a side extension.

On the way back from Falmouth Colin & Elizabeth dropped in on cousins (David & Wendy Hall) in Bristol who moved back there from London last year. Jeremy & Judy Hall dropped in at the same time. Elizabeth lived with the Hall family in Bristol in school holidays while her parents were abroad.

Richard & Rachel have been doing a lot of walking together along the Thames in both directions from East Molesey. In July, while on the way to their own French house before the family holiday, Rachel & Jasper spent a couple of nights in a troglodyte dwelling near Troo, France. The temperature at the time was 42 deg C, so the cool of the cave was a welcome relief.

Richard is taking a course in counselling with an eye to what he might do when he retires from full-time work.

James, Joanna, Miriam, JJ & Caleb

James continues doing research on "missing data" primarily to assist those doing medical research. He is much in demand internationally to give lectures and teach advanced courses in medical statistics.

Joanna is in her fourth year of teaching chemistry. She is still working part-time but has increased her hours and has added a year 7 class to her mainly A-level responsibilities. During the year she went with Rachel to the filming of the first episode of the Bake Off spin-off show, An Extra Slice.

JJ (now 15) is a school prefect and takes his GSCE exams in 2020. This September he did a fortnight of work experience in a kindergarten in Freiburg (Germany). This meant travelling via Paris on the Eurostar by himself, changing trains in two places (including Paris).

Caleb (now 11) and JJ both now attend the same secondary school. Caleb was recently elected one of the head choristers for the boys' choir at Croydon Minster and JJ is now in the men's choir. Both JJ and Caleb are expected to be singing with the Croydon Minster choir in a live Christmas Eve broadcast on BBC 1.

BMS Action Team in Delhi
BMS Action Team in Delhi
(l to r) Miriam, Naomi & Megan

Miriam (now 18) will soon be applying to go to university in autumn 2020. She is spending her gap year working with a BMS World Mission Action Team in India (see photo at left). Naomi is the daughter of Reuben Martin who was taught by Elizabeth at Stanley Junior School many years ago. The Action Team has an official blog on the BMS website (click here) and a series of video blogs on Youtube (click here).

Other Family News

Heather celebrated her seventieth birthday with a party in November. This was attended by many family members as well as friends from as long ago as her course in occupational therapy which she took in the late 1960s.

e-mail and website addresses

e-mail to Colin:
e-mail to Elizabeth:

Colin's web site: