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Tarn expats and French unite to help good causes

Trio of events to raise money for good causes this winter

A group of expat women and their French friends in the Tarn are hoping that a Christmas Fair and Carol Concert will raise more than the €3,000 they were able to give to charity last year.

The money is shared between the Entente Cordiale Gaillacoise which gives money to the cancer research laboratory in Toulouse, the SPA animal rescue charity and the Restos du Coeur in Gaillac.

Committee member Michelle Fitzsimons said this year’s event will be the group’s fourth: “The first time we held it in somebody’s barn after six friends, including myself, had just finished a cake-decorating course. We thought it would be a good way of using our skills.

“We make Christmas cards and decorations and gifts and there will be a couple of artisan stalls as well as seasonal food. I take orders for cakes early on to sell at the Fair.

“This year it will be held in the Salle des Fêtes at Castelnau de Montmiral. There will be a raffle, food to eat and carols. On the day lots of local people come and help.

“Last year, a French friend who lives opposite gallantly spent most of the day running between her oven and the fair, heating up sausage rolls for us.”

The Christmas Fair is on December 10; Entry €3; Open: 11am-4pm.

A week later the same group will host a fundraising Carol Concert in the church. “It started years ago”, said Mrs Fitzsimons, “when an English woman realised that there were enough British people in the area who would enjoy it.

“Afterwards we have mulled wine and mince pies and raise money for the upkeep of the church. We gave €600 to Restos du Coeur last year.” It will be held on December 16 at 7pm.

Mrs Fitzsimons is also on the committee of the Entente Cordiale Gaillacoise - a group started around 12 years ago by two friends and who had both lost family members to cancer.
They decided to give money to the Institut Claudius Regaud, the research branch of the Toulouse Oncopole cancer centre. The group holds two major events every year: an English-style garden party in the summer and a Musical Variety evening in February.

The theme for the next concert is the French equivalent of the Oscars, the César Awards. The group handed €20,000 to the Institut Claudius Regaud last year.
Tickets go on sale in January for the show on February 18 and you can email Mrs Fitzsimons for tickets on

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